Globalization 101: Why Is Website Translation Important?

24 October 2021

Spend more than a few minutes online, and you’ll come across hundreds — if not thousands — of content sources that market themselves to more than just one audience. 

And, in most cases, all you have to do to open up the world to your content is to press a neat little “translate” button in the corner of a web page. Immediately, you’ll be served options for Arabic, French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Russian, or any other language the website you’re browsing is localized for. This is how you usually encounter translation online, and the goal of this button is simple; to encourage multi-lingual visitors (like you) to stick around and browse!

A person who is engaged in reading a web page is only a few seconds away from becoming a site-browsing prospect. Once you’ve captured and held your prospect’s attention, the possibility they’ll buy something increases. This purchase opportunity is far more frequent when your ideal customer is comfortably surfing in their native language.

And if your business has significant growth goals for the next five years, then our advice to you is simple. If you want to make your business accessible and enticing to everyone who has the good fortune of stumbling across your content online, then you need to make sure translating your website is at the top of your to-do list.

Not sure where to begin? Well, stick around because this article will teach you everything you need to know about website translation, the process, the options for translation, and what languages you should adopt first. 

What is Website Translation? 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to present a clear definition of what website translation is (and isn’t) so you can decide on the best language strategy for your business website. 

As the name suggests, website translation is the process of changing the language of your original website content into one or more languages. A basic website translation is usually a word-for-word task, where the content in the translated website perfectly matches the source language website. For example, if your website is originally in English, an Arabic version of the same website content would be called an Arabic website translation. 

So, why is this important? Most people read English, right? Why can’t you just have an English language website? All good questions and we’ve got good answers for you too. 

As of January 2020, English is the most commonly used language online, with 25.9% of the online population consuming English language content. However, that leaves 74.1% of the internet in a whole host of other languages. 

Thanks to the rapid technology in the hands of smartphone users all over the world, you can’t assume that your dream customer always speaks English. In 2021, your audience has got the world at their fingertips, so why not make your world accessible to everyone? 

Localization and translation — what’s the difference? 

Though translation and localization are two different methods for making your website more accessible, they’re as close as siblings can be. In most cases, they work together to produce the best result possible. This is why ‘localization’ is never too far behind when you’re hunting for how to translate your website online. 

Localization includes activities like: 

  • Altering images to fit a specific locale’s cultural standards 
  • Adapting date/time formats and units of measurement to match the region  
  • Ensuring content represents cultural values, norms, and expectations of the audience 
  • Changing website page layouts to comply with differences in language formatting 
  • Adapting phrases, metaphors, taglines, and other linguistic content to ensure it appeals to the local market (this usually impacts marketing and advertising content) 

Essentially, localization aims to make a website feel as if it was made with a specific region in mind. 

But… why? 

Well, when users are presented with two online resources, they’ll tend to pick the option that makes them feel most understood. That’s why the Russian-founded search engine Yandex is more widely used in its home country than, say, Google — no matter how popular the latter might be in other regions. 

“Yandex was created specifically for the Russian market and is better able to handle specific Russian search challenges.”  And this is a strong example of how a well-designed and developed localized website experience can change the game for customers. Even though Google is the most popular search engine in the world, it can’t compete with the native Russian language understanding of a search engine specifically targeted at Russian language internet users. This is localization at its finest. 

The Link Between Globalization and Website Translation 

Globalization is a corporate term we often use when we talk about making a business “world-ready,” and it often goes hand in hand with other internationally influential tactics, like translation and localization. 

For instance, if you want to ensure your business’s homepage is optimised for performance across multiple countries, you wouldn’t just want the best website translation. You’d also need to write flexible code that could easily be altered for localized versions of the site. Then you’d want to hire international staff to help you expand, and make the process of switching from one region to another as easy as possible for your customers. 

Essentially, taking the time to translate your website and globalizing it are two components of one large solution — one that enables customers around the world to enjoy your business without limits. 

How to Translate Your Website 

Now that you have a solid understanding of website translation (with some bonus buzzword definitions thrown into the mix), you’re ready to make your website more accessible than ever. 

And the first decision you’ll need to make is which of the 2 language translating methods you’d like to use to recreate your website content.


If it feels like machines are coming for almost everything you do these days, then you’d be right! Machine translation is a highly popular translation method, and machines are eager to quickly and cost-effectively translate your website. At e-Arabization, we use software to take your website from source to target language. Curious? You can read all about the benefits of machine translation in our easy guide


The best kind of website translation is the kind that includes expert human linguists. At e-Arabization, we expertly blend software and human skill to produce the most accurate result possible for your website translation. A mix of both techniques enables us to offer you the best result for quality, deadline and budget. 

And speaking of the best in the world...

Best languages to translate your website into for 2021 (and beyond)

If you’ve found the best partner to translate your website for you (hint: it’s us), but you’re not sure what languages to market to first, data can help you make this decision a bit easier.  According to Statista, the top 10 languages users use online are: 

  1. English – 25.9% 
  2. Chinese – 19.4% 
  3. Spanish – 7.9% 
  4. Arabic – 5.2% 
  5. Indonesian/Malaysian – 4.3% 
  6. Portuguese – 3.7% 
  7. French – 3.3% 
  8. Japanese – 2.6% 
  9. Russian – 2.5% 
  10. German – 2% 

Pondering whether or not these languages are suitable for your business and your customers? That’s okay. We’ve got you covered. Check out our recent article on the 5 most valuable foreign languages for 2021. Alternatively, check your data. Pop the hood on your Google Analytics and check your Google Search Console. Where is traffic coming from? What keywords are you ranking for? What geography do your top traffic sources occupy? These are all questions you can use to make a smart roadmap for your globalization strategy.