Localization on the WWW

About the author

Sara Baig works for Hewlett-Packard as localization program manager for the Software Support Services Division. She is interested in following the trends in publishing of local language content on the Web, and in identifying "triggers" and means to measure them) that will help companies decide if and when to invest in localization of Web content.


Web connectivity and use is continuing to grow rapidly all around the world, including countries and communities that have a low tolerance or understanding of English. While English remains prevalent on the Web, many companies are today investing - or considering investing - time and money into localizing content on the Web for non-English speaking audiences:

recent survey of 67 companies carried out in conjunction with LISA (Localization Industry Standard Association ), showed that 75% of surveyed publishers & vendors were localizing content on the Web, or considering doing so.

Recent articles in Computing Japan, Communicationsweek International, and @internet reporter- to name but a few - all report that the trend for multilingual content on the Web is growing.

Multilingual browsers are sprouting, online service providers are supplying more and more local language content, and there are now web page translation tools available.

The problems associated with localizing on the Web:

What are the triggers?

A certain number of trends need to be observed and tracked by companies who are localizing or considering localizing to help them to determine when and how muchto localize on the Web; these triggers might be:

But how can these triggers be reliably measured? Are there other triggers that need to be tracked?