Web localization is a black and white issue

The death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej has led to stores running out of black and white clothing as the population mourns its leader in color-appropriate clothing.

What does this mean for website localization?

Consider the Thailand home pages for Apple:










And Coca-Cola has gone black on its social feeds:


Web localization isn’t about creating a localized website and forgetting about it.

It’s about creating a living and breathing website that responds quickly to local events. Web localization is about respect.

To learn more about the leaders in web localization, check out the 2016 Web Globalization Report Card.


WordPress reaches 50 languages as it expands into India

This blog began more than a decade ago when WordPress was available in English only.

WordPress is now available, fully translated, in 50 languages, in impressive achievement.

Polyglots Team Experiences Record Annual Growth, Expands WordPress’ Reach to Millions with New Translations

One of the latest languages to be added is Gujarati, an Indian languages spoken by more than 60 million people.

I mention this language because I’ve long maintained that companies are going to need to localized in some (if not all) of India’s 20+ official languages. They just don’t know it yet.

Google does. So does Facebook. And now, so does WordPress.

For more about the language leaders of the Internet, check out the 2016 Web Globalization Report Card.

Are you celebrating India’s festival season? Amazon sure is

Amazon Great Indian Festival

Flipkart has long been the dominant ecommerce retailer in India, but Amazon is no longer content to remain in second place.

Amazon launched its Great Indian Festival promotion this week with free prizes including a number of cars, even a free home.

Just a day in, Amazon claims record sales and one billion hits, which doesn’t really mean anything, but sounds impressive.

Retailers have awakened to the importance of local holidays around the world. Just as retailers outside of China have discovered China’s immensely popular Singles Day, they can’t ignore fall festival season in India.

And this holiday isn’t just about retailers, but any global company. Like Chevrolet, which is offering a free gold coin for purchases during festival season:

Chevrolet India




The one “flag” you should never use on your website

I visited the home page of the Chinese online travel agency website Ctrip recently and came across this odd flag:


Just because the UK  voted to separate from the EU doesn’t mean that it’s considering a merger with the United States (the last I checked).

Seriously, I understand why companies use this hybrid flag—as an all-purpose English icon. But it fails to achieve that goal because flags are not synonymous with language. And, as icons go, people generally don’t like to see their national flags chopped up or merged with other flags.

A better approach is to avoid using any flag at all and simply use “English.”

For more on flags and the global gateway, check out The Art of the Global Gateway.

The Savvy Client’s Guide to Translation Agencies, now in Persian


Make no mistake. The proposed deal between Boeing and Iran Air for 88 jets is a huge deal, not so much in dollars but in symbolism. Because there are many more Western companies lined up eager to strike similar deals in Iran.

While these deals are not without a fair share of risk, there was a time not very long ago when similar statements were made about Russia and China. And, of course, everything could fall apart in an instant (or an election).

Or we could look back a decade from now and wonder what the big deal was. I prefer the latter, which is why I’m pleased to announce that The Savvy Client’s Guide to Translation Agencies is now available in Persian and is for sale in Iran.

Iranian translator Mary Poorglavi translated the book and I recently asked her a few questions about the process and Iran. Here’s what she had to say…

About how long did it take you to translate the book?

You know translating and editing are two separate, but interdependent processes. Therefore, I first translated the book and then edited for three months. Since this was my first publishing experience after 15 years of working as a freelance translator, I did my best to produce a fluent but accurate translation of the book.

What were the most challenging aspects?

The book avoids complicated syntax; therefore, I had no problem in understanding the meaning. However, the most challenging part of the book was related to the cloud model! It was new for me, because in Iran, the traditional TEF (Translating-Editing-Proofreading) model is still used by the translation agencies. To the best of my knowledge, none of translation companies uses this system for localization services and most of them are not familiar with it. Moreover, many freelance translators in Iran do not use even translation memories and are not familiar with them. I think this part of the book should be expanded with more details for those who don’t know what the cloud-based translation system is or how they can use it.


What is the current state of the translation industry in Iran?

Generally, in Iran as a developing country, it is a slow-growing industry. Unfortunately, Iranian LSPs rarely use technology. Nearly all of LSPs in Iran focus on specialized translation and few companies provide localization services by emails! Some other companies use an automated system of registering the project, pricing, translating, and delivery with no use of term banks or translation memory integrated in their websites (or no use of cloud-based translation system management) and depend only on the knowledge of freelancers. However, recently, some associations and institutes have been established to organize  translation agencies.

Have you seen signs of translation industry growth over the past year as Iran has worked to open up its markets to Western companies?

After terminating sanctions, a very limited number of LSPs are slowly preparing themselves to offer services to global customers and get their shares of global market opportunities. In my idea, publishing books on introducing translation industry, academic papers focusing on translation industry in Iran, using the newest technologies, holding the conferences on translation industry and the importance of the presence in global markets, revising the related policies may help the industry to grow faster.

For those of us who would like to visit Iran, what sights do you most recommend visiting?

Iran is known as a four-season country with many attractions. In Tehran, Golestan Palace and Niavaran Palace are among many beautiful and charming attractions; in Isfahan, there is Naqsh-e Jahan Square known as Imam Square, and in Shiraz, Eram Garden and Persepolis are worth visiting.