LOCALIZING YOUR WEBSITE FOR THE AFRICAN MARKET
The African digital market is growing fast, and the need for websites with localized content is becoming more evident. With a 43.1% in penetration rate and a population of 1.4 billion people, Africa is the world’s second-largest and fastest-growing continent. It has a young population with 70% aged below 30 years old. This blog post will introduce you to the world of African website localization and its importance in the global digital market. Keep reading to find out more about this important topic!
What is Localization?
When you localize your website, you’re choosing to make that website available in a variety of new languages. Many companies choose to do this because they understand that the majority of their users come from different countries and have different native languages. Localization can also refer to the process of adapting a product or service to make it suitable for a specific region or market. Website localization is the process of adapting a website to meet the language and cultural requirements of a specific target market or locale. It is recommended for businesses that want to expand their reach by attracting customers from abroad.
Benefits of Website Localization in Africa
- Localized websites are easier to navigate and provide a seamless experience for users, regardless of their location. Therefore, users from Africa will appreciate your website and its content as well. With a localized website, you can also expect a better bounce rate.
- Increased trust – Trust is important for all businesses, but it’s especially critical in the B2B sector. High-quality content is the best way to build trust with potential customers and leads. In Africa, trust is even more important than in other markets due to a lack of regulation.
- Competitive advantage – Another benefit of localized websites is that they can help you stand out from the crowd. If your competitors haven’t localized their websites, you’ll be the only business serving your customers in their native language.
- More customers: An obvious benefit of localized websites is that they allow you to reach a larger audience. You’ll be able to bring in more customers from Africa, and you’ll also be able to reach audiences in other parts of the world with your translated content.
The Process of African Website Localization
There are two important processes to keep in mind when localizing your website in Africa: choosing the right languages and creating content that is appropriate for your audience.
1.Choosing the right languages.
The most important factor is your potential customer base when deciding which languages to translate your website into. This is especially important in the African digital market due to the vast diversity of languages and cultures. A good way to start is by choosing the most spoken languages of the continent;
English -This is the most common language used on African websites. Approximately 44% of websites on the continent are in English. It is the official language of almost every country in Africa, as well as many other countries around the world.
French – The second most used language in the African digital market is French. It’s the most popular language across a few countries in West and Central Africa. You’ll also find French in many other countries across the continent due to colonization.
Portuguese – This language is mostly used in Portuguese-speaking countries like Angola and Mozambique, but you’ll also find it in a few other African countries.
Swahili – Swahili speakers spread over more than 14 countries: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Somalia, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, and Comoros. Being an official African Union language it is essential to have your website translated to suit these geographical areas.
2.The process of creating content.
Once you’ve chosen the right languages, you’ll have to create new content that’s appropriate for your audience. There are a few best practices that can make the localization process more seamless:
- Avoid translating word-for-word to make your content more natural. Instead, you should paraphrase the content so that it reads naturally in the language of your audience.
- Get feedback from experts to make sure that your content is culturally appropriate.
- Quality assurance is also important in the localization process. You should make sure that your content is error-free to avoid confusing or misleading your audience.
- Make sure not to rush the localization process. Depending on your website’s size and complexity, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
Why is it so hard to localize websites in Africa?
There are many reasons why it’s difficult to localize a website in Africa, but much of the challenge comes from the diversity of the continent. There are many different languages, cultures, and religions, which can make it challenging to find the right content for your audience. There are also many languages being spoken across Africa due to colonization. This means that in addition to choosing the right language, you’ll also have to decide if your content should be in British or American English due to the differences in grammar. Other challenges such as Poor internet quality, Intermittent access to energy, and Low purchase power by a majority of people. All of these impact people’s ability to access and consume the internet for a longer period. Therefore, website localization should factor this in by design and execution.
How to make your website localization process easier?
If you’re planning to expand your website to the African market, you should start by choosing the right African countries to target. Research on the internet penetration rate by country. It will allow you to focus on specific countries and languages. Optimized your website for mobile devices. This will make it easier for African customers to navigate your website and also make it easier to translate your content. Another important factor to keep in mind when localizing your website is the use of images that are representative of the African culture and people. This will help you avoid using stereotypical images that might be offensive. Developing a lite website that doesn’t consume a lot of data is ideal for the continent.
Website localization is a critical element for growth in Africa. It’s essential to understand how to build a website that’s relevant to the African audience, and it’s important to start early in the process. You should choose the right languages based on where your customers are, what they’re interested in, and what they’re reading. It’s also important to keep in mind the cultural context of your content to avoid any stereotypes or cultural appropriation. The African digital market is growing, and websites with localized content are becoming more evident. Whether you’re expanding your business or creating a new website, it’s important to keep in mind the challenges of African website localization.
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