Website localization is the process of adapting an existing website to local language and culture in the target market. It is the process of adapting a website into a different linguistic and cultural context— involving much more than the simple translation of text. This modification process must reflect specific language and cultural preferences in the content, images and overall design and requirements of the site – all while maintaining the integrity of the website. Culturally adapted web sites reduce the amount of required cognitive efforts from visitors of the site to process information, making navigation easier and attitudes toward the web site more favorable. The modification of the website must additionally take into consideration the stated purpose of the new website with a focus on the targeted audience/market in the new locale. Website localization aims to customize a website so that it seems "natural", to its viewers despite cultural differences between the creators and the audience. Two factors are involved—programming expertise and linguistic/cultural knowledge.
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The proliferation of website localization is the result of the popularity of computer and Internet users. People all over the world treat the Internet as their main location for information and services. These people do not all speak the same language. As a result, website localization has become one of the primary tools for business global expansion.
Due to website communication across multiple cultures for multiple needs, the Internet has given rise to non professional translation practices. Because website localization involves mixed strategies, organizations tend to maintain a global image while using website localization to appeal to local users. The challenge of website localization has become even more important as websites increasingly have the potential to both supplement and replace presence in foreign markets. As web design becomes more congruent with national culture, it will foster online consumer purchasing. Creators take into account the "language, education level, belief and value systems, [and] traditions and habits" of the target culture in order to optimize results.