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Because of the nature of my business, when I talk about the Website Localization, I usually talk about SEO related issues such as the importance of the keyword research, the accuracy of the translation, and the issues related to domains and hosting.
When it comes to the Search Engine Marketing and Online Business in general, we tend to focus so much on how the website is crawled and indexed by the Search Engines, and the rankings on the search result pages. Perhaps, too much focus on SEO against engines, and forget that the website is there for people.
When localizing the forms (registration, order, etc.) for Japanese market, in addition to translating the fields, you need to change followings:
- Names: family name first, then the given name
- Address: Zip code (xxx-xxxx), Prefecture, City/Town, Street number, Suite number, bldg name/Floor number
- If you have them select the country, put Japan at the top of the country list.
- Phone: The number of digit for phone numbers varies from city to city in Japan such as “03-xxxx-xxxx”, “092-xxx-xxxx”, and “08xx-xx-xxxx”. It’s safer to give one field to enter all digits than to break them into 3 fields.
- Toll free number: Your US toll free number may or may not work from Japan. You can obtain Japanese toll free number (0123-xxxx).
Also keep in mind that if you offer a form in Japanese, it is most likely that people will fill it out in Japanese. If you are willing to accept the information in Japanese, make sure your form and the system work well with Japanese characters. If not, be sure to ask them to fill it out using alphabet at the top of the form.