JNTO Global Website Localization

Bringing Japan’s official tourism website to every corner of the world
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Japan National Tourism Organization


2018, 2019

The challenge

In 2018, we created Japan’s official tourism website for the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). The English-language global site comprises over 1 million words and 3,000 pages of content, introducing all parts of Japan. But a “global” website is not truly global if it is only in one language. So, JNTO asked us to localize the website into 13 languages from Arabic to Thai, serving 22 markets from Brazil to Vietnam.

Creating a seamless experience across languages and cultures

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Localization on a grand scale

Natural-sounding, culture-specific web content improves a user’s browsing experience and keeps them on the site longer. Translation gets the message across, but with distortion. Localized content engages the reader, but it can only be achieved through multiple rounds of quality assurance. Despite this extensive editing process, we completed our massive localization effort in less than two years. We took into account the language and cultural differences of each market and used small translation teams to ensure consistency.

Each language team was led by two to three localization quality controllers (LQCs): experienced professionals in translation, editing, and proofreading who ensured our content was accurate and comfortable to read. The LQCs created custom style guides and glossaries, provided regular feedback to their teams, and held each other to high standards. We prioritized LQCs with ample knowledge of Japanese culture to produce content that evokes Japan far more powerfully than a literal translation can.

Unifying Japan’s brand

JNTO operates offices around the world which promote Japan to their respective markets. Prior to the localization effort, each JNTO local office had its own website for its area. These locally produced sites had diverse layouts, designs, content, and standards, diluting the core branding. We unified JNTO’s worldwide brand by creating 22 local websites with the same user experience, design, layout, core content, and domain structure as the JNTO global site. This consistency gives users confidence in the regional websites and cements JNTO’s authority on tourism information.

Effective customization tools

Each JNTO local office has a unique strategy for connecting with its audience. We empowered the local offices to add region-specific content and customize pages while retaining the global site’s design and layout. We implemented an intuitive content management system and led seminars on its use for employees of each office. With style guides and glossaries created by our LQCs, we gave the JNTO local offices the tools to shape and maintain their websites in line with their needs.

We delivered the compelling content and smooth user experience of the JNTO global site to 22 diverse markets.
JNTO Global
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