In recent years many companies have discovered the benefits of having an Arabic version of their website – it’s the fifth most spoken language in world, there is limited existing Arabic content available on line, the Arab world is expanding and developing rapidly, and there are 173,542,069 internet users in the Middle East.
The potential ROI is huge for a business looking to expand into an Arabic market; especially if time and consideration is given to professional translation and design elements of the website to account for cultural variations and differences.
Without establishing a culturally acceptable, expertly translated and well-designed website, potential commercial growth is likely to be limited.
The following tips for translating and designing websites for an Arabic audience will help to get it right!
1. Use a Specialist Arabic Translation Company
At Creative Word we understand how essential accurate translation and localization are when expanding into new markets.
Using a translation company which specialises in Arabic translation will give your website prestige, highlighting your investment and consideration for your new audience.
Professional Arabic localization will show potential customers that you understand their culture, appreciate their regional differences and are serious about your brand.
Mistakes in translation, and culturally incompetent errors, in marketing, design, and website formatting show a disregard, or lack of respect, which is likely to cost to you potential custom in the long run.
2. Translation, Localization and Design
It is no longer enough to simply translate your existing website for a new audience – consumers have higher standards for online companies than previously, and greater expectations when shopping online.
Common Sense Advisory market research data, questioning the preference of using native language when shopping online of 3000 customers in 10 countries, found “substantial preference for the consumer’s mother tongue. This partiality leads many potential prospects unsure of their reading skills to avoid English-language websites, spend less time during their visits, and not buy products that lack instructions or post-sales customer support in their language. In summary, we found that more local-language content throughout the customer experience leads to a greater likelihood of purchase”.
Translation will give you the possibility for increased sales through consumers being able to access and understand your brand, products and after-sales care, but localization will ensure regional variances are covered, keeping cultural errors low while highlighting an in-depth knowledge of your audience and their preferences.
By tailoring your website to take account of “local-language” needs, local design preferences and translation requirements, you can be assured of full customer participation, leading to an increase in potential sales.
3. Design Tips for Arabic Audiences
There are some obvious changes which need to be made to any website when expanding into an Arabic market such as, language and culture.
However, with these changes come some hidden factors which should be considered before creating new websites:
• Right-to-left script – one of the biggest factors to consider when designing for an Arabic audience is the RTL issue. This means there can be problems when ‘flipping’ text with layout displays.
• Images – flipping images doesn’t always work, finding new ones which also fit culturally accepted norms is a better option.
• Text expansion/contraction – some languages use much more space to say the same the same thing as others. Also, Arabic characters are a different shape and size to English letters so if considering just switching for translation it is likely to disrupt the layout and visual aspects of every page on your site.
• Mobile friendly – ensuring your site is visually pleasing and correctly displayed, on standard desktop and mobiles or tablets, is vital. Many more people in the Middle East use mobiles for online activities than in previous years.
• Platform – ensure that the platform you use can cope with all the language variations you require before making changes.
• Typesetting – there are limited fonts available for the Arabic language online so ensure you are able to use the one you chosen for your other language sites so that continuity is ensured between languages.
• Numbers/Currencies – Most native Arabic-speakers can easily understand and read Western numbers. However, if you have gone to the trouble of translating all the text into Arabic, it makes sense to continue this with numbers as it will give a more pleasing appearance.
If you require assistance with any aspect of Arabic translation, localization or design for your website, please contact us at Creative Word and our experts will be more than happy to help.
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