Website translation has become the norm for organisations and corporations looking to broaden their international sales and increase their global presence, but guaranteeing a successful translation requires far more than a good grasp of language.
If you are considering translating a commercial website, there are numerous pitfalls and potential hazards which can often be avoided with the help of experienced linguists who have an in-depth knowledge of the country, people and culture of the language(s) you require.
A professional translation service provider will ensure that your translated website is:
• linguistically accurate
• culturally appropriate
• localized for a precise audience
• tailored to your specific requirements
• SEO focussed
Of course, there is the factor of cost to consider when using a professional translation service provider but invariable this will save you money in the long term as it will improve your SEO (search engine optimization) ratings, increase brand awareness and trust, and give you peace of mind.
There are many factors to consider when translating your website for an international audience, but the following points are principal elements which should be adhered to whichever language you choose for your website translation.
1. Use Human Translators
Machines are amazing, and in this day and age, we rely heavily on their productivity and efficiency in virtually every industry.
However, they don’t yet make good translators.
Machine translation methods, such as, Google Translate, operate by offering a literal translation of each word or phrase, whereas a human translator will translate the overall message to accurately convey the emotion and sentiment for a specific audience and culture.
This gives a more precise translation as it engages emotionally with the target audience through culturally appropriate linguistic nuance and tone, ensuring that potential customers or clients want to spend time browsing your website.
Websites that are riddled with grammatical errors, spelling mistakes or culturally inappropriate images, will drive away customers, losing your firm money.
Your website is a reflection of your business so if you want it to be perfect, enlist the help of professional translators who can help with desktop publishing, design, formatting, and localization, alongside your translation requirements, ensuring your website translation works for you.
2. Localize your Website
We’ve already touched on the importance of a culturally appropriate translation for your website but localization goes much further than just words.
Localization (or L10N as it is also known) is the process of adapting a product, message, document, or website content so that it matches the language, and cultural requirements, of a specific locale or target audience.
In terms of language, this means adapting words to suit the expectations of a particular region or district, paying particular attention to colloquial language including elements such as, phrases, idioms and tone of voice.
Getting this right requires an expert knowledge of both the language, and culture, of each region, or location, so take professional advice if you aren’t sure – getting it wrong can lose you business.
If you would help from knowledgeable translators you can click here to talk to our cultural experts at Creative Word.
3. Localize Content and Customer Services
Translating the text within your website is only the first step in the translation and localization process.
To ensure local customers can enjoy complete engagement with your products, website content, customer services, social media posts, and so on, it is necessary to translate and localize these alongside your basic website.
The following points should be taken into account when localizing for a specific audience or for different cultures:
• Images – photographs, icons, emoji, and so on, can have various meanings/connotations for different cultures. Be aware that if you cause offence with inappropriate images this can harm your brand reputation
• Colour – different cultures have differing views regarding the significance of colours. For instance, in the Middle East, green is associated with Islam, good fortune, and fertility so is a colour that must be respected, whereas in the UK it can represent springtime, new life or jealousy
• Font – there are preferred ‘ideal’ fonts and text sizes for different locations around the world. Get it right with professional help to ensure your website meets customer’s expectations
• Text Direction – in some countries writing is read from left-to-right, while in others it is right-to-left. Be sure that your website can accommodate this change and talk to localization design experts if you need assistance.
• Text Expansion – some languages are more ‘wordy’ than others and therefore, require more space on the page. Taking this into account during design stages can help the translation and localization process.
• Formatting – dates, weight, measurements, currency, and so on, all vary from location to location. Check that you have the right format for each local area or enlist a professional translation service provider to help if you are unsure.
With so many variables to consider when localizing and translating your website it is difficult to get it right without the assistance of a professional translation expert.
If you think you will need help, advance planning (allowing time for translation and localization) will give far better results than a rush job and ensure you get the most from your investment.
If you would like any help with above points, or wish to talk to a specialist translation team, please contact a member of the Creative Word team here.
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