Website Translation – Go Global to Go Local
It’s just a translation of your website, easy, right?
Not so quick. Localizing your company’s website is much more than website translation. You could go with Google Translate and offer up your website in 40+ languages, but if you want to really reach your customer, quality language translation and localization is essential. Here are some quick tips to make your website translation project successful and pain free.
Whether you’re just starting to think about website translation or already have multilingual website localization experience, here are a few tips to help you go global to go local.
Pick your languages
Did you know there are over 7000 spoken languages across the globe? Likely your customers don’t speak all of those languages, but do you know what languages they do speak? Customers can’t buy what they can’t read so it’s up to you to decide what customers you are going to sell to.
Often times budgets only allow for a language or two to get started – you don’t need to start your website translation project with a bunch of languages at once. Carefully select the languages that best fit your customer and strategically target them.
Create a style guide
Style guides, sometimes called brand guides, must be created to guide the website translation process. The style guide is considered your overall strategy and will help the translation team better understand how you present your products and services to your customers. Translators need to understand how you present yourself to clients so they can appropriately translate messaging and the style guide you create is essential.
Know your brand
Your brand is your brand, regardless of where in the world you are. When you localize your website, it is important to communicate your brand to the translation team so they know how you want to present yourself to the world. Your translation team will lean on your brand knowledge and your style guide to understand the in’s and out’s of who you are.
When in doubt, simplify. Customers will be able to connect with you easier when jokes, slogans and cultural puns are left out. Industry specific terminology is essential to get right, however. Your translation team will appreciate working from a glossary that you create highlighting any terminology specific to your products and services. This glossary should be embedded in your style guide and will help the translation team understand your brand.
Don’t forget images
Images are necessary on every website. The average reader will give your content a 6 second or less attention span and will move on if there aren’t images to help grab their attention. However, images embedded with content need to be translated also during the website translation process. The translation team will need to original source files in order to change the working on the images. Likely you’ll need to work with your design team to get those files.
Also, don’t forget audio and video files
Websites often contain a lot of audio and video files. These multimedia files must also be considered during the website translation process and require either voice over or subtitling. Your translation team will be able to help you decide which method is most appropriate for your target market.
Something very simple that is often missed with localized websites is your company’s contact information – phone numbers and physical and email addresses. Be sure to double-check that your telephone numbers and addresses are correct for each of your localized websites and that the right contact person or department is associated with the localized website.
Legalese … read the small print!
Just like languages, each country has its own set of quirks and legalese should not be overlooked. Legalities need to be paid attention to when translating your website – this is no time to forget to read the small print! Some country’s privacy laws don’t allow you to collect visitor data while others don’t allow you to advertise negatively or competitively on your own website. Now is the time to look into the legality avoid potential legal issues.
Coding and other tech stuff
It’s important to check with your website development team to make sure that your website is set up for the global marketplace. Translation will allow your customers to interact with you, but they won’t be able to do so if your website doesn’t work in their corner of the world. Unicode is the universally adopted encoding system and will help remove the need to track encoding when storing, ensure readability, and ease your future translation processes. It’s also a best practice to separate your coding from your translatable text to avoid confusion when translating your website.
Last but not least – get found!
You need to set up your website with the correct search engine optimization settings so that your clients – wherever they are – can easily find you.
Ready to get started? Contact INGCO International’s expert website translation team now!