Website translation is more critical to businesses today than in the past. Globalization presents so many demands and challenges to businesses, such as ensuring proper communication with different cultures, with a website as one of the first things consumers see. Companies have to be in contact with their intended and potential clients and customers. And a properly translated website is one of the key marketing tools a global company should take care of.
It is already a given that global communication is facilitated by the web and Internet connection because these tools are vital in targeting specific clients from particular locations who speak different languages. Thus, one of the essentials in globalization is to have a multilingual website to cater to different audiences.
Is there a need to have a different website architecture for each individual language, or probably different pages? When a website is translated, will it need a proxy server to handle each language and how do you go about the website translation?
Website translation is not easy and you need professional help to achieve success. So no, Google Translate just won’t cut it. There are so many variables and aspects to consider when you decide to embark on website translation. In the scheme of international business strategies, website translation is a step to prepare your site for localization, which takes your website further to ensure effective communication to your global consumers.
First Things to Consider
One aspect you need to consider first is finding the right translation company that fits your needs and your budget. You cannot use free online translation tools or Google Translate to translate your website.
Your concern should be to accurately translate and adapt your content to your target market, which needs the expert handling of a third-party translation services provider. You need to make a list of your priorities. Most of the considerations are for the back-end work the developers will handle, such as proxy servers, Unicode encoding and latency.
On top of these, you have to understand that translating your website means you’ll be maintaining different sites for each language.
Purpose of a Website
This may sound like an inane question. Do you know the purpose of a website? Sure, it allows you to have web presence and you inform people about your company, products and services. But beyond these things, you create a website for your valued customers and provide a solution to their specific needs. Further, a website communicates your solutions to your prospects in a clear, persuasive and precise manner.
You wouldn’t be encountering many problems when you have a domestic website. It is a tool to build customer loyalty and business credibility. But once you intend to expand to the international market, you have to think of expanding your website as well to cater to different audiences. This means that you should have a website that is available in the languages your target customers speak.
Initial Problems with Website Translation
Translating a website is expensive and you need time and the services of a specialized team to make it work. Unless you have a website development team, using your in-house staff is not advisable. Here are some of the hurdles you are likely to encounter when translating your website into multiple languages.
Speed to market is one of the first problems you’ll encounter. Technically, website translation can take several months to complete, especially if your website is to be translated into a number of languages. There will be challenges in the workflow as well as technical complexities to contend with, which can cause delays. While you are waiting for the launch of your multilingual website, your competitors can enter your target market. Your aggressive in-country teams could demand delivery of digital content immediately to support their marketing program.
If you decide to do the website translation in-house, your local team will be overworked and overextended. You cannot expect them to handle the translation of your website because they are not professional translators and their knowledge of the language may be limited. The internal processes of translating websites will be beyond their skills.
Using your in-house staff can increase the cost of website translation. With their limited knowledge, you will end up hiring website developers, translators, editors and proofreaders who may recommend starting the translation over again. You will need people to review the site as well.
It’s Not Just Technical
Aside from the technical aspects of the website, you have to consider the languages you choose to make your website multilingual. Each language or dialect has many linguistic and cultural nuances. Unless you are a linguist, this is something that is beyond your language skills, even if you are bilingual. Likewise, what will you do with the other languages on your list?
When you are dealing with a global audience, your website requires more than straight translation. You need website localization, which is a more than just translation. Target customers in different countries want and expect an extraordinary website experience. They want something that is relatable, with a website that speaks to them in their own language and more.
Your website design will also change, since some of the languages translate into shorter or longer forms. The direction of the written language will also have to be considered, as some are written left to right, while others are presented vertically.
Challenges of Website Translation
Maintaining a website today is more demanding. There is a constant need to update webpage content. If you have a website in multiple languages, think of the amount of time you are going to spend to translate global content into different languages. To make things easier for you, it is advisable to collaborate with a professional translation company that fully understands the demands of routine web page translation in order to keep the content current.
In the global context, it is more important to localize your website instead of merely translating it into different languages. For sure the website will have to be translated into the target languages. Because if you localize the elements to suit the preferences of the target consumers but do not bother to translate the written content, you are just throwing money down the drain.
This article is part of our Localization series. To learn more about localization, please read our Ultimate Guide.
Since you are already going to have your website translated, why do it separately when you will definitely need to do website localization if you want to compete in the global business arena.
Aside from the one-to-one translation if you are targeting several markets speaking different languages, website translation will also be concerned with website design, as translated text will differ in size, form and orientation. Other concerns include SEO, cultural adaptation and functionality.
Translate for a Wider Reach!
It is obvious that you are translating your website into other languages because you know that while English is a common language used online, many web visitors who intend to shop or are searching for information are more inclined to find websites available in their own language. Localization enables you to target consumers who would not be reachable if your site in only in one language and gives you the opportunity to communicate with multilingual speakers in their preferred language.
In website translation, the translator needs to know more about the target market’s cultural preferences. Some countries have high context cultures where consumers are attracted to websites that are interactive and intuitive. They prefer websites containing animations, several images and links that lead to other pages that they can view simultaneously. Examples of high context cultures are Arabic countries and Japan.
Germany and the United States are low context cultures. They prefer concise and clear information. If there are instructions, they want them to be as detailed as possible.
When you plan a website, it is essential to think about its scalability. It should be flexible, to make room for changes. Writing for the website is an important consideration as well. Since it is likely that you are planning to go global in the near future, plan your website accordingly.
Ensure that your web content is easy to read and understand, so the content is easier to translate and localize. The writer should use neutral and simple language. Avoiding country- or culture-specific references (whenever possible) helps make translating the website easier.
Need Website Translation? Work with Native Speakers!
Translating your website requires deeper knowledge and understanding of the target cultures’ preferences. You can talk to them effectively in the language they prefer, with all its cultural and linguistic nuances if you are working with native-speaking translators. At Day Translations, Inc. we only work with native speakers. Our translators live in-country, ensuring that we can immediately connect you to a translator when you need our services. With Day Translations, you do not have to wait, as we are open 24/7, every day of the year, so you do not miss your deadline. We have subject matter experts, so whenever you need website translation or you want to collaborate for long-term language services, give us a call at 1-800-969-6853 or send us an email at Contact us.