The prospect of translating your website should be an exciting one. The chance to open up your content, products or services to vast new markets could mean endless opportunities. In this article we’re going to run down a few tips that will set you on your way and make sure you net yourself the perfect website translation.
Free or professional website translation?
A website is an online shop window. It’s an opportunity for new customers to size you up, validate your professionalism, and make an informed decision about whether to buy from you or do business with you.
Whilst free translation has its place, it is no match for a human linguist. If you are looking to engage customers in markets around the world, increase your international market share, or simply make your products and services available around the world, professional website translation by human translators is the only choice.
Flip it around. If you were looking to buy from an overseas website, and the English was really poor quality and/or machine translated, would you still have the same confidence from a beautifully written site?
What to translate
The first step should always be deciding what you actually need translating. This may sound obvious, but websites can often be a great sprawl, containing pages and links that you may have completely forgotten about. It may also be the case that certain parts of your website simply won’t be needed in other languages.
Are you looking to translate your website in full? Maybe you just want key landing pages or product pages translating? Professional website translation is an investment, so you’ll want to make sure you’re translating the right content for the best possible ROI.
Website content can be stored in a number of different ways. Once you have decided which pages to translate, the next step is to make sure all the copy is available in a translatable format. It is possible that translators won’t be able to work directly in your content management system, so extracting copy into an external program (like MS Word, Excel, CSV, etc) may be necessary.
It’s also important at this point to consider your own needs: think about what will be easiest for you when down and uploading the content, and discuss this with your translation provider.
Once you have decided which markets to enter, your translation partner will help to ensure that the right language/variant/approach is chosen. The ability to adapt to the culture and language is vital here. Whilst maintaining a strong brand image is key, what is more important is that this brand identity and tone of voice is appropriately represented in the translated language.
If you’re translating your website content, you’ll also want to think about SEO. A professional translation will ensure your translated content contains the appropriate keywords for the target markets, and will translate your titles and descriptions to ensure the best possible search engine positions and propagation.
Will you be driving traffic to your translated website pages using Google Adwords? If so, you’ll want to put your ads in the language of your customers. Your translation company will help to translate your headlines, ad content and display URLs, whilst keeping to the maximum character lengths as specified by good. Are your PPC landing pages translated too? If not, why not created specific landing pages in the language of your customer?!
Clearly there is a lot to think about when translating your website, but hopefully this short piece will be a helpful introduction.