Website localization is the process of adapting an existing website to local language and culture in the target market. Language, symbols, images, color, navigation and content all need to be taken into account seriously in a website localization project.
I have been working on several website localization projects recently, and I learnt much from them. Today I will talk about the importance and tips in English-Chinese website localization. If you have any different ideas, you can leave your comments here.
Translating a website from English into Chinese is not as simple as it may appear. There are numerous factors that we can never neglect when translating a website’s content
Consistency and variation in content
When large quantities of content are being translated manually, it is very difficult to produce consistent translations of recurrent stretches of text, such as paragraphs, sentences and phrase.
But as we all know, it is important for the translated websites to carry on the same style and layout, as well as same language style as the source sites, to produce a general impression, and to reach a better corporate communication effect. When you are translating, you need to know the corporate culture, product and services , and the management idea and also it’s history. Only on that basis can we deliver exactly the same information as the need.
In the other hand, variation is also necessary. You must adapt your words to the local customs. Using the wrong language for the wrong reader in your localization project will lead to a misunderstanding of the site or company. So, one must analyze the style of the language and the target audience. If the audience is business personnel, the vocabulary, grammar and punctuation must reflect this. If the audience is informal or youth orientated then a more relaxed language must used. Using the wrong language for the wrong reader in your localization project will lead to a misunderstanding of the site or company
SO, both consistency and variation are important when it comes to website localization. It’s a measure that we have to take seriously, to make improve its readability.
Be linguistically and culturally sensitive
Ensures the website is translated in an appropriate way both linguistically and culturally. Vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, style, and level of speech are considered to make sure the language used reflects the target audience’s culture and society.
One must analyse the style of the language and the target audience. If the audience is foreign business personnel, the vocabulary, grammar and punctuation must reflect this. If the audience is informal or youth orientated then a more relaxed language must used.
So it is important for those who are not very familiar with their target culture to make some preparations before translating, like asking for an opinion from a native, or looking for some related information. Seemingly innocent words and phrases could be misunderstood by another culture. If you use terminology that is only understood in your region or culture, the best case you can hope for is that a visitor to your site just won’t understand and will ignore it, but it really reduces your credibility and the overall enjoyment of visiting your site.