With the rise of internet penetration and usage among the masses, almost every company across the globe is looking for ways to make its digital footprint more pronounced. Unsurprisingly, companies employ ways to communicate their offerings in the languages of the target audience. And website translation is among the top methods that these companies use.
But while approximately 75% of the population will select websites that deliver information to them in their native language, only 40% of companies take the hassle of translating their websites into multiple languages.
The reason? Translating a website requires extensive work and careful planning. But if done right, it can open doors to international acclaim for a company.
But what is the right way to ensure your website is readable for the global audience? We take a look at some of the methods you can use to translate your websites and some best practices to make sure your websites are readable for the global audience.
Table of Content
- How to Execute Website Translation Efficiently?
- Method 1: Use The Services of a Professional Translation Agency
- Method 2: Machine Translation
- Best Practices to make Website Translation more Readable!
- Decide on a Multilingual Website or Multiple Websites
- Determine Which Content Needs Translation
- Infuse the tone of your brand
- Localize with SEO Optimization in Mind
- Keep your content transparent
- Consider the Layout of the Website
- Key Takeaway
How to Execute Website Translation Efficiently?
One of the best ways to translate a website accurately is to plan and take measures to get it right the first time. After all, you would not want all your translation efforts to go to waste when your website fails to establish a brand voice, recognition, and value in the global market.
Now that you know the importance of a translated website and its impact on your company’s global acclaim; let us consider two main methods by which you can execute website translation efficiently and easily.
Method 1: Use The Services of a Professional Translation Agency
Many companies opt to choose Google Translate to get the translation job done as quickly as possible. Google Translate may be a quick fix to getting your website translated, but it has its own drawbacks in terms of accuracy and reliability. This is why it is advisable to hire human translators from professional translation agencies who understand the cultural and linguistic variations of different regions and are subject matter experts in their chosen language domains.
A good choice for translating content of creative nature, human translators are capable of understanding cultural nuances and words in ways that a machine translation cannot. However, it is important to make sure these translators are skilled subject matter experts and have ample knowledge and experience of the target and source language.
If you plan to take your company on a global level, search for the right translation agency which can make the global transition easier for you. Your chosen translation agency must fulfill these criteria:
- Exhibit expertise in your source and target language.
- Has a team of linguists and subject matter experts with strong language skills.
- An ample and credible experience in understanding complex project management best practices such as content management and uploading.
Method 2: Machine Translation
Machine translation makes the whole process easier and smooth for companies that are just setting out to take their first step in localization. Machine translation can open doors for international expansion, mainly if you focus on a few markets with simpler translation needs.
The advantages offered by machine translation are:
- Speed: machine translation is well-known for delivering results within minutes and seconds, which is faster than any human translator.
- Cost: Unlike hiring a professional translation agency, getting your content localized through machine translation is less costly.
- Consistency: machine translation delivers the same results every time and is useful for phrases you might use on your websites, such as slogans, call-to-action, and navigation.
While machine translation is efficient and quick to translate your website into other languages, it still lacks certain localization aspects, such as picking up cultural nuances, expressions, and creativity. As a result, it might not be suitable for your company to use machine translation to give a voice to your brand name. You should use machine translation software for your website if you need simple, fast translations, retranslations, or temporary pre-translation before going live.
Best Practices to make Website Translation more Readable!
Now that you know the methods you can adopt to make your website multilingual let us take a look at some of the best practices you can take to make your translated website readable for the target audience.
1. Decide on a Multilingual Website or Multiple Websites
When you decide to translate your website into multiple languages, you have two options: a multilingual website that is translated into global languages or a separate website for each country. Ask yourself whether you are willing to display multiple websites for multiple countries or go for just one website. The disadvantage of multiple websites is that you will have to employ separate CMS for each language and separate login. As far as a domain is concerned, one CMS is a good decision as you will use only one domain for all the languages on your website.
Using plugins to translate websites is another option you can explore, such as using WPML plugins which allow you to add almost 40 languages to your website, making it easier for customers to switch between languages.
2. Determine Which Content Needs Translation
Think about the content you want to translate into global languages. Consider translation of these elements in your website:
- Domain Name
- Product pages
- Product descriptions
- Menu items
- Meta descriptions
- Titles and alt-texts
Next, determine whether you want to translate your website translated all at once or split up the translation work. If you own a large website, you will need to split up content and divide it into manageable chunks. Make sure to translate the most important pages first, as website visitors will likely browse them more thoroughly.
3. Infuse the Tone of your Brand
For infusing a unique tone of your brand and company, it is important to consider certain elements in the translation of your website. The translated version of your site should reflect your company’s aims, objectives, and brand message and should be uniform in all translated languages. For lending a unique brand tone to your website, put together a style guide that:
- Describes the tone and writing style (such as an informal tone of voice)
- Technical terms that you aim to use
- Linguistic terms that you wish to eliminate
With a well-crafted style guide, you can deliver your website’s translation requirements to your translation agency easily.
4. Localize with SEO Optimization in Mind
Before approaching a translation agency for your website translation, find out what keywords score well in your target language. Remember, if your English keywords aren’t liked in another language, chances are very few people will want to read your translated website. Other than looking for the right keywords, it is also important to look into the search engines used by your target audience. Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine around the globe, but certain countries such as Russia and China have their own preferred search engines–Yandex and Baidu, respectively. Choosing the right keywords, and the right SEO strategy will then search engines will help your website rank better in international markets.
5. Keep your Content Transparent
The golden rule for making your website stand out in the global world is to keep your translated content as transparent as you can. The content you use on your website should be clear, concise, and easy to understand, instead of being grammatically or linguistically incorrect. A difficult-to-understand text increases the chances of misinterpretation and mistranslations, which can distort your message altogether. Follow these steps to keep your website content transparent:
- Identify your audience: Your text should be aimed at your target demographic in a way so as to create an appeal to them. For example, you need to avoid complex technical terms and jargon if you are aiming for a website viewer with a general technical knowledge
- Use precise and short sentences: overly-extended and long sentences are often packed with redundant terms, which increases the level of reading difficulty, making your text devoid of common sense. Keep your sentences short and simple and stick to delivering one idea per sentence, omitting all unnecessary details. Doing this will allow you to deliver your message with less ambiguity.
- Make use of consistent terms: a text’s readability is hindered by the usage of inconsistent and different words. This is why it is so important to convey your message in a consistent manner, to avoid any mistranslations and message distortions for your website viewers.
- Proofread: proofreading is one of the surest ways to ensure your website content is aptly and accurately translated. Hiring a professional translation agency with experienced proofreaders will ensure all errors are omitted and there are no possible reading difficulties.
6. Consider the Layout of the Website
Decide on the design and layout of your website before translating it into multiple languages. The design and layout of a website hold immense importance as the lengths of words and phrases vary in different languages. Take the example of English text, which is often one and a half times longer when it is translated into French. Similarly, if you translate your English text into Japanese, you need to have more space between the lines. Other than accounting for the text length, you also need to cater to the layout of your language pages and subdomains.
A company’s website is the doorway to conveying brand messages and company objectives to the global world. But in order to make your website well-liked and ranked high on global search engines, it is important to make it readable for the target audience. Taking the help of a certified and professional translation agency can be a big step in ensuring your website fares well in the global market, for a strong and consistent brand image.