The Dos and Don’ts of Translating Your Website

Ciklopea 9 months ago 9 min

So you’ve decided to translate your website. Congratulations on your decision! Making your website accessible in different languages can increase your conversion rates and create a more meaningful experience for your target audience. Not only that, but it also helps you establish trust with your site visitors and build a positive brand image.

The Dos and Don’ts of Translating Your Website

When it comes to translating your website, there are some essential dos and don’ts you should keep in mind to make sure your content is top-notch and reaches your target audience effectively. In this article, we’ll go over the most important ones so that you can be sure to have a successful launch in all your target markets.

The Dos of Translating Your Website

Let’s first take a look at the best practices for translating your website. This way, you’ll learn how to organize your content the best way, accelerate the translation process, and make sure your website truly resonates with your international audience.

1. Do Research Your Target Audience

Before officially kicking off your website translation project, you need to understand the language and cultural preferences of your target audience. This ensures your translation is not only accurate but also resonates with them.

Here are some questions that can help you tailor your website translation to meet the specific needs and preferences of your target audience. Think through the answers, and you’ll improve your chances of success in the global market.

Question Why it’s important
Who is my target audience? Define the demographics, such as age, gender, location, and language preferences of the users you want to reach.
What are my audience’s interests and preferences? Understand what topics, products, or services are most interesting to your target audience to tailor your content accordingly.
What are the cultural norms and values I need to adhere to and respect? Research the cultural nuances and sensitivities of the target audience to avoid any potential misunderstandings or offence.
What are their pain points and needs? Identify the challenges and problems your target audience faces, which your website can address and provide solutions for.
What are their online behaviours and habits? Determine how your target audience consumes online content, their preferred devices, and the platforms they use.
Who are my competitors targeting? Analyse your competitors’ target audience to gain insights and possibly find untapped opportunities.
Are there any language variations within the target region? Some countries may have multiple official languages or dialects. Understand which one is most relevant to your audience.
How does my target audience search for information online? Look into the keywords and search terms your target audience uses to find content similar to yours.
What are my audience’s purchasing behaviours? If your website offers products or services, understand how your target audience makes purchasing decisions.
What level of localization is necessary? Determine whether a full localization is needed, including adapting imagery, colours, and content, or if a simple translation would suffice.
Are there any legal or cultural restrictions in the target region? You need to be aware of any content restrictions or regulations that may apply in the target region.

2. Do Hire Professional Translators

Different Language Speech Bubble Hello Concept

There are several reasons why you need to hire professional translators for website translation.

Professional translators have the expertise and linguistic skills to accurately convey your content in the target language. They understand the nuances, grammar, idiomatic expressions, and cultural references necessary for a high-quality translation. This ensures that your website’s message is communicated accurately and effectively to your target audience. The quality of the experience you offer to your international audience directly impacts the integrity of your brand.

Another important aspect is maintaining brand consistency across multiple languages. How can you ensure you preserve your brand look and feel, as well as your tone of voice, but also adapt to different markets? That’s where professional translators can help.

Professional translators can maintain consistent terminology and style throughout your website, providing a seamless user experience. They can also create glossaries and translation memories to ensure consistency across future updates or expansions of your website.

Curious about what makes Ciklopea different from other language service providers? Discover why more than 75% of our partners would recommend working with Ciklopea to their colleagues.

Moreover, true language experts know that translating a website goes beyond word-for-word translation. They are familiar with the target culture and can adapt the content to suit the cultural nuances and preferences of the local audience. This way, you can ensure that your website resonates with the target audience and avoid any cultural misunderstandings or offensive content.

3. Do Test Your Website and Offer Language Options

After translation, you need to thoroughly test your website to make sure it works properly in all target languages.

Offering your website in different languages won’t mean much if the user experience is poor. You should check for broken links, test form submissions, navigation menus, search functionality, and any interactive elements to ensure they work properly.

You should also test your website on different web browsers (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari) to ensure that it displays correctly and functions well across all major browsers. Pay attention to any inconsistencies in layout, styling, and functionality. This includes mobile responsiveness as well. Make sure that the translated version of your website adapts well to different screen sizes, maintains readability, and retains functionality on mobile devices.

Discover how Ciklopea helped Topomatika, a leader in precise industrial 3D metrology, localize their website and develop digital translation assets.

The Don’ts of Translating Your Website

Now let’s take a look at what you should avoid when kickstarting the project of website translation. Here’s what to keep in mind to make sure your content is first-rate and reaches your target audience effectively.

1. Don’t Rely on Machine Translation Exclusively

Machine translation has its place in the translation process, but you should never solely rely on it. MT tools cannot fully understand idioms, tone of voice, or style, and they can never replace human translators. Machine translation can help with cost optimization, but you need translators to make sure there are no awkward phrases, inaccuracies, and misinterpretations that may drive potential customers away.

At Ciklopea, we use machine translation carefully because it has proven to boost the productivity of our translators by up to 60%, which means our clients can save money in the long run. Using AI can help you balance costs by freeing up time for more complex translation tasks.

An average translator at Ciklopea can translate between 2000-2500 words per day without any help from MT. Imagine how much faster turnaround times could be if we let machines do the heavy lifting! But in order to leverage the power of AI without jeopardizing the quality of your website translation, you need linguists that are well versed in technology.

2. Don’t Neglect Cultural Specificities

Character illustration of people with a world map illustration

Not neglecting cultural nuances when translating a website is crucial. You can hire a cultural consultant if you want an expert who will help you effectively connect with your target audience. International customers expect you will show respect for their cultural background, and with the help of professionals, you can avoid potential misunderstandings or offence.

But why is it so important?

Let’s take idioms, for example. The literal translation of idioms and expressions may cause confusion or misinterpretation. You need to translate idiomatic phrases while preserving their intended meaning in the target language. For instance, the English phrase “break a leg” translates to the German equivalent of “Hals- und Beinbruch” (neck and leg fracture), which is a common idiom used to wish someone good luck in Germany.

And what about website localization? Looking beyond just translation, you should localize visual elements and pay attention to colours and symbols as well. Images and visuals play a significant role in website design. However, what may be visually appealing or appropriate in one culture may not be in another.

It’s important to select images that are culturally relevant and sensitive to the target audience. For example, displaying images of people from diverse ethnic backgrounds on a healthcare website promotes inclusivity and acknowledges the multicultural nature of the audience.

The same goes for colours. Colours can have different meanings and associations across cultures. For instance, in Western cultures, white is often associated with purity and weddings, while in some Eastern cultures, white is associated with mourning and funerals. Understanding colour symbolism helps you select appropriate colours for your website design and imagery.

3. Don’t Forget About Local SEO

One of the main benefits of translating your website for a foreign market is the opportunity to increase your visibility in local search. Paying attention to relevant keywords while translating and adjusting content can help your website rank in multiple languages.

By following local SEO best practices, you can ensure that search engines understand the geographical relevance of your website, making it more likely to be displayed to users searching for relevant products, services, or information in that specific location.

For example, translating metadata elements such as page titles, meta descriptions, alt tags, and URLs is crucial for local SEO. When these elements are optimized in the target language, they provide search engines with relevant information about your website’s content, improving its visibility and click-through rates in local search results.

Website Translation Has Never Been Simpler

Translating your website can be rather complex. It depends on the number of markets you are trying to reach, the cultural context of these markets, as well as the size of your website. You can try a DIY approach and hire freelancers to help you out while taking care of project management and implementation. This might be tempting because of potential cost savings, but there’s another side to that coin. You’ll need to pay in a different currency – with your time. Plus, you’re likely going to have issues with quality assurance.

This is why we recommend you hire a one-stop shop for website translation. Ciklopea is an award-winning language solution provider that can help you optimize your translation costs and handle everything from end to end. Schedule a call today to discuss your project and receive a quote.

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