If you’ve ever used an online translation app to translate snippets of text, you know it can be unwieldy at best. At worst, the results can be downright wrong. Basic translation tools are fine for content that’s not mission-critical, but for large projects like website localization it just won’t fit the bill.
Professional website localization entails much more than simply changing words into another language. Skilled translators work with your existing content to make sure its original meaning is preserved while also ensuring it is culturally relevant and meets the expectations of people who visit your website.
If you’re planning to localize your website to reach new target markets or to compete on a global level, there are several things to keep in mind. Here’s what you need to know to make your website localization project shine.
Plan, plan, then plan some more.
Even before the first word is translated, it’s important to map out your organization’s mission and strategy for the globalization project. Decide what markets you want to target first and consider what cultural factors may impact your brand’s messaging. In some cases, you may discover that transcreation is a more appropriate approach for your needs. Proper planning lets you hit the ground running with whichever method is best for your company.
Choose your localization content carefully.
It’s tempting to hand over every page of your website for translation but, in some cases, that may not be economical or practical. In fact, some of your web pages may not require localization at all. Certain product, shipping, or delivery information may only be relevant to limited geographical areas so what matters to customers in the U.S. may have nothing to do with customers in South America. Limit your first round of localized content to the main pages of your website that best highlight your product or service. You can always add additional pages down the road.
Share your localization vision.
Be sure to let your localization team know what your goals are so they can make the best choices when translating your content. The goal of the project is to make the new content look, feel, and function as if it were produced in the target country. This may involve creating additional content, color schemes, and visual elements to reflect the expectations of the target demographic.
Collaborate early and often.
You know your business and customers best so don’t be afraid to give your translation team a bounty of information about your brand so they can provide the best results. Conversely, translation professionals will give you excellent advice about how to make sure your website localization project puts its best foot forward. By working together, expertise from both sides will help create solid localized content that speaks directly to the culture and the customers you’re targeting.
To learn more about how Avantpage can help you with your website localization project, download our free guide, AvantWeb: Essentials of Web Localization. For a free quote, fill in our online quote request, or call or email us today:
Image: Lars Ploughmann