Your website is probably the first thing your clients see when they search for your company. Having it in one language is great but if you really want to make an impact and reach a wider audience, then website translation is a must. Translating your web content into multiple languages will ensure an effective kick start of your international strategy.
In this post, we will explore the 4 areas of website translation that many companies struggle with.
Obtaining source files and existing website content
The most important part of the project is providing access to the content that needs to be translated. If your supplier doesn't have access to all required pages, or content, the translation may lose quality and relevance. Some agencies require you to send them the *.xml, *.html or *.php files containing the content in the source language, others may prefer to work directly from the site. Whichever approach you take, the outcome of the translation will largely depend on the quality of the source files and context.
Things like meta tags, meta titles, and image tags (hidden text), as well as repetitions, also need to be considered because it affects the amount of words and time which ultimately affects the cost of the website translation project.
Choosing a supplier and planning the project
At this stage, you probably already know what needs to be translated and the content is ready to be sent to a translation supplier. There are several things to keep in mind when choosing one. How experienced they are? Are they specialists in translating other websites? Who are their previous clients and what their industry is?
When planning the project and getting the actual quote, very often the translation provider will be able to do it in 3 ways. One way of obtaining a quote will by sending the source files and getting a word count done, the project will be quoted by price per word. The second way of getting a quote will be by sending the URL of your website. The way the supplier will quote the project will depend on an estimated time they will spend on translation and planning in advance any additional hidden content. The third way you will obtain a quote is by providing a fixed price by estimating the size of the project from past experience.
Localizing content properly
Once you get the translation ready and the content is ready to be uploaded there are a few other things that need to be done that are essential and should not be ignored. Localizing photos, videos, and multimedia, in general, is essential, especially when you target countries that are not on the same continent as you. To fully understand your site, visitors should be able to understand every piece of content. For example, if you have a video on a landing page, you may need to consider adding subtitles or a voiceover to it.
Implementing the translation to your site
When adding the translated content, your developers would need to consider the differences in word/sentence length and adapt the website design accordingly. Also, finding the right font for the language is also important, in general styling is important so that it will look consistent and makes sense to the client.
Little things like properly formatted dates, phone numbers, and addresses are often overlooked. However, ignoring these can have a negative impact on your potential new audience and will put people off your site.
BONUS: Translation proxy
One way of getting your website translated is using a technology that has been achieving recognition in the past few months. Translation proxy works as a layer on top of your existing site. It doesn't need access to your back-end, and it doesn't require source files for it to work. It is excellent for translating websites that do not have dynamic content or ones which are informational sites. It’s mostly suitable for smaller sites, but can be useful for e-commerce sites too.
Over to you. Is your website multilingual?