Today I want to talk about “Website Translation”. Do you translate websites often? I have translated a few, and I thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned so far about it.
E-commerce platforms, company websites, landing pages, apps, and other similar platforms have a common denominator – communication.
All these platforms are created to communicate a message to as many people as possible. In fact, the online environment can be the one-way ticket to success for any brand regardless of size and product or service. The trick is to know how to grab and retain people’s attention enough to make them want to know more.
For this, you must find creative ways to deliver attention-grabbing and concise content, in a format and shape that’s easily shared and understood.
However, the situation is more complex and nuanced than this. While it’s true that your audience is online, so is your competition, various sources of entertainment, news & media outlets, lots of education platforms, and social media. This means you have to fight hard for people’s attention, and the only way to do so is by creating relevant and engaging content.
The importance of translating your website:
The success of a global brand is defined by the way marketers understand how to approach the local culture and population. This is a process called localization and starts with the translation of the website into the local language.
Big and small e-commerce companies will have to consider translating products and services if they want to be successful. This is one of the reasons why Amazon has such great success overseas. They established several hubs in the most populated areas of the globe and the site is available in the most popular language of the area.
While it may be more difficult to follow in their footsteps in the current economic environment, it doesn’t mean you can’t use the power of language to grow your audience.
Culture and Language:
A successful website translation is not just about language; it’s also about integrating local culture and habits. Linguists call this localization.
Unlike regular translation, localization also addresses non-textual and cultural components to create an accurate depiction of a product or service for a specific group of people. It’s about adapting the message so locals can grasp all its nuances.
All successful global websites, apps, video games, or any other type of content is the result of both translation and localization.
Furthermore, localization is not just for foreign countries who speak a different language. A website with content in English will still have to use localization techniques in order to become appealing to audiences in Australia or the UK.
The best way to see how localization works is by taking a look at the case of sportive footwear. What Americans consider sneakers are called trainers in the UK and runners in Ireland. Now, all these words define one type of product, but if you try to sell sneakers in the UK, you won’t be successful because people don’t understand what you’re offering.
In summary, it’s not a case of culture vs. language but rather a case of using language and culture to promote your brand.
How to translate it?
The DIY Approach
If you have the necessary knowledge to produce reliable and high-quality translations, then it is possible to do it yourself. However, it is not an approach we would recommend since it requires a great deal of knowledge from two opposing fields: language and web technology.
The DIY approach only works when you’re running a small website or creating stand-alone landing pages for a language you know very well. Otherwise, if the website is larger (like an e-commerce platform) you should hire a translator.
Professional Collaboration Approach
You are willing to invest in a strong marketing department, right? You are also ready to send people and investigate the market you want to enter. So, it would be unwise to not consider a collaboration with an experienced translator and localizer!
It’s also important to keep in mind that you will need translations of the website content, products, marketing materials, and legal documents (for contracts, agreements, labor laws, and more). As such, you will need assistance from linguists with varied expertise.
Website Translation vs. Content Translation
We’re currently living in a content economy. This means that brands must keep creating engaging content to grab people’s attention and lead them to their landing pages. Once there, viewers must be welcomed by a different type of content that will convince them to become customers.
As such, there is a clear distinction between website and content translation. If you only need to translate your website once, content is something that must be produced at a constant rate. Content must also be relevant and topical in order to stand out in the ocean of new content created every day.
Furthermore, different audiences require content in different formats. And, depending on the geographic location of your audience, you may have to use different channels. This implies knowing which social media platform works in a specific region, whether blogging is well-received or not, and more.
Lastly, successful brands will also keep track of content produced by their users such as reviews, comments, or blog articles. This type of content has a sense of urgency to it, as you can lose momentum if the reply comes too late. As a result, collaboration with a translator or a translation agency that can provide input in local culture and habits is more than necessary to keep track of various campaigns.
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Until the next time, take care and stay safe!