You just want to translate your website. It should be simple, right?
Unfortunately, localizing your company’s website is much more than translating text. Sure, you can adopt a free website application and crank out a thirty-language website in no time. But if you want to ensure quality language translation, brand consistency and a website that is fit for each of your end users, you may want to put a little more localization thought into it.
Whether you’re just starting to think about translating your website or you already have multilingual webpage experience, here are a few things to consider when planning your next website localization project.
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First and foremost, your customers care which language your website is being presented in. If you’re on a budget, research which languages best suit your target audience so you can strategically reach them. Webpage analytics can also show you which country most of your visitors are coming from – so you can determine which languages might be suitable for your audience. Also consider using culture settings of browsers to automatically set your visitor’s language.
2. Style guides
Start by creating a style guide that can be used throughout the localization of your website. Different languages often require different fonts and styles, so a style guide will help you plan out your process and keep each of your website’s translations consistent.
When possible, keep your website’s terminology simple and to the point. Any slogans or culturally specific language may be hard to understand or even translate. If any terminology needs to be kept the same, identity terms in a glossary that can be used by those involved in the localization process. Consistent terminology will also help foster better translation memory reuse and search engine optimization.
Even though you are translating your website into different languages, it is important to keep your brand’s same global look and feel when localizing. To maintain brand identity, define your standards for company mission statements, history, logos, colors, etc. prior to translation. This will help your language service provider keep your message consistent across multiple languages.
Just as important as your website’s text is its multimedia. If you have audio or video that you wish to translate, be sure to note these separately. Multimedia translation may require you to do voice-over recordings or create localized subtitles, which may add to your localization timeline.
Your website’s imagery can also bring about higher translation costs and tribulations. If possible, avoid images that contain embedded text or else separate them into layers to make the translation process easier. Also be sure to avoid culturally biased, sensitive or confusing imagery, which may negatively affect your foreign visitor’s website experience.
7. Phone numbers and addresses
Something very simple that sometimes slips through the cracks when localizing websites is your company’s contact information. Be sure to double-check that your telephone numbers and addresses are accessible and suitable for each of your localized websites. If not, be sure to provide alternate numbers or specify the necessary service and support.
Just like languages, each country has its own set of legalities to be aware of when translating your website. In some countries, privacy laws may stop you from collecting your visitors’ data. Other countries don’t allow you to advertise negatively or competitively on your own website. Be sure to look into these technicalities beforehand to avoid timeline delays.
Standardize your website structure with Unicode, the universally adopted encoding system. This will help remove the need to track encoding, ensure user readability, and ease any of your future translation processes. It’s also a best practice to separate your coding from your translatable text, to avoid confusion when localizing your website.
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into a successful global website. We hope these nine things will help you organize, implement and successfully tackle your next website localization project. To get more insight into website localization, download our best practices brief Website localization: Best practices for going global
Have further questions regarding website localization and how to execute a globally thriving webpage? Reach out to us below!