With the steady march of globalisation and internationalisation comes the need for businesses to promote themselves to a global audience. A strong website is key to being able to speak to, and with, clients and customers from around the world. In an increasingly global marketplace, having your website translated and localised for your key markets can help expand your global reach and sales. To help you on your way to a successful website translation here are some tips:
1. Consider how you will host and manage your website. If you have a small website that’s not going to change on a frequent basis, it’s worth considering setting up a completely separate site, using your Content Management System (CMS), rather than making your site multilingual. Make sure that you research the CMS you are using before you start the localisation process, to check that it can cope with the languages that you are translating your content into.
If you have a large, frequently changing website, make sure you have a global-ready CMS, which will allow you to make updates with ease. The key things to look out for at this stage are easy import and export of content in XML format, that it has easy workflows to update and add new content, and again that it supports all the languages you are targeting. For example, it is no good translating your website into Arabic if your CMS cannot handle script languages or text that reads from right to left.
2. When you have the content that you are looking to translate, make sure that you proofread it thoroughly to ensure there are no errors, as these could be exacerbated in the translation process. You also want to make sure that you are localising your content to the country/region that you are targeting. This includes the localisation of cultural references and humour etc. Make sure you talk with your provider about your company style and the tone that you want to portray to your new markets.
3. When you localise your website, it is not just the text that you are localising, you need to make sure that you localise all aspects of your site. This includes the localisation of images, graphics and colour. For example, the colour red symbolises good luck in China, but bad luck in Japan. You also need to consider the localisation of dates, currency and sizing, to make sure your website feels like it was truly made for your target audience.
4. You will also need to consider multilingual SEO in your localisation process. It is not as simple as translating your English keywords into your target language. In-country specialists can advise you from your keyword list of the most popular terms and synonyms used in their country to search for your products and services. This ties into the translation process, as these new keywords can be utilised in the body text, title tags, alt tags and metadata, meaning that you are more likely to rank more highly on local search engines sooner.
Hopefully these tips will help start you on your journey to translate your website and expand your target markets.