So, you’ve built a website. It’s brilliant; it looks great, works perfectly and your copywriter has done a great job. The text is balanced and compelling, with each page sticking to its theme. The SEO is going well and your PPC ads are targeted, effective and pulling in lots of conversions.
Now you’ve proved the site works at home, it’s time to go international – and website translation becomes priority number one. While there are plenty of ways you can manage your international web presence, there’s one that you absolutely should not consider: copying and pasting into translation software.
How to Translate a Website the Wrong Way
Let’s say your business is moving into a Spanish-speaking market. The following is one of the worst, if not the worst thing you can do:
- Clone your existing website
- Make it accessible by a subdomain – spanish.yourwebsite.co.uk
- Populate it with text that has been directly copied and pasted from your brilliantly written copy, into a web-based translator – with the resulting text pasted back in
It seems so perfect and easy – you can just rinse and repeat for every territory, with no extra hosting costs, no new domain registrations and zero-effort translation.
But this method is utterly riddled with problems.
First, your domain is a UK domain, with very little hope of being found in Spain, and next to no chance of appearing in all 26 Spanish-speaking countries. And “Spanish” isn’t how Spanish-speakers refer to their own language.
Secondly, your site uses the same old hosting it always has, which makes it great locally, but terrible internationally.
And thirdly, your translated website copy is a mess of indecipherable nonsense. As good as they may be for single words and phrases, automatic website translators are incapable of translating websites (or any large body of text) effectively.
There’s no way of sugarcoating it: the result is pretty awful. This website won’t perform how you’d hoped it would, and anyone that does manage to find it will be completely put off by the improper translation. Just because it looks okay, doesn’t mean it’s going to work.
So ideally, how should it be done?
A Better Way to Translate a Website
First, make a solid foundation. If you plan to expand further into other territories, use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to deliver your website internationally. Ideally, you should acquire a domain in each target country – yourwebsite.fr, yourwebsite.de, yourwebsite.es – and host each one in their respective country. That gives you the best platform from which to target a new audience. Your web advertising will be cheaper, your SEO will perform better and your user base will be thankful for the speedier load times.
Then, once you’ve built a solid starting point, use a professional website translation service. Give your brief and your brand guidelines, your must-haves and must-not-haves – and let a professional, native-speaker write your copy. Copy that’s balanced and compelling, with each page sticking to its own theme.
This way you’ll be ensuring that the text makes sense, and speaks to the local audience in the right way – communicating your brand values and ideals in a localised manner.
It’s the long way around, for sure – but there’s really no substitute.
It’s because each international website needs to be run with the same level of diligence as your first website, or it will fail. The only reason your first site has succeeded is the work that was put into it – so when you’re moving into new territory, be sure you’re going in with a knowledgeable, dedicated native-speaker as your linguistic guide.
For professional website translation services, contact Kwintessential today. Our experienced and dedicated translators are ready to help. Just call (UK +44) 01460 279900 or send your message to us at [email protected].