Well, folks - it's 2016. We are well into the Technological Age. If your business doesn't yet have a website, you're behind the ball. In fact, the impact of globalization is calling for businesses of all sizes to start considering global expansion. What better way to gain new clients and customers than to translate that pretty website you worked so hard to design?
Here we've compiled 6 tips for translating your website. Take that first step and give it a read!
1. Use a CMS for your site. Most companies will use a content management system, or CMS, to host their site's content. Using a CMS has many benefits, including the ability to easily import and export content for translation. In addition, some CMS platforms easily support other languages, which can help you when deciding when and how to translate. CMS examples include WordPress, Adobe AEM, Sitecore, and Drupal.
2. Ensure culturally relevant colors, pictures, symbols, etc. If you want to make certain that your translated website will jibe well with the target audience, you need to avoid potentially harmful or offensive imagery and connotations. We've previously gave you the lowdown on color connotations across the globe, but it doesn't stop there. Even relatively "innocent" pictures and images could be potentially inflammatory in some cultures. For instance, if you are translating a site for a Saudi audience, you probably shouldn't include any photos of men and women greeting or shaking hands - that's a big "no-no" in Saudi society.
Keep in mind as well that symbols and formatting are different from nation to nation. Many countries have their own currency, so you can't simply keep "$" for each translated site. Additionally, many nations differ on their method of writing the time and date. Some countries will write the date in Month/Day/Year format, while others stick to Day/Month/Year. This can make a huge difference if translated incorrectly!
If you use a well-seasoned, professional language services like Lionbridge, we'll do all the work for you. Our translators are located in the country of and are natives speakers of the target language, so they can translate with cultural nuances in mind.
3. Decide on the best method of website translation for you. You may or may not be aware that there's more than one method of website translation. To choose which method is right for you, take stock of your website - is it fairly static, with few changes? Or is it a more dynamic, ever-evolving thing? An e-commerce platform?
If your website is static and is not an e-commerce platform, proxy might be a good fit for you. Proxied sites are translated sites that are a mirror image of the source site. So, if your original website is in English, and you would like it translated to Spanish and French, the translated sites will look just like the English site - only, well, in a different language. To learn more about proxy, you can check out this blog we published a few months ago.
However, if your website is very animated and has a lot of moving parts, or is an e-commerce platform, you might want to go with file- or connector-based translation. To learn more about connectors, read here.
4. Consider your budget! No one likes to admit it, but most of us, even large corporations, operate on some sort of a budget. You probably can't spend as freely as you'd like on every product and service. What are you willing to spend on website translation? What are your "must-haves" for the translated site? Make sure you're getting the high quality your site deserves, without getting an angry call from accounting.
5. Shop language service providers. Admittedly, there are hundreds of language service providers floating in the ether. There are smaller, more local "mom and pop" translation companies, and there are larger vendors with more resources and revenue to spend on things like R&D and technology. Decide what you are looking for in a language service provider, and whichever vendor you choose, make sure they are a partner in the translation process - not just another invoice at the end of the month.
6. Make sure your site is properly maintained. So, you've translated your website, and it looks great. Awesome! But what happens when you need the site to be updated? What if there are bugs or glitches that pop up on the translated site? How will you handle this? Lionbridge hosts and maintains all proxied translated sites, which includes fixing any pesky problems that may occur with the sites.
Have a game plan for the post-translation life of your translated websites!
the bottom line
Deciding when and how to translate your website is a pretty big undertaking, no matter the size of your business. Lionbridge is the world's #1 language service provider, as measured by revenue, market share, and innovation. We've got the linguistic resources, assets, technology, and know-how to properly and affordably translate your site into hundreds of language pairs. Visit us today, and we guarantee you won't be disappointed!