Business owners often underestimate the difficulties associated with the translation and localization of their websites for overseas markets. Even if the design of the English version turned out to be attractive and convenient, then simply translating the website content into Chinese, Italian, Spanish, or another language, unfortunately, is not enough. The process of localizing and adapting a website for a foreign market is much more complicated.
Your website is the face of your company. If it’s not attractive for the customer, most probably they won’t visit again.
We have already talked about how website translation can help your business to sell more. In this article, we will discuss the common website translation mistakes that you need to fix today. Some of them are the result of bad business decisions, while others are just innocent mistakes. However, they all diminish your company’s chances of success.
Literal or … let us say – machine translation.
Machine translation, such as content translated using Google Translate is rarely 100% correct. That means it cannot be suitable for the website and its SEO. Grammatical and spelling mistakes are unacceptable in websites, as unprofessional content will scare the potential customer away.
However, it’s not only the machine translation part that gets in the way of localization. Even if the grammar is good in the content, it is still not usable if the translator has not considered the cultural differences of the target market. For example, in Germany, addressing a client with “you” or by their name will seem somewhat weird, while informal pronouns are appropriate in English-speaking countries.
The translation changed the design of your website.
Ideally, website localization should begin during the web design process. Why so? Because during the translation and localization process, the number of words and symbols increases or decreases. That means that you will need to take into account the visual difference of symbols and words of different languages. When an idea is expressed in another language, the size of some words and phrases changes on the screen.
Famous companies usually don’t make such mistakes. Take Apple.com, for example.
All language versions are in the same style, but at the same time taking into account the characteristics of the market and local language. They do not have identical content in each version, but it is localized without losing the idea, and the design did not change at all. It is a huge job – and Apple is doing it perfectly.
Having completely identical content
Many entrepreneurs think that the translated version of their website is just a translation. Nevertheless, when the “translated version” doesn’t generate any leads, a logical question comes to mind, was such a translation, or is the expenses for it a necessity at all? Hardly so.
Indeed, in the process of the translation, it turns out that:
- The contact page needs to be completely redesigned, as the local phone numbers will not work in other countries.
- Local discounts must either be removed or replaced by similar ones in other markets with their own currencies and preferences.
- The range of goods or services that entrepreneurs bring to international markets often differs from what they offer locally. Therefore, the product pages need to change.
- Moreover, if you go deeper, it often turns out that the advice in your articles is not relevant for other markets, too.
For example, you have an article on “How to buy and sell an apartment in Romania: a step-by-step guide”. It may be useless for a non-resident of Romania. If you want to have the same article for the Spanish audience, the text itself needs complete editing or rewriting edited.
Try to focus on the specific content that is key for your target market. Remember that there are issues common in your local market, but they do not work overseas.
Not considering the regulatory requirements!
A translation specialist should not forget that website localization includes not only marketing aspects but also legal ones. For example, if you are localizing your website content for British English, you need to consider that the UK has the so-called Cookie Law, which requires websites to get consent from users to store browsing data in local files. In Germany, it is stipulated by law what information should include about the product and its manufacturer in an online shop.
These examples clearly demonstrate that you need to familiarize yourself with the relevant legislation of the target market before starting to localize your website. Otherwise, you may not only lose your potential customer but also entail sanctions from foreign government agencies.
It is critical to choose a trusted partner who will apply best practices during the translation process of the website. The best translation agencies reduce the need for your involvement and provide international quality translation of your website.
As you already understood, translating and localizing a website for the foreign market is a difficult and responsible task. That is why Verbika involves only professional translators who are either native speakers or have excellent language skills.