The Internet has made the world we live in smaller than ever. Due to the Internet, our businesses are no longer restricted by physical location. We can promote our products and brands everywhere and to anyone in the world, no matter their location. On their side, the customers are also eager to buy products from outside their home country. In fact, cross-border e-commerce is on the rise.
As companies now have the chance to have global representation, some of them are using multilingual websites. Although English is still the international language of e-communication, one other language covers a wider population. With 1.31 billion speakers, Chinese is by far the most spoken language across the world. Obviously, China is a huge market. That is why today more and more businesses and individuals are translating their websites from English into Chinese.
As a business owner, you might be asking yourself: But do I really need to translate a website into Chinese? The answer to that question is: Yes! Despite the difficult economic situation in the world, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s economy is thriving. It has continued to grow by near double-digit rates over the last couple of years reaching 8.44% growth in GDP in 2021. With China being the second-largest global economy in 2021 after the US and aiming to remain a leader of global growth for the next decade, it is beneficial for your e-commerce to find the right way to enter the Chinese e-commerce market.
Challenges in Chinese translation
Now that you want to translate the website to Chinese, you need to be informed about some challenges in Chinese translation. The truth is that Chinese translation and localization have their tricks, as Chinese is not the easiest language for it. Here are some of the challenges you might face during the process.
Lack of Accuracy of Automated Translation Tools
For Mandarin website translation you might consider using an automated translation tool like Google translate to save time and resources. But in the end, this will cost your business more. Automated translation tools cannot understand and translate the complexity of the Chinese language. Moreover, the resulting translation will be awkward at best. Giving Chinese market machine-translated text will give them no benefit, as they have access to translation tools of their own. All you will get are unsatisfied potential customers and a high bounce rate percentage.
Finding a Competent and Professional Chinese Localization Agency
Chinese is a complex tonal language. That is why it requires highly skilled professionals to translate web content into Chinese successfully. But the localization process is way more than simple work with dictionaries. In a culture where it is vital not to lose your face, you need to make sure your translation meets cultural nuances and values. That is why finding a trustworthy and competent Chinese localization agency is one of the main challenges many face.
Tones, Strokes and Chinese Characters
When it comes to Chinese, tones and strokes are the main confusion people face. This is because the same character has totally different meaning with a different tone. So when translating a website from English into Chinese, you need to pay close attention to tones and strokes. And of course, another factor to pay close attention to is to have the accurate use of characters.
Correctly Structuring Sentences
Though Chinese is not complex in its sentence structures, do not forget about accurately structuring sentences. And don’t underestimate the importance of correct grammar. Incorrect grammar will make your business look unprofessional and untrustworthy.
Chinese Dialects and Idioms
Even while using correct strokes, characters and grammar, you might still not be able to convey the right message. This is if you do a literal translation. With literal translation, you might end up with grammatically correct content that makes no sense to the native speakers. That is why you also have to take into account Chinese dialects. Also, make sure you understand the idioms and expressions you are translating from English into Chinese.
Another nuance is the legal side of Chinese website translation. When translating a web page into Chinese, you may be in for a few surprises regarding your marketing content. There is a list of words and phrases you cannot use. Those words and phrases refer to being the best, strongest, fastest, original, 100%, or even “real leather”. If you violate this regulation, you might end up with an up to 300,000 RMB fine or even 300 days in jail!
After learning about the complications, you might be asking yourself: how to translate a website into Chinese? Because of all the nuances, most companies decide to localize their websites with the help of professionals.
Website Localization Process
If you decide to trust the translation service providers, translating a website to Chinese will not be a complicated process. All you will have to do is prepare a draft list of content you want to translate into Chinese and contact professionals. You will have to ask yourself some key questions, like:
“What requirements do I have for the new website?”
“What payment systems are accepted in the new location?”,
“What client-specific processes are different?”,
“What are the order delivery, customer service and email processes?”
We also recommend setting your schedule. It will save you time, costs and the extra work required for website translation.
During the draft preparation, a question may arise: “Do I need to translate the website into Chinese or create new content, considering the local audience and cultural differences?” It is recommended to do both. There will be some common information that you can use across both your main website and the localized site. In addition, you can have some China-specific information on your Chinese website.
If you decide to trust a professional translation service provider, this is all you will need to do on your side. Meanwhile, the agency will handle the additional steps like proofreading and reviewing before giving you the final result.
If you need help with localizing your website, our translators can professionally translate your website and review it for you. Get in touch!