Website Translation Will Improve Your International Credibility
From their very inception, startups have to think about their approach to global markets and expanding their products to reach cultures and languages they may be unfamiliar with. An essential part of ensuring that your startup’s global strategy succeeds is getting your website translation right.
Translation and localization are the first step into reaching your global audience—by communicating with them in a language they understand. So, here are 5 tips to help you out translating your website:
1. Prioritize SEO in Your Website Translation
Once you decide to translate your website, the first thing you need to think about is how you are going to get your content in front of your global market. Most search engines favor content from local sites in their SERPs, and you will notice searching for the same term in different countries (even those that speak the same language) will bring up different results.
Consider the following SEO elements when translating your website:
- URL: Getting a country-specific domain, e.g., yourwebsite.ca, yourwebsite.co.uk, yourwebite.fr.
- Language Annotations: Add a HTML hreflang attribute to your site so search engine crawlers know that this version of your site is meant for audiences who speak the language you have translated to.
- Keywords: These are the cornerstone of any SEO strategy. Make sure you do a thorough keyword research for the market you are targeting and don’t just translate the keywords you already have, as these might not be the search terms your target audience are using.
2. Hire a Professional Translation Agency
Translation and localization of a website is not an easy task, and as a startup founder you are likely already taking on multiple roles in your company. Translation is not something you can reasonably be expected to learn overnight so it can often be highly beneficial to hire a professional translation agency to take care of your website translation project. You can then focus your time on what you do best—running your startup.
Learn More: 40 Questions to Expect from a Translation Agency
3. Research the Market(s) You Are Moving Into
When you start your website translation process, it’s vital to make time to thoroughly research the market you are moving into. It’s not enough to simply translate word-for-word your content as not only do the audience you are trying to reach have a different language, they have a different culture as well.
Translating text word for word, without understanding the people you are translating for and the market you are trying to break into, can often cause some embarrassing situations. For example, do you remember the time KFC translated “Finger-lickin’-good” into Chinese, which was interpreted as “We’ll eat your fingers off” in China?
By researching and localizing your content, you can ensure that your key messages are translated and your company style remains, while also taking into account cultural differences. This then ensures you will communicate with your global audience in a way that resonates with them.
4. Be Aware of Legal Barriers
Most likely, the laws in the countries you are expanding into are not the same as the one you currently operate in, so sections of this type of content will need to be changed to accommodate these difference.
Laws on privacy change regularly as well, so keeping up-to-date with new laws is vital to guaranteeing your multilingual site stays compliant. For example, if you are expanding into Europe, you would need to be aware the GDPR regulations that passed through last year affect all websites with European visitors.
5. Consider Character/Word Count for Your Translations
Another important aspect to take into account in your website translation project is that lengths of words and the number of words needed to express an idea can change dramatically from language to language. English to German translations, for example, can expand the character count by up to 40 percent.
These kinds of expansions or reductions in the length of content can affect your website’s layout and design. If you end up with more text, you will need to think about things like adding in more subheading and breaking up your larger chunks of text so they are easier for your user. You may also need to add in more images or diagrams so your site does not appear as a giant block of text, as this often results in high bounce rates.