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The 4 Things You Need To Know Before Translating Your Website

English Content
English Content

The 4 Things You Need To Know Before Translating Your Website

by Brian
reading time 5 min

There’s a lot to consider when translating your website, but it’ll be well worth your time. We'll take you through the 4 most important points to consider and help get you on your way to a smooth, successful and painless…

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So you’ve worked hard and got your website up and running. You’ve created some great content that’s ranking well on search engines and getting a good response from potential customers. But you’re still not generating the amount of leads you’d hoped for. What could be missing? Well, if your website is only available in English, you could be missing around 60% of potential customers in non-Anglophone countries around the world!

And this doesn’t just apply to English language sites. According to the analytical report about user language preferences online by the European Commission, more than 4 in 10 (44%) Internet users in the EU thought they missed interesting information because websites were not available in a language they understood. So no matter what language your site is in, if you want to expand your reach and exposure to more potential customers, it’ll help to translate your website content.

There’s a lot to consider when translating your website, but it’ll be well worth your time. So let’s go through the important steps you need to consider when getting started:

1. Who Do You Want to Reach?

Before you decide what language you’re going to invest time translating your content into, it’s a good idea to know what language the customers you’re looking for speak.

To figure this out you’ll want to start off by conducting a market analysis. Do some research to determine which markets your business has the most potential to expand into. See where similar businesses have done well, and which markets might be lacking what you have to offer. Choose one or two languages with the highest potential to start off – this way you can focus on doing a quality translation and solidify your process before you look further afield.

2. Who Will Translate It?

Depending on your resources, time and budgetary constraints you have a few options to choose from here:

  • A Professional Agency
    If you have the budget, and are short on time, you can count on a professional agency to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
  • Freelancers
    This can be a flexible option, and ideal for companies that often work with freelancers in their day-to-day operations and have a streamlined work process in place. There are plenty of resources available for finding freelancers. Check out www.freelancer.com or www.fiverr.com
  • In-House
    If you have bilingual employees with good writing skills and the time/enthusiasm for the job, this could be your most cost-effective option. Being bilingual is not the same as being a good translator, but with the right translation tools for your website you don’t have to be a pro to produce a quality translation.

Whichever option you go with, it’ll be essential to involve a native speaker at some point in the process, even if it’s just as a final pair of eyes to have a look and make final adjustments. This is especially true for in-house work, but even a professional translator who is translating into a second language may miss some colloquialisms and conversational language that will help you really connect with your target audience.

3. What Do You Need to Communicate To Your Translators?

If you want to effectively communicate your companies’ message, the first step is to effectively communicate with your translators. Whether you use an external agency or a freelancer, you’ll need to make sure they understand the tone and style that your business wants to present.

Are you marketing to a younger audience that responds more to casual, relaxed language, or do you want more formal, restrained language that appeals to older industry professionals? You should have an agreed upon style guide for your Corporate Identity (CI) that you can share with your translators to clarify design and linguistic preferences.

Make sure they have access to the original website for visual cues, and make sure to have a discussion before the work begins to ensure everyone is on the same page.

As the translation project moves along, you’ll need effective and efficient modes of communication and review systems in place for the work that’s being done. Which brings us to our next point:

4. How Can You Best Organize Project Management?

Reviewing work, communicating with your translators, and implementing your translations onto your website will require a project management strategy. If you already have a CMS in place for creating content, you can use this as a basis for your Translation Management System (TMS).

To give you an idea of where to start, here’s how we do it at Contentfish with easily accessible online resources:

  • Create a Trello Board
    Trello is an easy-to-use online resource management tool that is ideal for translation projects. Create individual cards on the board for each translation task. Add the relevant translator to the card, which will contain an outline of what needs to be done, a link to the doc or sheet with the material that needs to be translated, and SEO keywords. You can set a deadline for the task here as well, and make notes as the task progresses.
  • Use Google Sheets for Website Text
    Google sheets is ideal for smaller chunks of text on your website. Organize it into sections corresponding to the pages on your site, with one column for the original language and another for the translated text. The same sheet can effectively be used for more than one language, which can make your life a little easier.
  • Use Google Docs for Blog Posts and Long From Content
    More in-depth content like blog posts can be easier to write and edit using google docs. You and your translator can add notes and edit the document together as you go along which can get things done quicker and make the translation process less opaque.

One final thing to keep in mind is that it’s best to avoid creating content directly into your company’s internal CMS – the risk of losing content due to any internal bugs or glitches is too high. Creating it with these online platforms and then importing to your internal CMS is a safer bet.

Conclusion

Once you’ve got a clear idea of the new target audience you’re looking to reach (and the language they prefer), you determine which kind of translator fits your company best (whether external or internal) and you solidify communication methods and project management processes to fit – you should be ready to embark on your website translation!

If you need help along the way don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to talk through our translation service options with you.

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