Translating your website is a big step to help reach reaching global markets. It is a great entry point to reach a target market, without having to open a brick and mortar business. When deciding whether or not to translate your website, use the following questions as a checklist to make sure you’ve covered all of your bases. This self-assessment should help align all mitigating factors with your company goals to come up with a perfect solution!
1. How much of your site do you want to have translated?
Your website probably has many components. Thoroughly research which areas of your website need to be translated and rank each component by priority. You can use website analytics to determine high traffic sections and which regions of the world people are accessing your site from.
2. Will you translate your website using translation proxy or a more traditional approach?
There are two options when it comes to translating your website. We compare them to buying or leasing a car. LinguaLinx offers both options.
Option #1: Traditional Website Translation (Buying a Car): You have total control. As a client, you own your content, you host your website, and you control the updates. Your partner LSP can either do the translation work right in your Content Management System (CMS) or work with exports of your content. If you want to be fully involved, this is the best approach.
Option #2: Website Translation Proxy (Leasing a Car): This is a more hands-off approach. As a client, you still own your own content, but your multilingual websites are hosted by a translation proxy. Your website will be crawled regularly for updates. (We talk more about this in a previous post.) Translations are still done by humans. We recommend this is you frequently update your site.
3. Are your layout and graphics localization friendly?
First, take a look at your layout. Languages using Arabic script, the Hebrew Alphabet, or the Syriac alphabet are read right to left. Therefore, the layout should be flipped, including menu and navigation bars. (Read a previous post where we talk about best practices for Arabic website localization.)
Second, assess your graphics and images. Values and attitudes vary across nations and cultures. It is a great idea to use cultural consulting. Cultural consultants are in-country native speakers who live in your target market, so they understand the language and the cultural nuances, taboos, etc. They can tell you if images, gestures, color choices, and other components are culturally appropriate. After all, you don’t want to offend your target customers with your website! It is much easier to switch out a different image of a group of people, or to replace a graphic with a much more suitable one before any damage to your brand is done!
4. Is your website mobile friendly?
According to data from eMarketer, mobile ecommerce is on the rise in the United States. (Though it is important to point out that desktop/laptops and tablets are still very much in the lead.) Across cultures, mobile web usage continues to increase due to the growth in smartphone usage. For example, forty percent of Hispanic Millennials in the United States (ages 18-34) are mobile-only Internet users! Most importantly, Google’s latest algorithm update wants websites to be mobile friendly. For SEO and accessibility reasons, make sure you have a mobile-friendly site! Read more about Google’s update in this article from Moz.
5. Do you want localization testing?
More like, do you need it? Localization testing is always recommended. It happens before and after. Before localization occurs, LinguaLinx can assess your site to see if your website supports multilingual content, bi-directional scripts, different currencies, and other components of the user interface (UI). After content is translated and imported into the content management system (CMS), we check for functionality and in-context review to make sure everything looks good, works properly, and is culturally appropriate before the site goes live for your global customers!
Want to know more about website localization? Contact LinguaLinx to set up a call today!