English to Vietnamese Website Translation Traps & Mistakes
Translating and adapting your website from English to Vietnamese is an effective approach to break the linguistic and cultural barriers in the Vietnamese market. Vietnamese people have quite low English proficiency and they strongly attach to their mother tongue when it comes to making a purchase. For these reasons, to succeed in this market, don’t overlook the power of English to Vietnamese website translation.
Localizing your website into the Vietnamese language can be very tricky. You will encounter many traps relating to both the Vietnamese language and the locale specifics. Let’s check out the 6 common English to Vietnamese website translation traps you should be careful with and tips to avoid them.
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1. Complicated and Inconsistent Source Content
You may think using fancy words and phrases makes your website more professional. When it comes to website translation, however, keeping things simple is the best practice. The simpler your English source content is, the easier it will be to adapt to other languages (Vietnamese included).
Before sending your website content for translation, you should optimize it to save translation time and costs as well as ensuring the consistency of the translated content.
What should you do to optimize your content?
- Cut down on wordy sentences and long words.
- Remove unnecessary factors such as idioms, jargon, metaphors, or expressions that are only familiar to English speaking audiences.
- Avoid using too many texts in graphics.
2. Unsupported Fonts
A font that looks great in English may not work the same for the Vietnamese language. Out of 29 letters in the Vietnamese alphabet, there are seven letters using four diacritics ă/â/ê/ô, ơ/ư, đ and an additional five diacritics used to designate tone (e.g à, á, ả, ã, and ạ). These diacritics are only supported by a limited number of fonts.
You should double-check with your linguists or DTPers to see if your original font supports the Vietnamese language. If it doesn’t, you can ask DTPers for recommendations for new font options that are similar to your original.
3. No Space for Text Expansion
There is no such thing as one-to-one correspondence when it comes to translating languages. Compared to the original text, the length of translated words can shrink or expand significantly, resulting in either a lack or abundance of white space. In the case of English to Vietnamese website translation, translated Vietnamese texts are likely to be 30-37% longer than their original in English.
If your website design is built to fit the English language only (without any space for additional texts), it will be a huge problem when you translate your website into Vietnamese.
Ideally, when building your website, you should be aware of the possibilities of word expansion when you translate your website content in different languages later on and leave extra blank space for the text to grow.
The Final Result from an English to Vietnamese Website Translation Project by GTE Localize’s teams
In case your website design is fixed and there is not much space left for text to expand, you could ask translators beforehand to use shorter words, sentences, and expressions to reduce the text length. However, this method might affect the content meanings and flows. Another possible solution is to use Desktop Publishing (DTP) services. To ensure that the Vietnamese translated texts fit the website design, desktop publishers will change the size of the words or fonts.
4. Lack Vietnamese Translation Glossary
An English to Vietnamese website translation glossary is a list of English terms that appear in your source website content and their definitions to help translators understand how the terms should be used. Sometimes, the recommended translations of these terms in Vietnamese are included. The glossary brings numerous benefits, including:
- Maintain consistency in the Vietnamese translations
- Shorten the translation time
- Reduce the translation costs
- Harmonize your brand’s identity
Thus, if you do not provide your Vietnamese linguists with a well-prepared glossary, there is a high chance that some terms will be used incorrectly or their translations are not to your likings.
Pay attention to creating a well-written glossary for your English to Vietnamese website translation project. After having the glossary, you can send it to your linguists for review and/or to get some feedback from them to improve the quality of the glossary.
Read more: How to create a translation glossary?
5. Ignorance of the Internet Speed Differences
The Internet speed varies greatly from country to country. Having your website load quickly in the United States, one of the countries with the fastest Internet speeds (ranked 6), does not guarantee that it will load quickly in Vietnam, which has a slower Internet speed (ranked 43).
When localizing your website for the Vietnamese market, you may need to adjust, optimize, or remove elements that slow down the loading process (such as heavy graphics) to give Vietnamese users a better experience.
6. Only Use Machine Translation
The use of automatic translation tools (whether it’s paid or free) such as Google Translate, Bing Translate, DeepL, etc. has grown rapidly in recent years as they provide quick and understandable translations at (almost) no cost.
Although the quality of neural machine translation for English to Vietnamese language pair is improving by the day, it should only be used for personal or internal purposes, not for important content for websites. This is due to the fact that machine translation cannot comprehend the context or use terminologies consistently throughout the translations.
If you want to ensure the accuracy of your English to Vietnamese website translation content as well as your brand voices and professionalism, avoid using machine translation. If you are on a tight budget and cannot afford human translators, an alternative is to use Machine Translation Post-editing (MTPE), which produces quite good translation at a much lower cost.
Otherwise, the best solution is to outsource your English to Vietnamese website translation projects to native human linguists from professional translation agencies.
As a Vietnamese based translation agency, GTE Localize has the best resources to provide you with high-quality English to Vietnamese website translation services at a budget-saving rate. Our linguists have a minimum of 5 years of experience translating websites from English into Vietnamese. Thus, they acknowledge all the common traps and know exactly what the best approach is to avoid them.
Drop us a line and let our website translation experts give you a free 1:1 consultancy.