9 Essential Aspects Of How To Translate Websites
When aiming to expand your global audience reach, website localization becomes a vital stride. This is particularly significant because only a quarter of internet users have English as their primary language, and as many as 65% favor content in their native language, even if it is of subpar quality.
This post will help you successfully adapt your website for international markets with numerous essential factors of how to translate websites that must be taken into account.
1. Content Creation
When it comes to website localization, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. It’s essential to carefully tailor your content localization to effectively convey your brand’s values.
Relationship-building content: Relationship-building content encompasses editorial pieces, blog posts, and marketing emails. In this type of content, maintaining consistency in storytelling and tone of voice across all materials is crucial. Additionally, you should adjust your marketing messages, and even your brand identity, to align with the unique cultural expectations of your target audience.
For instance, Intel adapted its slogan from “Intel: Sponsors of Tomorrow” to “Intel: Apaixonados Pelo Futuro” (“Intel: In love with the future”) for the Brazilian market. This change was made because research revealed that the Portuguese translation of “sponsor of tomorrow” implied that the Silicon Valley tech company might not immediately fulfill its promise.
Transactional content: Transactional content includes checkout pages, product categories, individual products, and even paid search ads. This content requires a different approach. It’s essential to localize product descriptions and category pages by using terms specific to each market.
The primary goal of localized transactional content is to simplify the purchasing process for customers, reduce returns, and optimize it for local search engines. This ensures that the content can be easily found by customers searching for relevant information in their native language.
#2. International SEO
To boost website traffic and enhance sales within your target market, it’s essential to execute a robust multilingual SEO strategy.
Much like the process of localizing your website, your international search strategy should account for both linguistic and technical requirements. These are necessary to ensure that the right pages of your website appear in search engine results to the appropriate users within their respective markets. Additionally, investing in link-building is crucial as part of your SEO strategy, utilizing free link-building tools and techniques.
Domain Considerations The first step involves ensuring that your domain name is well-suited for the market, especially if your brand name is a part of the domain.
For instance, when P&G introduced Vicks in Germany, they discovered that Germans pronounced the “v” sound as an “f,” turning “Vicks” into a German slang term for sexual intercourse. Clearly, this was not the ideal way to establish a presence in a new market. Consequently, Vicks rebranded itself as the more family-friendly “Wick” in Germany.
Furthermore, the structure of your domain and URL plays a pivotal role. If you’re adopting a market-specific approach, having a Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) can be advantageous for your business. Domains like yourbrand.de and yourbrand.fr signal to search engines that these websites should be presented to users in Germany and France, respectively.
It’s important to note that ccTLDs function as distinct websites. Consequently, they need to be established and maintained independently of your domestic website, demanding both time and resources. To ensure effective optimization, ccTLDs also require additional resources for PR, link building, and content marketing tailored to each specific market.
Subdirectories, on the other hand, reside within your existing domain and allow you to target multiple languages and markets with a single website. For instance, if you’re catering to Latin American users in the US, users would be directed to the URL yourbrand.com/es-us/ instead of yourbrand.com/en-us/.
Subdomains, or third-level domains like de.yourbrand.com, provide a platform for hosting localized content on servers within the target market, situated on a separate subdomain. This approach significantly reduces page load times, benefiting both SEO and user experience.
Selecting the most suitable domain and URL structure for your business is critical, taking into account the resources and time you can allocate to managing content on your localized site in the long run.
Content In terms of content, such as product descriptions and blog posts, it’s essential to employ localized keywords and deliver content that aligns with the preferences and behaviors of your specific audience. Machine translation tools like Google Translate are not suitable for this task since they cannot account for the cultural nuances of your target market or provide the most relevant keywords in the target language. Collaborating with a reputable language service provider equipped with native linguists will enable you to effortlessly offer localized websites to users in your target market, all while implementing SEO techniques, including SaaS link building and content creation.
#3. Cultural Sensitivity
Cultural sensitivity entails being aware of cultural elements that can impact your business operations, brand promotion to customers, and even interpersonal relationships.
This undertaking goes beyond merely addressing slang terms or idiomatic expressions. To craft culturally sensitive content, various adjustments may be necessary, ranging from a comprehensive shift in your marketing strategy to tailoring your content to meet the cultural expectations of the target market.
For instance, in celebration of the Chinese New Year, the US sportswear company Nike developed an entire collection specifically for its Chinese consumers. Additionally, the company launched a family-oriented marketing campaign on its website, presenting a more wholesome perspective of the Chinese holiday.
Accurately achieving cultural sensitivity is essential for establishing a strong foundation that fosters loyalty among local customers. Moreover, it serves as a preventive measure against unexpected marketing campaign blunders and negative customer reactions that no business anticipates.
#4. Pricing, Currency & Payment Methods
Whether your business is a high-end brand or a boutique establishment, it’s essential to present prices in local currencies and offer region-specific payment options to thrive on a global scale.
For a seamless customer experience, you should clearly communicate the total landed costs to cross-border shoppers, encompassing shipping fees, duties, and taxes relevant to their market. Neglecting to convey these additional expenses can lead to a frustrating customer journey, potentially resulting in a high rate of product returns and adversely affecting your financial performance.
For instance, if a pair of shoes is priced at €50, and you wish to include tax (€5) and duties (€3), it’s important to display the total cost of €58 for the user’s convenience. In some regions, it may be legally mandated to disclose supplementary fees alongside the product price. Therefore, conducting thorough market research to understand local regulations and best practices is vital.
#5. Times & Dates
To prevent potential misunderstandings or confusion, it is highly recommended that you present dates and times in the preferred local formats. An evident illustration of this variation lies in the contrasting date formats used in the U.S. and the UK.
For instance, if you’re delivering an order to one of your eCommerce customers with the date 11/8/21, a UK user would naturally expect the delivery on the 11th of August 2021, whereas a U.S. user would anticipate it on the 8th of November 2021. Meanwhile, in Japan, dates are typically written in the year/month/day format. So, if we were to use the aforementioned delivery date, Japanese consumers would anticipate their delivery on the 21st of August 2011.
Therefore, it’s imperative to ensure that you localize dates on your website for each market to eliminate any potential confusion.
#6. Numeric Formats, Weights & Measurements
Numeric formats are presented in diverse ways, depending on the country, region, or cultural background. Although many nations employ the Hindu-Arabic numeral system to represent numbers, numerous other cultures have distinct systems with unique characters.
For instance, the United States and the United Kingdom both use commas to denote thousands (1,000). In contrast, Germany and France use a period (1.000) for the same purpose. Similarly, while France and Germany use a comma to separate decimals (1,000.50 vs. 1,000,50), the United States and the United Kingdom utilize a period.
Therefore, make certain to employ the appropriate weight and measurement systems tailored to each specific market. If necessary, adapt to local formats and pay attention to regional abbreviations, such as Russia’s use of Cyrillic letters кг for kg. These seemingly minor details collectively contribute to enhancing the user experience.
#7. Telephone Formats & Address
You may have observed that different countries and languages employ distinct methods for presenting addresses and phone numbers, often evident on the customer service page or footer of a commercial website targeting diverse locations. Beyond address format variations, it’s crucial to acknowledge that phone systems also exhibit differences across nations, thereby affecting the structure of displayed phone numbers on commercial websites in various regions.
Consider North America, for instance. While the USA, Canada, and Mexico all share country code 1 for phone numbers, the actual format of phone numbers varies depending on the specific location.
Address localization encounters similar challenges. While terminology differences, such as “Zip Code” vs. “Postcode,” are evident, the fundamental divergence lies in the substantial variations in format and structure among physical addresses in different countries.
#8. Abbreviations & Acronyms
When disseminating content to global audiences, it is often advisable to minimize the use of abbreviations and acronyms, as they may not be universally understood. Nevertheless, in certain industries, employing these shortcuts is unavoidable.
Here are a couple of instances:
- Electronic Clinical Outcome Assessments (eCOA) employ smartphones, tablets, and computers to enable patients, clinicians, and their caregivers to directly report results.
- Certain companies offer Interactive Response Technology (IRT) for Clinical Trials (CT).
#9. Localize Your Website
Ensuring your customers receive the support they need, especially in the context of online purchases, is paramount. When this assistance is provided in their native language, it significantly enhances the likelihood of meeting their expectations promptly and building trust in your brand.
According to research by Common Sense Advisory, a substantial 74% of customers are more inclined to make a purchase from a company offering customer service support in their language. Furthermore, a survey conducted by ICMI revealed that over 70% of customer service managers concurred that providing assistance in the customer’s mother tongue resulted in increased customer satisfaction. Notably, 58.4% claimed it bolstered brand loyalty.
A vital component of your localization strategy should encompass adapting your customer support approach, including multilingual phone support, email assistance, and live chat.
For instance, the prominent online retailer ASOS extends customer service to its international clientele in Spanish, German, Italian, and French, complete with local telephone numbers, email support, and live chat options. This comprehensive multilingual customer support approach reassures European customers that they can readily communicate with the UK-based company in their preferred language.
Additionally, diligent attention should be devoted to post-purchase concerns, such as returns and refunds. Cross-border customers understand that these processes may take slightly longer compared to local competitors, but minimizing friction in these areas remains crucial for elevating overall customer satisfaction.
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- 9 Key Factors To Localize Your Website For International Markets
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How to translate websites: Choose an experienced translation provider
Successfully engaging customers in international markets requires not only time and financial investment but also a deep cultural comprehension of each unique market. Simplifying and enhancing this endeavor can be achieved by collaborating with a reputable website localization service provider equipped with specialized platforms, tools, and expert website localization professionals.
GTE Localize is a trusted translation agency that considers all of the aforementioned elements to enhance our clients’ prospects for success in global expansion. Additionally, when choosing to collaborate with us, our clients receive the following exceptional benefits:
- Guaranteed Quality: As a proud member of the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), we are dedicated to providing top-tier website localization services to businesses of all sizes. To reinforce our commitment, we offer our clients a lifetime warranty on our website translation services.
- Cost-Effective Website Translation Solutions: In addition to delivering high-quality website translation services, we continually incorporate the latest technologies to streamline our workflow and reduce costs for our business clients.
Our team is ready to assist you in tailoring your website for specific markets. Reach out to our experts today for a complimentary consultation or a no-obligation 300-word test!