Translate a website: 3 big challenges
Website translation plays a crucial role in global marketing campaigns of any international brands. However, translating a website is not as easy as translating a document carrying marketing content. There are (at least) 3 notable challenges any business or organization must face when translating and localizing its website.
It’s especially important to keep your website content simple when you target international audience. It’s a tendency that people will scan online text and try to find the information they need as quick as possible. Words in some certain languages are considerably much longer. This extra length can definitely results in poor legibility and also the corruption of the layout as it might cause unexpected breaks in text stream. Besides the distinct features of character in different languages, it’s also worth considering that certain acronyms do not exist in some languages and require being written out in full, which means they will take up larger space.
You also need to pay attention to the formatting in numbers, dates, postal codes or sentence structures. Make sure they are in consistent format.
Cultural adaptation needs to be considered not only in text but also in graphics and images. In general, neutral language that avoid cultural and country specific references is preferred. However, this doesn’t mean you can totally ignore cultural references because your goal is to communicate with the target market on their own terms. And similar to text, an image can mean differently in different cultures. In this case, working with a local transcreator will help you a lot in reaching your goal.
Design issues are directly related to the features of a certain language. As already mentioned, text length differences can definitely affect the layout of the whole web page. The direction of text reading should also be taken into consideration. For example, English reads from left to right so it’s reasonable to get menus arranged vertically on the left hand side of the web. However, when rendered in a right-to-left reading language, the design should be changed to well adapt.
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