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Seven tips for successful website translation

By Tarli Cameron | August 20, 2021 | Translation Tips

Seven tips for successful website translation

Think of your website as a virtual shop window. If customers like what they see on display and feel a connection, they will probably pop in and make a purchase.

When expanding your business across different regions, the success of your global expansion is limited only by your customers’ ability to fully understand and engage with your website, which is where professional website translation comes in.

If you have never had to translate a website before, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. Don’t worry, it’s a less arduous task than you may think.


1. Research your target market before starting website translation


Before translating your website, you’ll want to do detailed research into what tone of voice is culturally relevant to your target audience. While fun and informal may resonate with one audience, it might not be appropriate for a different market and could even be offensive.

You’ll also want to consider the culture and values of your target market and do a full audit of your existing content to see if it will translate well to your new audience. Doing your research will allow you to tailor your content accordingly before giving it to a translator.


2. Conduct an audit of your current website


Is every page on your website relevant to your new market? Look through your site page-by-page and, drawing on your knowledge of your target audience, decide if the content on each page is culturally relevant.

Use a tool like Google Analytics to see which pages generate the most traffic and conversions. Then determine which pages are needed for your website to function. You may find you don’t need to translate your entire website and instead create a condensed version of your existing site, saving you time and money.


3. Keywords are key!


For each geographical region, the search terms which customers enter into search engines will be different. These search terms, also known as keywords, help customers find your website in search engines like Google or Bing.

We recommend working with an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) agency that will provide you with a list of foreign language keywords for each of your services or product offerings. This list can then be given to your chosen business translation agency to be included when they are translating your website content.


4. Who will be proofreading your website?


As we mentioned above, your website is a virtual shop window and first impressions last. Having a typo-free website improves your credibility and shows you care.

Proofreading is part and parcel of writing any content and is essential before publishing it so you’ll want to decide upfront who will be proofreading your translated website. This will help you to plan your budget and timings, speeding up the time to market of your newly translated site.


5. Provide your translator with a style guide


Every language is different but a style guide will help convey your company ethos to new markets.  By providing your translation partner with your style guide, you will help them understand the tone of the language your company wants to convey and any special terms to include. We recommend that your style guide is informative, short and concise. 


6. Consider the file format


Consider the file format you wish to send to the translator to make sure they can use it. Websites often use .html or .xml files, which are ideal for editing, but other formats may be used. Giving your translators a heads-up will save you time in the long run.


7. Forward planning


The hard work has paid off and you have launched your new foreign language website – congratulations! No website is or should be static, however, so you’ll need to have a plan for how to manage updates and new pages.

If you don’t have mother-tongue colleagues to help, your translation provider certainly can. We recommend speaking with them to set your expectations early on. This will help them to plan and ensure that they have the appropriate resources to support you.


Website translation. Made simple.


Are you looking to translate your website? Contact us to find out how we can help you ensure your brand, message and materials resonate in every market.