Whether you plan to expand your business into new markets or already have customers outside of your region, it’s best to translate your website to your target audience’s language.
With that said, here are a few things you need to know when translating a website:
1. Translation vs. localization
These terms often get confused and are used interchangeably, however they are not the same. So, what’s the difference between them?
What is website localization?
Website localization is the process of adapting an existing website to the target market’s language and culture.
What is website translation?
Website translation is the process of adapting your website’s existing written content into the language of your target market.
What’s the difference?
Besides translating texts, website localization has to reflect the audience’s culture in its content. It does this by fine-tuning a website’s images, graphics and overall design to make the target audience feel more at home. Understanding the difference between these terms is important because it will determine your project’s size and scope.
In addition to working with translation agencies, during the website localization process, you may have to collaborate with companies that offer brand strategy services. That way, you can make sure that your brand successfully adapts to your target audiences’ culture.
2. Go for human translation
Translating a website to a high standard does come at a cost and you may be tempted to rely on machine translation tools to lower the price, however, this would be a mistake. Translation tools are far from accurate. They are often riddled with mistranslations and grammatical errors. Plus, they cannot fully understand the context, making it hard to connect with your target audience, the very reason you have decided to translate your website in the first place.
With that said, make sure to collaborate with native speakers, either through professional translation agencies or freelancers, to guarantee high quality and ensure that your website seems natural to your audiences.
3. Determine how much you will translate
Translating an entire website is not always necessary. Focusing on just a few key pages which your target audience will most likely be interested in may be enough.
For example, suppose you’re running an online clothing store, and you’d like to shift your focus to an audience that is located in a country where the climate is typically warmer than usual. In that case, there is no need to translate the pages of your website that cover winterwear. Your audience will most likely have no interest in buying winter products, so translating those pages would be a waste of money.
4. Don’t forget about SEO
When translating a website, you will also have to consider Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Here, you will have to look out for three different aspects: Duplicate content, developing a site structure strategy, and keywords. Let’s analyze each one in detail.
Duplicate content is something to be avoided, and that’s another reason you should opt for human translation. When you use automated translation tools, such as Google Translate, the text will be translated word for word, essentially meaning that the content will be the same, only in a different language.
Google’s algorithms can pick up on that and classify your website as being a duplicate. Therefore, your website could drop in the rankings, losing visibility in the search results and ultimately decreasing its traffic.
Human translation will prevent that from ever happening. That’s because the text will not be translated word-by-word. Not only that, but it will also take the context into account. Your website will have unique content that is favored by Google’s algorithms.
To optimize a translated site for SEO, you have to modify its structure and its domains to be more specific. There are two ways in which you can do so: By using a Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) or a Country-Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD).
For example, if the translated website is in a gTLD subfolder, it would look like this: “website.com/de,” “de” stands for German. With this in mind, you can set up your Google Search Console to geo-target users so that your website will automatically load in the appropriate language.
By choosing a ccTLD, your website’s domain will look like this: “website.de” That means that Google will assume that your website is relevant to the geographic area target by the ccTLD, meaning that your site will appear in the search results of that said area.
If you choose the second option, you will have to buy a separate domain for each area you are targeting, which can get quite pricey.
Using automated tools will negatively impact your keyword strategy. That happens because these tools will most likely do a word-by-word translation, which might alter the meaning of your keywords. That will, in turn, hinder your ranking in the search results.
With that said, it’s a good idea to hire an SEO expert who will work closely with your translator. This way, you will be able to make sure that the keywords will be translated in the best way and optimized to boost your ranking in search results.
5. Don’t forget about multimedia
Although we have mostly talked about translating texts, don’t forget to adapt your multimedia content, like images, videos, and infographics, to the targeted language. For example, if your website contains a video, make sure that it will is translated using a voiceover or subtitles. To ensure the best quality, collaborate with a translation service specialized in audiovisual translation.
Website translation and website localization are two different terms that are often misunderstood. Translation is just one part of the entire localization process. If you are on a tight budget, translation alone can get the job done.
However, instead of using automated translation tools, you should collaborate with agencies or freelancers. This way, you will make sure that your website is translated correctly and that it can help you to better connect with the target audience.
Also, remember to adapt your SEO strategy to the language you are targeting. Avoid duplicate content, work on its structure, and focus on keyword research.
If you’re looking for translators skilled in website translation and localization, look no further than BeTranslated. Our experienced native linguists understand the importance of translating with SEO in mind and offer a wide range of language pairs. For more information or a free, no-obligation quote, get in touch today.