Five Website Translation Tips

In the last year, the projects I’ve received to translate websites has doubled. An increasing number of international companies are realizing that, if they want to be considered as serious contenders in any market, they have to appeal to customers on a local level. What better or easier way to do so than by translating and localizing their websites? Here are five must-have website translation tips.

A Whole New World

Website translation might seem easy, compared to more difficult and demanding translation work, like contractual, regulatory, or technical translation texts. After just a few projects, it is easy to understand that website translation is its own new, niche field within the translation world.

Lost in Translation

Working on a new website is one of the easiest ways to get lost in translation, especially if a translator doesn’t take the time to explore the site first. Starting to translate straight away will actually make you lose time because you will be forced to go back and forth rewriting the text over and over again. So, go to the site, review it, and think about how a user would navigate it.

Should You Change the Text?

I recently translated a website for a luxury villa rental in Greece. The owner believed that Bulgarian guests would rent his villa if he translated his site into Bulgarian. One aspect he emphasized was the option of hiring a private chef during a stay at the villa. What he didn’t know was that no Bulgarian would hire a private chef, especially when the villa has a barbeque in the yard. So, we replaced the “private chef” option with “barbeque” on the front page in the Bulgarian version, and he was happy to have a website that is audience-oriented.

You can change the text, but not the style. But adhering to the style of a website can be very challenging. Usually, companies will spend lots of time, effort, and money to turn the original version of their website into a mirror version in a different language, completely trusting the translators they hire. It is in your best interest as a professional translator to take time to understand exactly what the client wants to convey, in every language, and implement their ideas in the most culturally appropriate way.