9 Best Practices for Translating a Website

What are the best practices for translating a website? Here we list nine of them.

Automatically Present Visitors with Relevant Language Content  

Many of today’s websites use geographic location and language detection features that choose languages automatically for users. This minimizes the amount of work that users have to do to select the language they want.

Make It Easy to Change Your Site’s Language

Place the language options in a prominent place such as the top right and make it available on every page. This helps users to go quickly to the localized site of their preference.

Record User Language Preferences

Those who visit your site multiple times should not have to pick language every time they visit. Remembering the language preferences of your visitors will better the user experience. Be sure that you give users the option to remember their preference so that they know their language choice is being remembered and they can choose to opt out of their selected language if they wish.

Use Language Options that Are Easy to Interpret

Many users will get confused about the language they are choosing if you only use a country flag to denote it. For example, someone living in a Spanish-speaking country might not recognize the flag of Spain. So, even if you offer Spanish language content, the user may never find it because the navigation options weren’t great.

Pick the Right Website Translation Option

There are several methods available for translating a website including professional human translation, non-professional human translation, or computer translation with software or online translating tools. Each of these methods has different advantages and disadvantages as a tool for translation.

Set up Your Page Style Properly

Different languages have different guidelines when it comes to how they are aligned and what fonts they are compatible with. Make sure that each of your page’s language options are set up in a way that makes sense based on these style guidelines.

Use Slang and Colloquialisms with Care

Every language has its own set of expressions and slang terms. In many cases, these phrases do not translate smoothly to other languages. Be careful when using these phrases so that you do not confuse people from different countries that visit your website.

Format Addresses and Phone Numbers Correctly

Every language has its own method for writing mailing addresses and phone numbers. Remember to change this specific information when you translate your website so that it stays coherent when users switch the language they use on your pages.

Don’t Forget about Multimedia

Any audio tracks or videos that you have on your page must also be translated if you want your users to fully understand your site. This part of your website translation might need to be done separately depending on the amount of time and money you can devote.

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About Team Smartling

Smartling is a software company with the mission to make the world’s content multilingual.