The need to translate sites to expand your business overseas for the first time can be a little scary. You know what you need in order to grow, but what if the literal translation of a word on your website carries an unintended meaning of which you’re completely unaware? What if the way something is phrased on your website goes entirely against the user-connected emotion your brand carries?
Ultimately, you can’t control the fact that users’ location and mother tongue influences how they comprehend your messaging and connect with your brand. However, those factors can be surprisingly minor, especially when you take the appropriate time to plan out an easy-to-follow process for translating your sites from one language to another.
Advanced planning and proofreading before your translated website goes live might only require a slight adjustment in your tagline or product name. The following are three methods to translate website content without putting your brand at risk:
1. Replace Google Translate With High-Quality Translation Software
Google Translate and other free but lower-quality tools are the things international branding nightmares are made of. If you depend on one of these products to translate sites, then you have reason to be worried. Your best bet is to avoid them altogether and opt for smart translation software that, when combined with human professionals, can be trained to adjust to your brand’s phrasing preferences and your industry’s specific way of using vocabulary. By doing this, you create a memory bank within the software that gets larger and improves with each page that is translated. This ensures your brand messaging stays consistent and any common errors are automatically removed from the system.
2. Hire a Professional Translator to Look at Your Site
Just because professional translation software can be trained to avoid errors and stay true to your brand’s messaging doesn’t mean you can skip working with an actual translator who can help you avoid some unintentional phrases that could be harmful to your brand. Smart translation software can do an incredible job at automating non-linguistic steps in the process, but nothing replaces the human eye. Professional translators and proofreaders who have the same mother tongue and cultural background as your target audience aren’t difficult to find and hire and can be a lifesaver in these types of situations. Beyond working within your software and avoiding vocabulary and grammar quirks, they can also give you pointers on how to optimize your imagery and layouts to keep prospective buyers on your website longer.
3. Keep the Translation Work in a Centralized Location
Building from the ground up in each of your target countries might be effective when establishing a local sales force, but it is best to keep the core of your company’s marketing messaging coming from your central headquarters. Beyond having the power to train the software to be just the way you like it, having a centralized localization will give you more control over messaging, writing styles, and translation quality; less outsourcing and room for miscommunication; and streamlined efficiency from reused translations.
Brand localization through website translation makes a lot of sense for companies that want to scale to new markets and uncover vast potential for new growth. Striking the balance between efficiency and quality is not as hard as it used to be. Effective website translation removes the risk that keeping your website in its host language (even if it’s a highly recognized language such as English) might make you appear irrelevant or inaccessible to your target audiences, especially if your competitors are on top of their translation game. Remember, providing a translated website for your target customers improves the user experience, boosts brand loyalty, helps to increase your market penetration, improves your search-engine optimization results, and most importantly, generates more sales.
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