Four Simple Ways to Make a Web Page Translate into Global Customers

Whom do you want to reach with your website? Easy: everyone. Even if local marketing efforts are going well, every company wants to expand into new markets and improve their global market penetration. Inevitably, the need for translation and localization come up, so consumers in other countries feel as if they’re part of the conversation, rather than outsiders.

So how do you make your web page translate to a global audience? Start with these four steps.

1. Break Text and Images

What does your call to action (CTA) look like? For many companies, it’s a combination of a great slogan and powerful image, but this can be a problem for accurate translation if the two are packaged together. Why? Because it’s tempting to translate words and phrases but leave images alone, especially if they don’t include people or words. But this is risky; even certain color combinations can hamper the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. In China, for example, the use of rainbow or multicolor spectrum imagery is rare and carries no significant meaning. Therefore, leaving such images as is limits the impact of your content because the audience won’t connect with your message. Instead, translate text and images separately for maximum impact.

2. Choose the Right Image

Once you’ve isolated images from text content, you need to select an appropriate replacement that speaks to your target audience. In many cases, your best bet is choosing an image that features people in the act of using your product or service, but doing so requires cultural sensitivity. Use visuals that allow your audience to self-identify or feature multiple ethnicities. Be aware that in some countries, men and women cannot be shown in the same ad and differing standards of modesty may apply across these cultures. The right translation software tools can help you select an image that provides unspoken alignment with your brand messaging.

3. Check Your Links

Once your text and images have been effectively translated, the next step in making your web page translate to a new audience is checking content links. Start with those that point back to your website and promotional materials. Each one should send users to a language-appropriate source; if that’s not the case, you should either remove the link or consider adding it to your website translation queue. Next, look for any external links. Although it may be tempting to keep that link to an English-language infographic or glowing news story about your company, leaving these links in place can turn off international users because they break the sense of immersion you’ve created. Bottom line? If your links don’t add value in your targeted users’ native language, you need to source new web content.

4. Follow the Pathway

You have a newly minted slogan, appropriate and powerful images, and links in your content that speak directly to your target audience. But there’s one final step in effective web page translation: following the conversion pathway. Start on the landing page of your site. Click on product links, contact links, and any reference materials a prospective customer might choose. Each item should be translated or refer to a native-language offsite source. Next, try to complete the conversion process. Click on “buy here” links and see what happens. From overview, to shopping cart, to final payment, can consumers fully convert in their native language and in a way that makes them comfortable? This extends beyond just text and images to include e-commerce tasks like payment options and shipping calculations; credit cards and delivery methods vary widely from country to country, and if consumers aren’t confident you’re a true global supplier, they’ll go elsewhere.

Want effective web page translation? Start by treating images and text separately. Take care in selecting a new images to represent your brand abroad, and then make sure every link on your site makes sense. Lastly, follow the path to conversion: customers should experience the entire process as if the website were created for them and in their native language.

Image source: BigStock

You should not use country flags to direct users to language-specific content.


About Doug Bonderud

Doug Bonderud is a freelance technology writer with a passion for telling great stories about unique brands. For the past five years, he's covered everything from cloud computing to home automation and IT security. He speaks some French, is fluent in Ancient Greek and a master of Canadian English — and yes, colour needs a 'u'.