You’re handling marketing for a local business or maybe for your own. You thought it might be a good idea to translate your website to one of your local minority languages (maybe you read this?). Now that you’re committed to the task, you want to know what you could be doing next, so it’s time to think about website translation preparation.
You landed on the right page!
Here are the first questions to ask yourself.
Website Translation Preparation Done Right
1. Is your website ready?
Different languages have different technical needs. Your website needs to be adaptable and accommodating. If you are using a content management system which is multilanguage ready (such as WordPress or Drupal), your upgrade may not be too complicated. If your site hasn’t been updated for a while and isn’t technically ready, you may want to assess your situation with your webmaster first.
The issues you’ll need to solve can be unexpected. Does the target language read from right to left? Your site format might need adjustment. Will you be translating to a language where some speakers have very long names? You might need to update your contact form to allow for those.
You also need to think about whether your references, or even your overall marketing message, are too culturally dependent to be useful. It may be that your English-speaking customers prefer a fun, jocular tone, but your French customers expect a more professional approach. It’s important not to waste time and resources translating materials that aren’t appropriate for your target market.
2. Will you need to update it later?
Most websites don’t operate in a vacuum anymore. Even the smallest businesses have moved into social networks and content marketing to build relationships and reputation. In addition, there are special offers and other updates that mean generating new translations on a regular basis. Here it will be a matter of balancing how often you’ll need to make changes and the budget you have to work with. Translating a website is not a one time effort and requires ongoing dedicated resources if you are serious about your web presence.
3. How should the process look?
There are many ways to tackle the project of actually localizing your website. Some of the options are:
- DIY – Handling the process in-house with existing resources (who may or may not have done any of this before)
- In-house – Hiring expert localization staff to work in-house
- Marketplace – Hiring freelance engineers, translators and QA testers online whether directly or through crowdsourcing and managing the process yourself
- Outsourcing – Hiring a localization company to handle the entire process
It’s hard to say which one will suit your needs better. Just make sure you evaluate your situation thoroughly and make a plan before jumping in.
No matter what you choose, there are going to be three steps:
- Engineer & Translate & Engineer
All three steps are very important, but maybe the one to highlight is “Test.”. Someone has to review the work, because it will all look good to you if you don’t speak the language. Not sure what I mean? Let’s do a quick test.
Do you see any particular problems with the following text?
These are all “Chinese looking” garbage characters without any meaning. You don’t want complete gibberish posted on your website because you didn’t test it with an expert.
Be prepared for the consequences of translating your website. Once you’ve posted a XXXX version of your website, be ready to speak XXXX when you answer the phone 😉