When designing a website, it’s easy to forget that 70% of the world’s internet users do not speak English as their native language. This is especially important for e-commerce companies to realize, as 75% of internet users report that they wouldn’t make a purchase from a website if its content was not in their native tongue.
Online shoppers look for websites in their own language. Thus, a brand’s digital marketing strategy must include translating and localizing their web presence for different markets. If you’re only offering your website in English, you’re missing out on the opportunity to reach a much wider audience.
That said, effective website translation isn’t as simple as pasting your content into an online translation service. The results these programs deliver tend to be inaccurate, and they don’t address the other essential elements of website localization: modifying the design/layout, replacing time/currency/measurement units, using culturally relevant images, and in some cases–such as translating a site to an Asian or Middle Eastern language–making sure the content is designed to be read in the proper direction.
For the best results, it’s often a wise idea to generate custom content for each market. The content that one demographic responds to won’t always be effective in another region.
True, the process may seem complicated. To be fair, it is. That’s why it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the best practices you should adhere to in order to successfully attract customers from other countries and demographics.
You can also utilize the services of a professional translation firm with experience translating and localizing website content. They will have the expertise and tools at their disposal to craft the highest-quality and most accurate version of your website for a global audience.
The following are five essential points worth keeping in mind:
1. Change Up Your SEO Approach:
A successfully localized site isn’t worth the investment if it doesn’t appear in your customer’s search engine results pages. When researching the online habits of your target customers, make sure you also research SEO best practices for that part of the world or hire an SEO marketing agency. Familiarize yourself with the region’s popular search engines, and find out which types of keywords are most likely to bring users to your site.
This is an essential step. After making the necessary changes to its SEO strategy, one company’s website saw an increase in traffic of 47% over the course of just three weeks. This was after the website had already been translated into 82 languages.
When adapting your SEO strategy, be sure to focus on targeted landing pages, modified domain names, and local keyword optimization.
2. Hire Professionals:
Localizing a website for another audience isn’t easy. You can’t reasonably expect to learn how to do so on your own. You have a business to run, and your time must be devoted to other tasks.
Instead, hire a professional translation firm that specializes in website localization. They won’t just ensure the content is translated properly. They’ll also ensure the content is organized in a way that will most effectively resonate with another audience while maintaining best SEO regional practices.
Look for a translation service that’s ISO-certified. This qualification distinguishes reputable translators from amateurs.
3. Expect to Change the Layout:
While it would be easier to maintain the same formatting and layout across all your websites, you shouldn’t anticipate being able to do so successfully. Once your content has been translated, there’s a good chance the spacing will change.
That’s just one minor difference to expect. You might also need to replace your images with substitutes that are more likely to elicit a positive reaction from a reader in another part of the world.
For some languages, you may even need to adjust your coding to facilitate the use of special characters.
4. Research Your Market:
Once you’ve selected a new market to translate your site for, do your research before launching the localized version. You want to understand the cultural values of the people you’re targeting. This will help you identify what types of changes you need to make in order to appeal to a new audience.
You also want to learn about your target market’s online habits. For example, internet users in Asia don’t always rely on the same social media platforms as Americans. WeChat is an extremely popular social media service in Asia, with 889 million active users in 2016. In the United States, however, most people have never even heard of it.
By adding the right social media share icons to your localized site, you’ll boost your odds of spreading brand awareness in that country. That’s another reason to work with professional translators who have website localization expertise. They’ll be familiar with the various online behaviors that are unique to a given market.
5. Be Aware of Legal Regulations:
There’s a good chance your website may already have some legal content, such as terms of service agreements, privacy clauses, and other documents of this nature.
Usually, the laws in one country don’t always overlap with those of another. Properly translating and modifying your legal content helps you avoid lawsuits and other potential consequences.
This element of your website is too important to try and handle on your own. Again, this is an instance in which you need to hire professionals who specialize in this type of work. Find a language service provider that has experience localizing websites with legal content. Doing so protects you and your business.
When you restrict your website to English speakers, you miss out on the opportunity to reach a much larger audience. Growing your brand to its full potential requires making sure your website reaches as many users as possible.
You can’t do this without a proper translation, nor can you do it without localizing the content for maximum effect. When a website is designed to appeal specifically to a target demographic, it’s much more successful than a generic site that uses the same content as its English counterpart. With language being the only difference, you’ll be surprised how translating your website leads to success in international markets.
Article Was written by Rachel Wheeler.