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4 Key Challenges in Business Website Translation

February 12, 2020

Did you know that 75% of online shoppers prefer to browse websites published in their own language? In fact, 60% of those surveyed by CSA Research said they rarely or never buy from English-only sites.

As a result, a key component of a company’s ability to penetrate new markets is the language of its online content. And while website translation certainly has its challenges, it is perhaps the most critical and worthwhile strategy for increasing global revenue.

In this blog post, we’ll look at four of the most common website translation challenges we see from our clients and explain how you can overcome those hurdles with some basic planning and preparation.

1. Using Proper Terminology Consistently

Many companies have specific product and/or industry terminology, and these terms need to be translated correctly – on the first instance – so that they make sense for each target language website. We recommend creating a glossary of common terms, or a termbase, before beginning the actual website translation process. Creating a termbase has its upfront costs, but it will ultimately save time and money down the road as you continuously update your online content. Here’s how it works:

  • Extract a list of terms that are commonly used throughout your source language website.
  • Provide that list to your translation company, along with some context to help the translators.
  • The translation company will input the terms into a terminology database, where subject matter experts will add the correct translation for each term and language.
  • When the termbase is complete, your company can review the work and make any necessary changes before signing off.

Once this process is complete, translators can dig into the full website translation – but words and phrases from the termbase will become available for reference in a box on the side of their work screens. Then linguists can simply select and insert the correct translations for specified terms without spending any additional time researching those phrases. After the translation is complete, QA checkers will make sure your preferred terminology was used and, if not, they can apply corrections as necessary. Following this process ensures consistency within the project, as well as across other translated assets, which ultimately saves time and reduces your costs.

2. Adapting the Content to Each Locale

Ideally, your original content tells a clear and succinct story with minimal idioms, slang and/or local references. However, this isn’t always the case, which is why translation is just the first step in the localization process. Highly trained linguists will look for the intent of your source language and then convey that message in the right context to the target audience. (GoogleTranslate cannot do that!) Additionally, you need to consider adapting your:

  • Layout – Does the translated text fit properly on the screen?
  • Design – Are the colors and photos culturally appropriate/sensitive?
  • Local requirements – Are there references to local regulations or legal requirements?
  • Formatting – Are conversions required for local currencies, units of measure, dates, addresses or phone numbers?

3. Completing Multilingual GUI Testing Before Release

Before localized websites are released to the public, they need to be tested and reviewed. First impressions mean a lot, and if there are mistakes, you could lose the interest of potential customers. That’s why it’s always a good idea to check with your translation company to ensure that they can perform UI/GUI testing and QA on translated websites.

Ultimately, every word should make sense in context and all functional and cosmetic aspects of the site should look right and work properly. For example, it’s hard to see things like text expansion (some languages require more words) until you view the translated content in the graphical user interface. How does it look? Are any words or lines cut off? Does every button and link work properly? Overall, is the site easy to browse and intuitive to use?

4. Keeping Your Published Multilingual Website Up-to-Date

Releasing your multilingual website is a major milestone. Once it’s available to the public, it’s important to keep each language updated with your most current content. Managing this process can be tricky, especially if you update your website frequently, so here are two technology tools that can help you:

  • Translation plugins – If you manage or operate a website powered by WordPress or Drupal, consider using an automated translation plugin like Morningside Translator (for Drupal) or WordPress Multilingual. Both work to build a bridge between your website’s source language content and Morningside’s network of 8,000+ native linguists and subject matter experts, all while allowing you to monitor the status of projects, submit & approve quotes, and review & publish translated content in the plugin dashboard. Take a closer look at these two options here.
  • Translation proxy solution (TPS) – A TPS like Sitelingo is another great way to handle web updates. Sitelingo can scan your website on a regular basis (either daily, weekly or monthly) to detect new content, and then it automatically kicks off the translation process. You don’t have to search the site for what’s new, save the content in a spreadsheet, send language files back and forth, etc. Instead, a TPS provides a very efficient, low maintenance approach to updating and maintaining multilingual websites.

Conclusion

Translating your website can open up many new opportunities for your business. It’s not without challenges, but with a little planning and preparation you can overcome them. As a website translation company, we have experience localizing content in over 150 languages. If you have any more questions, please contact us below.