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Why It Is Important to Translate and Localize Your Web Pages

Why It Is Important to Translate and Localize Your Web Pages

Why It Is Important to Translate and Localize Your Web PagesThere are 359 million people who speak English as their first language worldwide and there are millions who speak it as a second language or have some basic knowledge. It is tempting therefore for business owners to keep their websites in English no matter where they do business. After all, with great product photographs and simple website content interested customers will get the gist of it, right?

Yes and no. Yes, they will understand what the product is and where they can buy it; but no, it will not garner you brand popularity or customer loyalty.

According to Forbes writer Micah Solomon, building a loyal customer base is the “single most important thing you can do for your business.” As he points out in his article, a business needs to know their customers and use the knowledge they gain to build a relationship.

How is this done through your website? Mainly by engaging your customers with interesting and relevant web content that will have them coming back for more.

Create posts that they will want to share, which means having quality content, rather than spam type soundbites. Make them want to read every word.

Use visuals like photographs, videos or infographics along with text. People react well to visuals. Lynell Burmark is the author of a book called “Visual Literacy, Learn to See, Learn to Learn.” She is an expert on the use of visuals. Lynell says that visuals are processed by the brain 60,000 faster than text and using color enhances retention by 75%. That makes a visual presentation a powerful marketing tool and a great way to get noticed.

Make the most of social media. Create a Facebook page for your business and use it to promote your goods or services as well as to engage with customers. If they ask questions, answer them as quickly as you can. Then you get a reputation for being receptive to customers’ needs.

Translate your web and Facebook pages. Coming back to the beginning of this article, along with content, translation is one of the most important aspects of your business; especially if you want to do well in a global market. Use a professional translation company who utilize native speakers. They not only understand how to create target language text, but they also understand how to use the language so it does not look like a translation.

Localize. Get to know the culture of your foreign customers, learn about their likes and dislikes and what they expect from you. Use Facebook or the country’s equivalent social media sites to communicate with them in their language, while respecting their culture.

Do not forget that, when writing text, the cultural relevancy is crucial. For example if you would have content related to female driving or how beautiful the color white is, if you want to do business in Saudi Arabia or China this could have disastrous results for any future business relationships. Women do not drive in Saudi and white symbolizes bereavement and bad luck for the Chinese.

Customer loyalty is built through knowledge and trust. Having your website professionally translated and localized are the first steps towards gaining a loyal customer base and properly presenting your products in a global marketplace.

Terralingua is a professional translation and localization agency, who can help your company create a plan to maximize your localized content. We have worked with some of the world’s top brands and can assist your company with effective communication in a global environment. Please visit our website for further information.

Optimizing Website Localization

Optimizing Website LocalizationSuccessful development of a brand and international market access are presently carried out through websites. Websites represent companies, their online brand image, and they also act as trading platforms. These are some of the reasons why companies need an online presence, and why translated websites are vital to access markets in foreign countries. A comprehensive website for foreign audiences is required for successful appearance in markets abroad, and for a profitable presentation of the organization, as a reliable goods and services vendor. You can also choose a translation company for localization. Some ways to best utilize website localization are discussed below.

Localization of images

Images on your website should be culturally sensitive and appropriate for the target audience. Doing this, can boost your organization’s power to connect well with visitors, and also foster healthy and long relationships with the audiences. Images hold different meanings for people in different regions. Knowing how the audience perceives an image is necessary to maximize the effect of the image and to ensure that it does not affect their sensitivity. When trying to build trust and earn loyalty, images can make a world of difference. You can consider the following when localizing your company’s site:

Details: Mistaking Mexican and Italian flags, for instance, is bad for business.
Sensitivity: People show strong inclinations for things like metaphors, symbols, or colors. So, your site should carefully use these things in different places.
Risk assessment: Try to avoid unintended consequences, which can possibly be hazardous or embarrassing for the company.

Adjust and adapt

Websites are not universal in nature. People around the world do things differently, and so your company should be able to adjust and adapt to the global market. For instance, a Japanese website generally displays a lot of text, animations, images, colors, and scrolling layouts, while this may be irritating for viewers in other countries. The design and style of a correctly localized site has to be consistent with all the local norms so that the site is usable, and looks familiar to the target audience.

Language combinations

You do not have to completely localize a website for different regions. Blurring the language lines can positively affect the website’s representation more than translating all the full content. Localization is not simply about translating content, but it involves a complex process of modifying content to make it locally relevant. Keep the following points in mind while changing the language component in your website.

Length: Lines written in one language may be bigger or smaller when translated. So, keep it simple and choose the most effective one.
Emphasis: Content in foreign language looks appealing to the target audience. So, a foreign language can be a good aspect when trying to make your webpage user-friendly.
Universal appeal: Translating few texts to an exotic language can improve the international appeal of your site.

Finally, if done in moderation, then mixing languages can greatly help your website in gaining the attention of the target audience.

Is full translation of a website required?

Any organization’s tagline or slogan is among its most valued branding assets. People tend to remember memorable phrases in company names. It is not easy to brand yourself in the minds of all customers, and this becomes especially true in the case of crossing language barriers. You can follow the points given below to keep the company’s brand identity memorable.

Identity: Being consistent helps in maintaining the organization’s image.
Nuances: Worldviews, belief systems, and culture systems shape how people think about words.
Target customers: You should know who your target audience is. A phrase that is funny in one language may be offensive in another.

Target your localization towards the visitors of the particular region. You do not need to translate everything, if you can capture the essence of your message in a well-structured line, in the target audience’s native language. A well thought localized tagline or slogan for your organization could act as an effective means of fostering relationships with future customers, in diverse markets. Hire the services of a translation company to best utilize your website to reach varied audiences. Please access our Website to learn about the localization services Terralíngua can offer.

Technical Tips for Website Localization

Technical Tips for Website LocalizationWe have always talked about the challenges that translators face in terms of language, grammar, composition, cultural sensitivities, and so on. However, have you ever considered any adjustments the technical team has to make if a website has to be translated? There are a few basic but important rules that the technical team has to follow if the website has to be localized and made available in a range of different languages. Here are some technical tips for translating websites.

Use Unicode for Encoding and Serving Your Web Pages

It goes without saying that encoding is one of the basic levels of security a web developer incorporates in his or her website. However, there are different encoding standards and formats that can be followed. But if the website has to be translated and served in a number of different languages, the best encoding format that can be used is Unicode. There are more than 110,000 characters in the Unicode format and no language has so many characters. Therefore, Unicode can be used for all languages without any encoding issues.

Using Styles as Opposed to Using Tags

If you want to localize your website, it is better to use style sheets rather than using the tag for changing the font of the content. The issue here is that not all computers will have the font set that your computer will have. So, if you use the tag, the formatting might not happen as you intended and the text will be displayed as plaintext. On the other hand, styles in style sheets do not require the font to be present in the computer of the user. In case there is any variation in the font size or formatting as well, the style sheets will automatically readjust.

XML Documents are Ideal for Localized Sites

XML or XHTML files are ideal for coding a website if it has to be translated into different languages. XML documents support a number of language fonts and are supported by a number of online translation softwares also. As a result, the time taken to convert XML files into different languages is much shorter. Also, translators can work with the actual code of the web page, which will further simplify their task.

Avoid Graphics Wherever Possible; Use Text Instead

It is not that graphics cannot be translated into different languages. It is just that the effort required to convert graphical content in one language to another is very high. There are a number of processes involved in creating animated graphical content and it is just not a question of running it through a translator. The whole process has to be repeated from the start. To avoid this, try to use text instead of graphics. With a little bit of creativity, you can create effective content even without the usage of graphics.

Navigation

Take the example of a page converted into Arabic from English. English is read from left to right while Arabic is read from right to left. As a result, if the menu bar of the English site is on the left hand side, the menu bar for the Arabic version should be on the right hand side. So, ensure that the navigation of the site is designed in such a way that it can be translated independently.

Avoid Embedded Scripts or Keep Them Invisible

Try to avoid embedded scripts like SQL queries, JavaScript, etc. in your web pages. This will allow the translator to be more flexible with translations. If you have no other choice but to use embedded scripts, try to keep them hidden as much as possible.

Three Common Website Globalization Errors

Crossroad, rights and wrongsThe internet turned our world into a very small place. Business people have made full use of this situation and are offering their products and services on a global scale. However, one of the challenges they have to face on a regular basis is the language barrier. Even though every part of the world we live in is accessible via the internet, lack of knowledge of the local languages continues to be a problem. To overcome this barrier, business people have come up with a novel idea: offering the website in regional languages.
Although English is accepted as the global language, not everyone on the globe can read, write and converse in English. This is why there are a number of companies that offer professional translation services. You can get your website translated into a number of different languages. However, there are a few common mistakes made by these professional on a regular basis. This article will highlight those errors so that when you get your website translated, you will ensure that these mistakes are not repeated.

Purpose of Translation

Before going into the mistakes that translation professionals make, it is important to understand the purpose of translation. Your website is available in English by default. If a visitor who can’t read English visits your website, he/she should be able to access the website easily, in the language they are comfortable with. The word ‘easily’ here implies that they should be able to get their native language version of site with only a couple of clicks. With that in mind, let’s look at the common website globalization errors.

Using Country Flags for Language Navigation

You would have noticed the small icon of a nation’s flag, with the language printed next to it, on the home page of a website that is available in multiple languages. If you want the site in English, you have to click on the US or UK flag. If you want it in Chinese, you have to click on the Chinese flag. The same holds true for French, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and other languages.
But did you know for a fact that English is the native language of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries? Also, Chinese language is not exactly Chinese. There are many regional dialects and variations of the Chinese language. Mandarin is the most used dialect of Chinese as it is the official language of China and is spoken in other areas like Taiwan, and Singapore. Cantonese is spoken in the Canton province of China, Hong Kong and Macao.
As there are differences in spoken Chinese, so also are there differences in written Chinese. Currently Chinese characters are divided in two forms: one is the ‘traditional’ and the other is the ‘simplified’. This split was promoted by the government in 1949 in order to increase literacy rates among the population. The new and simplified version of characters came into use in Mainland China, while the original traditional script was kept in use by the Chinese population outside mainland China (Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao). The fundamental difference between the two forms is that the traditional one uses more strokes and is based on earlier characters. The modern simplified Chinese is much simpler.

Apart from being factually inaccurate, using the flag of a single country to representa language spoken by many might be felt as inconsiderate and disrespectful. For example, with the tension between Taiwan and China, Taiwanese visitors might feel offended if to visit the website in Mandarin, they have to click on the Chinese national flag. This is one mistake you should try to avoid in your site.

Usage of Target Language Script to Indicate the Language Availability

Translated websites are available in many languages, but some of them indicate the available languages in English script. For example, the script used in Chinese language is totally different. As a result, if someone who doesn’t know the basics of English visits your site, they will look at the language choices and fail to recognize the word ‘Chinese’ in English script. That might be a potential client you just lost. It is important to make sure that all available language options in your site are written in their native scripts, so that visitors can easily recognize and access them.

Lack of Visibility of Language Navigation Option

If your website is available in multiple languages, and the navigation option is not clearly visible, there is no point in translating your site. Make sure that the language navigation option is clearly visible on the home page itself. Ideally, place it at the top right corner or the top left corner of your home page to ensure maximum visibility. This will also guarantee that the investment you made on the website translation is worth every penny.

In order to have an adequate assessment of your localization needs, please visit our website and send us a message or request a quote.

Top Tips to Break the Language Barrier

Breaking language barriersWebsite availability in multiple languages is a trend popular with most website owners, especially if their target audience is spread globally. However, language translation is something that is not easy and people can easily recognize shoddily translated work. This might even irk some people. To prevent this from happening and to ensure that you break the language barrier, here are a few tips that might come in handy.

Be Careful with Puns and Conversational Expressions

When you translate a line word to word, you might not be very effective in communicating what you intended to. Machine translations carry out word to word translations and are not effective in more than 60% of the sentences. This is where a professional translator will be helpful. The translator will read the whole sentence, the paragraph also, if needed, and translate it in such a way to preserve the true meaning. By doing this, the translator will ensure that the message that you wished to convey is displayed, with very little room for misinterpretation. This problem usually arises with the usage of metaphors, puns, and conversational expressions.

Contraction and Expansion Factors

You may notice that the number of words used in a particular sentence in one language do not remain the same when it is translated into another language. . Due to varying sentence structures and word usage, there will usually be an increase or decrease in the word count. For example, a typical translation from English to Russian will increase the word count by roughly 30%. When you design a web page or a theme, you would have chosen the styling to suit a fixed number of words. If there are more words, you cannot accommodate them. Less number of words implies empty spaces in the web page which doesn’t look good. So, make sure you take this factor into account while getting your site translated.

Cultural and Legal Limitations

Make sure that you take into account the cultural bounds and the legal limitations of the region you are targeting. This is important because you must not post content that will hurt the sentiment of the locals. Similarly, if you post something that is against law, and even if you do it inadvertently, you will be in trouble. Not to mention the hit that your company’s reputation takes. So, try to be as passive as possible and stick to hard facts without being judgmental.

Beware of Machine Translated Text

Machine translations work only on the most basic sentences. If you type in a long complicated sentence, the machine will translate each word as it is. It might result in a sentence that means something different altogether. So, try to avoid machine translations as much as possible. Even if you have to go ahead with machine translations, make sure that you get the output reviewed by someone who is familiar with the language that it is translated into. Also, try to keep the English sentences short and very simple if you are using a machine translator. This will ensure that the translated text is accurate.

Choosing Translator Services Carefully

To avoid all the aforementioned problems, you must be very careful while picking translator services. There might be a number of them on offer but only a handful offer very high quality services. If it comes to budget, try to be a little flexible as translation is a onetime investment and you do not want to compromise on the quality. You can actually do a bit of research before hiring a translation service. Website translation is being considered by almost all companies in a bid to target a global audience. So, chances are that you could get some really good recommendations.

Benefits of Having a Website in Different Languages

languagesOwing to the worldwide accessibility of the net and the web pages on it, business owners are choosing to make their websites available in a number of different languages. To do this, you need the help of a translation expert and you have to pay for the services. If you believe the localization of your website is an unnecessary investment, think again. The benefits of getting your website translated into different, leading local languages makes the investment totally worth it. Here are the top advantages of having your website translated.

Expanding Your Customer Base

English is the universal language and that the one language that you design your website in, by default. However, if you are of the understanding that English can be understood by most of the people in the world, you are wrong. English, although omnipresent, is not understood by many, some of them could be your potential customers. If you are seriously looking to expand your customer base and rope in business from countries around the world, you need to have the website in those local languages. For example, if you want to target German customers, make sure that you make your website available in German.

Engage Customers with Your Site

Imagine that your native language is English but you have learnt French or Spanish or any other foreign language. You might be able to understand it and even read and write the language fluently. But do you get the same feeling as you do when you read English? That is exactly how it feels for people from other countries when looking at your site in English. On the contrary, if it is available in native language, they feel at home when they are viewing your site. A recent survey showed that a potential consumer is more likely to go through the site if it is available in his/her native language rather than in English.

Clarity in Message

By using native languages in your website, you also avoid the confusion that is sometimes created by the usage of English. People who are not so familiar with English might misinterpret a sentence on your site and get the wrong message. This is very bad for business when you look at the bigger picture. So, it is a good idea to have your website available in local languages so that these misinterpretation issues are avoided.

Please visit our website to find out how Terralíngua can help you expand your website beyond the borders.

Search Engine Optimization Benefits of Website Translation

SEOOne of the lesser known benefits of getting your website translated into local and regional languages is that you get it optimized for the search engines. You must be well aware of the fact that a website without SEO in today’s world is literally useless. So, when you get the content on your site translated, you must ensure that all the trouble you took to optimize your site is not wasted. Also, keep in mind that your site is reaching out to a global audience, and English is slowly fading out as the most widely used language in the world.

Business or Consumer Site

When your site and the services you are offering are solely for business, having a site in English only will not help. A recent survey conducted by a multinational company showed that although English is still the most widely used language in the business community, the number is reducing steadily. People prefer the local languages like Chinese, French, Spanish, etc., even in business dealings.

Coming to the consumers, it is very well known that people of many nationalities prefer their local language. In fact, recent surveys show that 58% of China’s educated population is not well versed with English. Brazil, for instance, is on the 67th English fluency ranking position in the business environment. Also, other countries like Spain, France, Mexico, Germany, Russia, Sweden, Indonesia, etc. are not far behind.

Implications of the Usage of Local Language to SEO

When people prefer using their local language, they will obviously use the local term for whatever they are searching for. A search engine spider does not understand the term it is searching. It just scours the World Wide Web for the term you specified and latches on to it using compare. In case your site is not optimized for those local terms, you might miss out on a lot of business.

Take the example of someone searching for web design services in Brazil. You must have the term ‘Website Design’ in Brazilian Portuguese in some part of your website for your listing to be shown up on the SERP. Similarly, the same technicality holds good for other languages also. That is the reason why most websites prefer to be presentable in a number of languages.

Some Tips to Keep in Mind

If possible, conduct a SEO survey of the region to which you are catering to and use those keywords on that language in the content of your site. Also, make sure that the language is according to the SEO optimization rules. You might want to take the help of a SEO expert for this.

Website Translation Can Improve Your Profits

translation profitWebsites have become the first point of contact between companies and their customers today. While having a website only in one language, usually English, is a great way to save on costs, it works only when all your customers are fluent in the language and can understand it well. But if your business caters to people across borders or to the local population, translating your website content is a good idea. Here are some of the benefits of website translation.

Translation improves accessibility of the website

Providing your website in more than one language, including English, makes it accessible to more number of people. For example, if your business caters to people in Spanish speaking regions, translating your website from English into Spanish is a good idea. The Spanish version of your website should target the large Spanish-speaking population, who may not be fluent in English or understand the language like you do. When translating content into a local language, the culture, the preferences and the currency used should also be kept in mind. For high quality, accurate translation of the content, the best thing to do is hire a translation agency for the job.

Opportunity to explore global markets

By translating your website into multiple languages, you are making it available to more number of people across the world. Studies have found that more than 70% of the people around world prefer to browse the web in their own language. To be able to reach out to 90% of the world’s website users, you should consider translating your website into Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic and Russian, among others.

Strengthen your hold on local markets

You may have a good hold on the local markets in your region. But to improve your market share, and push it to a 100%, website localization is what you need. Offering your website in the local language gives you a better chance of penetrating deeper into the markets, as people respond better when you reach out to them in their own tongue.

Translation brings results, at minimal costs

Many business owners worry that the quality of their website’s content takes a hit when they translate it into other languages. But that need not be the case, especially when you hire a professional translation company for the job. Also, when compared to the kind of international revenue you can accrue through localization, the costs involved in translating your website will be really small.

To better understand the localization and translation services that Terralíngua can offer to your company, please visit our website.

What You Should Know About Localization of Your Website

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When you cater to a wide audience scattered in different regions of the world, having a generic website alone may not be a good idea. A generic website may be in English, but not all your customers in all regions would be comfortable with the language. So to make sure your message reaches the intended people, and creates an impact too, it is important to consider localization of website.

What is website localization?

Localization of a website refers to the process of modifying the website elements to make it usable, accessible and socially acceptable to a certain section of people. Considering that around 90% of the people in the world are not native English speakers, and are more comfortable accessing information in their own language, Software Localization and translation of the web content to meet your target audience’s needs is more than important.

Website localization and translation become all the more important if your company is looking to expand its market in different countries. This is where a reputed translation agency can help you.

The process of localization

The process of localizing your company’s websites includes analysis, translation of content, using appropriate images, adjusting the layout and navigation etc.

Content translation

This is one of the main steps involved in localization of a website. The best way to deal with this is to look for a professional translation company that offers linguistic quality assurance. Whether you translate English into Spanish or any other language, the content should be meaningful and culturally correct.

Use appropriate images

What is accepted in one culture may not be accepted in another. So, it is necessary to check the suitability of the images you have on your website, when you are localizing your site for a particular region.

Navigation and layout

The navigation and layout of the site should also be considered when you localize it. Placement of content, images and navigation options from left to right, top to bottom etc. should be adjusted as per the culture and habits of the audience you are catering to.

Symbols and colors

Currency symbols, numbers and other icons like houses, vehicles etc. should be adjusted considering the culture. For example, symbols that are accepted in the west may not be taken well in the Middle East, or the Far East. The colors you use on your webpages should also be adjusted. While the colors you choose may or may not make a huge difference, choosing the ideal colors, depending on how they are perceived in the region, can make your message clearer.

Once the site is ready, you also need to test it for usability. The best way to go about it is to hire a professional company that offers comprehensive website localization services. Please visit our website if you would like to know more about the services that Terralíngua can offer to cover your localization and translation needs.