Localizing your website into different languages is a complex task – but a very rewarding one since it helps businesses and individuals connect to their target audiences in a shrinking world. Translating a website does not merely involve translating all the text on the current site but also includes some technical areas and website management, marketing research, text and image optimization. So, how to translate an entire website properly? Let’s go through these stages and explain them particularly.
Step 1: Form a team
The first answer to the question of how to translate an entire website is to form a team. Website translation has many stakeholders, which is one of the reasons why converting a website into a different language is so complex. If you want to stand out from thousands of similar websites and boost your sales, don’t cut corners while putting your team together. You may need a marketing team to implement the market and website research, generate essential information on the website to prepare for the translation step. It’s website translation so obviously that you also need professional translators who are able to work with creative and marketing content. Finally, a team of developers to install your translated website version is also required. The size of your team may vary depending on the budget and the complexity of your site, but pay attention that cutting costs may put your global image at risk just because of some minor errors.
Step 2: Check your Google Analytics and define your target language
The top 5 most popular languages on the Internet include English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, and Portuguese. However, you don’t have to translate your site into all of them if the local speakers are not in your target market. Instead, you should use website analytics tools such as Google Analytics to define where most of your traffic sources come from and combine the result with your market expansion research to come up with the most potential languages. Bear in mind that the region that accounts for most of your traffic source is not equivalent to that where most of your potential customers deprive of. The reason is that your diverse-topic articles may attract many readers across the world but they might not demand your services.
In this phase, it’s essential to notice that people living in multiple countries might share the same language. On the contrary, people living in the same countries might use different languages. For example, Portuguese are used in both Brazil and Portugal, but if we take Canada, you may not know whether your visitors are Canadian or French native speakers.
After choosing a country to localize your website, it’s time to research the available demographics, consumer data, and relevant information. A comparative market analysis will pave the way for determining whether translating the website into a specific language is effective and necessary.
Step 3: Prepare your keywords and translate
If you have a list of keywords for your home engine, you’re going to have to implement the same thing for the search engine abroad as well. You may know Google as the most popular search engine in the world, but the fact is not every country go to Google to inquire. For example, Baidu is very famous in China or Russians are fans of Yandex. Hence, you not only need to generate the terms your customers are searching for, but you’ll need to find out the search engines they’re using as well. Similar to how you optimize your content at home, your translators should make use of key search terms in all languages, on-page, and off-page. It means that they should generate a list of keywords with high search volume and naturally apply it to the translated content in regards to metadata, keywords density in your site, and external link anchors. After having all the source documents, it’s time to start translating and apply the essential keywords and specific knowledge about the target countries and audiences.
Step 4: Prepare the image
Along with localizing the content, you should also concentrate on converting the images since one normal illustration in your home country might become offensive in another region. The images should be culturally and legally acceptable in the local area where your translated site will be accessed. It’s recommended to display images that do not resemble anything with religious symbolism, animals, or hand symbol that can stir controversy. The meaning of colors should also be carefully considered since different colors may represent different meanings across countries. For example, in China, red convey the meaning of luck and fertility while African cultures believe that it symbolizes death and grief.
Step 4: Internationalize your site
Internationalize your website for other languages will streamline the website localization from the initial phase. Here are some main points to consider:
- Ensure that your developer ally Unicode (UTF-8). This is the industry standard when it comes to encoding systems. Unicode supports all types of language from English to Chinese.
- Having your programmers ready to work with your linguists to ensure that the source code and translatable strings are separated.
- Split the content from the code and storing it for upcoming projects so that you won’t have to break the string again in the future.
- Enabling codes for local standards. This includes particular forms such as addresses, date and time formats, number formats, currency formats, shipping addresses, and so on.
After getting all things ready, it’s time for your developers to upload the localized content and make essential adjustments.
Step 5: Test before launching
Here comes the last answer for the question “how to translate an entire website” Since this stage might take plenty of time, many localizers may skip it or implement it carelessly. However, without a proper testing phase, your new language website version might look quirky and unfriendly to the users. Hence, it’s essential to have comprehensive testing to make sure that your multiple language site is functioning right. Here are some parts you should spend great attention to:
- Encryption algorithms
- Hardware compatibility
- Names, time, date, weights, measurements, etc.,
- Entry fields
- Image appropriateness
- Broken strings/design
- Form functionality
- Shopping Cart
- Load time etc.
- Spelling errors, wrong use of words, punctuation errors
- Grammatical mistakes
- Presence of cultural taboos
- Inappropriate or offensive texts
- Misuse of keywords
- Readability and appeal of messages
- Untranslated strings
It seems like a complicated answer to the question of how to translate an entire website, but only with a clear process that you can go through it effectively. With a planned strategy and the right people, you’ll put it off to perfection!