Website translation – an inexpensive way to expand your market?
E-commerce, is China’s – if not the whole world’s – fastest growing sector, and it is likely to hold that position for a long time to go. Growth in the consumer market (ie B2C segment) is ferocious: the total value for 2017 was, according to some studies, up to 20% more than in the previous year. Hot international markets attract Chinese merchants. The media has made huge efforts in order to be an easy and affordable companion to export companies.
Many Chinese online stores are now considering feverishly to expand into new international markets by localising their websites. Many companies have done this years ago, but the market is huge and there’s still large room for new players. Although for some of them, they do not necessarily even know what this fine localization term means. This is actually converting the original material and website texts to the desired language, with translation following closely the new target audience habits, values and basic assumptions. Just as translations made by professional translators in general. Although the traditional translation industry has now entered into a number of new forms, but the goals remain unchanged: every business owner wants primarily new customers and additional sales, so that the conversion should be as high as possible.
How, then, this kind of website localization occurs? What is the quickest and least expensive way?
The actual translation can be done either directly in the website editor or by delivering separate files for post-layout. Here are the three most common approaches for our translation agency to produce website translations for our clients:
Translate directly from the Excel or .xml files
This is the most typical approach. The client copies the contents of its website into separate files, and send their material to be translated. Completed translations will be uploaded to the website, in which case the client receives the ordered translations in the same format back. This is the simplest way to localize the larger online stores with thousands of products. CAT tools have the translated data captured in the translation memory, wherein the updates or additions are also easy and inexpensive to be translated in the future. Our business model is automated as far as possible.
Translate in the site editor
This is also a popular way to handle localization effortlessly. The client creates the translator IDs in your site editor, which is a copy of the original site and its content. Translators will translate all the materials directly in the editor, in which case the customer receives the translations on a turnkey basis.
Copy + paste directly from the website
The simplest way to localize a small website. The customer gives us its website address, and we collect independently all the data to be translated into one package for a quote. Before the actual translation process it is still necessary to review the material though. This is done to ensure only relevant content on the site are translated into new target languages. For example, the News and Blog sections do not directly support the intended use and are not necessarily relevant for users in other languages.
The translation services company should always take the SEO aspect into account during the localization. For example, it should have an idea of the most common search terms in each of the product/service offered by its client before the actual translation process, so that they could be placed, if possible, imperceptibly to the relevant places, however, without messing up the syntax and stylistics. Google crawls the site within a certain period of publication, the search terms placed in the translation would bring organic traffic from search engines.
Double your profits by translating your online store into Chinese
Are you making preparations for the big step towards online sales abroad? Then you already are aware of the benefits of translating your website or shop. Localizing and updating a web shop is an interesting process, which should be given much consideration. In this article we list the main focus points for you below.
There’s a growing demand for consumers to shop online in their own language every year. With good website translations, the market share of your company can increase by 200%. And consumers are not the only ones who prefer a site in their own language. For search engines like Google and Bing, language is a very important parameter for ranking search results. The algorithm takes into account the fact that search results are clicked more often in their own language. Websites in the language of a country are therefore given priority by search engines and quickly come to be top of the list of search results.
A website or web shop translation is not a matter of simply converting text from one language to another. There is much more to it. On the internet you will find also a jumble of information on this subject. Below is a selection of the most important things that deserve your attention:
- The translators;
- Findability in search engines (SEO);
- Choosing a domain name;
- Conversion (encourage the reader to act);
- The design of your website;
- Technological developments within the translation industry.
1. Translation is an art
Good translations enjoyable to read increase the risk of appreciation of your company abroad. And there are experienced translators needed. Professional translation agencies should work with freelance, often specialized translators who are native speakers of the target language and preferably work in-country (in the country of the target language).
These translators take into account cultural differences and know exactly what their specialty terminology they should use in order to be understood and to satisfy your audience. Their experience helps to ensure that your translated text read nice and appear natural. That way you win your audience’s confidence abroad, which is essential for your sales.
2. Online findability abroad
Just like setting up your website in China, attracting traffic to your website deserves international attention. Without visitors, after all, no sales. A good position in search engines is important. We now know that search engines prefer websites in the language of their domain. But with only a good translation, you are not there yet.
To be well found on the Internet, search engine optimization (SEO) is needed. Keywords that do well here in the US or UK, do not always abroad. Keyword Research aimed at specific countries contributes to a favorable global position in search engines.
3. Choosing a Domain Name
An important step for translating your shop is to determine the domain name. For the visitor a local website is the most reliable. Google also committed to this. A German website (.de) scored in Google.de better than a Dutch website and is therefore easier to find your (future) German customers.
However, there are also some drawbacks to such domain names. It takes a lot of time, money and technical knowledge to manage the different domains, however, it’s cheaper and easier to choose subdirectories (like ybdtranslations.com/en).
4. The power of conversion
Being found on the Internet is one thing, but let your visitors decide to act – conversion – is of course equally important. To maximize your investment in translation, it is important that your translator take into account the purpose of the translated web texts: persuade, attract to buy, etc.
Much research has been done on conversion optimization of online shops. For example, what kind of text on buttons and images work best, the same goes for texts that are near buttons.
Native speakers with knowledge of e-commerce is the best choice for the translation of such texts. They know which words are common and what cultural differences to take into account. In this way they build the confidence of your webshop visitors so that purchases may be secured.
5. Length Differences between English and Chinese
You have well-matched the text and design of your website. After translation of your source texts, however, the layout can look completely different, this is because languages vary in length. English, for example, is a fairly efficient language. The general ratio between English and Chinese is 1:1.7. If there are parts of the text which should not be longer than the source language for the design, communicate this with the agency or translators, and ensure that they take that into account. Certainly this requires some creativity for a good balance between design and text.
6. Innovative Translation
Web shops are characterized by frequently changing content. Products and stocks change regularly. Manually exporting texts, translating and then importing them to your website is therefore impossible. In the past, after the source texts are very well translated, if there’re some changes in the source and the whole process needs to start from scratch. Fortunately, there is now advanced translation technology that facilitates this process and manually exporting superfluous text. This kind of technology is a solution for keeping up to date a web shop in multiple languages.
Advantages of a multilingual website
1. Expansion of your business:
That is, more markets, more customers, more sales. With website localization, you will allow your marketing strategy to reach international potential.
2. Greater competitiveness:
Your adapted site will be able to compete a place in the market with the local competition. Why? Well, it will speak the same “language” as the people of that area and will not be seen as “foreign”.
3. Insertion of mark:
Design, speech, image, reputation, all that makes a mark. The website will make it possible to properly incorporate your brand (what it represents, its values, its promise) in the selected market.
4. Reduction of risks:
With the automatic translations of Google Translate, there is always the possibility that an erroneous translation involves publishing offensive or misleading expressions. The translation done by a professional translation agency will avoid problems and risks.
A Fundamental Decision
To present your services in a foreign market without adopting the localization service carried out by professional companies is to leave your online reputation unprotected, without a true global strategy.
And you want to succeed, don’t you? Then you must take action. Contact your Chinese translation agency. Explain your goals and expansion plans. In most cases, agencies like ours usually have specialized translators and are ready to advise you.
Therefore, review your marketing plan and make room for the website to enter. You will not regret. Landing in other markets, but in the right way.
5 don’ts for global websites
Your company’s website is one of the most important aspects of your global brand. It’s what you sell, what you provide, and what you know. And most importantly, what you are – all pressed into a few pages. Some master it in one language, but what about two languages? Or even ten languages?
While working with companies to roll out their global website, there are a lot of localization best practices, common advice and guidance we tend to share – including what you DON’T want to do if you’re looking to launch a successful global website. So to share with you, here are five don’ts in the world of global website localization.
1. Don’t’ assume every region will follow your lead
Your organization’s global departments have their own translation needs and localization priorities – assuming they will follow up on corporate guidelines is one of the top reasons there are global website inconsistencies and inner company conflicts. Try picking up the phone and having a conversation with them about your website strategies and expectations. Better explanation will eliminate confusion and build better process regularities for building your global website.
2. Don’t ignore the needs of the in-country staff
The people who buy and use your products or services are the backbone of your global website. And who knows them better than the local market specialists within your organization? They’re the ones that possess the localization knowledge that needs to be included in your global website. Be sure to collaborate and share your global website ideas with them so they can suggest in-country customization. This personalization will make your global website even more welcoming to your end users from that region.
3. Don’t be afraid to model your global website after the best
As the saying goes, stop reinventing the wheel. Few organizations get their global websites right the first time. So rather than creating more localization work for yourself, learn from the developments of the best global companies. Try modeling your website layout after other successful global websites while focusing your content on your brand’s own uniqueness.
4. Don’t avoid collecting direct feedback through your website
Always be prepared in case something could go wrong on your global website, whether it’s a mistranslation, a user function, or a plug-in that doesn’t work correctly. The best way to ensure your website resolves any issues quickly to stay suitable to your end user’s needs is to let those end users tell you about these issues. Users are much more satisfied knowing they can contact you directly with their concerns. You’ll also save yourself from negative backlash and delayed maintenance.
5. Don’t forget to keep content current
Your website’s obsolete content is as good as yesterday’s newspaper. Old news is old news to everyone. If you don’t regularly update your website’s content, you’re boring your users and more than likely turning them away. Continue updating your organization’s information on a regular basis so you can increase your site’s traffic and draw back the loyal consumers that want to hear what you have to say.
Next time you’re localizing your global website, remember these five things you don’t want to do.
SEO Factors to consider before translating your website into Chinese
For companies in the international market, having a multilingual website is critical. But translating the content may not be enough to gain visibility in its markets. In this sense, it is important to consider the implementation of a comprehensive SEO plan, that makes the translation and localization process more efficient and streamlined. A Multilingual SEO plan is indeed a step that should precede the translation of the website, the choice of culturally appropriate images and restructuring the call to action. Here are some key factors to consider before embarking on translating your website into Chinese.
Justifying its international presence
Based on users’ online behavior, you can estimate how much attention your products or services are receiving in the target market. Does your website already attract visits from foreign markets? What are the most searched keywords abroad in its sector?
Localize by language or country?
Once you know that the international demand for your products / services justifies the localization of your website, it is time to decide if this is specific to a country or more generally of a language. Are the British users visiting the site from all over the English-speaking world, or from one country in particular? Holding an answer to this question will indicate which road to take in the process of website localization.
Local search engines and keywords
Although the market of online search in Europe and the United States is dominated by Google, this is not a global trend. In Russia it is Yanda, in China Baidu, Naver in Korea, while the Japanese rely on Yahoo! Use the right search engine and its keyword planning tool provides a clearer perspective of their international competitors and which keywords to use in that market.
Choose the most suitable structure for your domain
When designing a multilingual site, you can choose from three types of domains:
– Use at first national-level domains.
Or create as many sites as the countries where you want to expand your business and give each its international suffix (.cn, .com, .fr, .de, etc). It is the best approach, especially if you choose to localize by country, but also more expensive.
– Use of subdirectories.
This approach is recommended if you localize for language, it provides a single domain eg. www.mybusiness.com whose translations are accessible as under site categories eg. www.mybusiness.com/cn. In this case, the site’s other language versions shall have the same authority of the parent site, but will be penalized by local search engines, being based on foreign servers.
– Use of subdomains.
This option represents a happy medium if you want to localize by both language and country. Since subdomains can be put on a local server, increasing a website ranking in search engines. However, still presenting with an international suffix, they do not communicate fully their national declination, or bring with them the authority of the parent site’s domain.
The next steps of the localization process
Once these fundamental considerations have been addressed it will be time to translate and localize your website into Chinese. After that you can start the equally important job of marketing your brand abroad.
7 things to do to optimize your website for translation
1. Use a dynamic and responsive template
When you design a template for your site, keep in mind: when translating a text, the amount of text (written words) may rise by 70% and beyond. This means that a static layout that is unable to adapt to the amount of website content, can easily lead to a distorted content. So you need to keep your website responsive, fluid and dynamic, so that the contents and styles can adapt to the changing size of the web page resulting from the translation on all computers and mobile devices.
2. Use readable fonts
If you have to choose the perfect font for your web site there are many things to consider. First, the only English fonts often produce unexpected results and are incompatible with many languages of the world. Most of the languages of Asia, for example, use different systems of writing, and if the font you have chosen is only English, the browser will replace it with the default font. And this produces disastrous results. Another important thing to consider is the size of the font. Many Asian languages such as Arabic fonts often require larger standard than the English. So take into account the font size when you choose the layout for your website.
3. Use the RTL reading support
Optimize the website of your company for a two-way text can be very expensive both in terms of time and resources if you use CSS or Unicode control characters. Many website developers still use them because they are applicable universally. However, an expert developer knows that sites that use HTML is the safest and easiest to encode bi-directional text. Depending on your target customers it might be worth investing in the optimization of your website with RTL support. If so make sure you use the HTML markup if possible, and use CSS and Unicode as a last resort, when you write the code.
4. Give the right thickness to the means of communication that used the site
A picture is worth a thousand words. A video is worth ten thousand words. Since the influence of visual content increases, it becomes increasingly important that multimedia resources on your site always have the right level of cultural significance. To begin with, make sure that your site contains images or videos that represent ideas that are not acceptable in a particular culture or nationality. What is acceptable for people in the US might not like or could even be illegal in China. So it is essential to filter the offending content and keep your site in line with the cultural background of your target customers.
5. Choose culturally correct colors
Colors can have some impact on the way people think and act. For example, the dark blue color can arouse gloomy feelings while the orange is a good color, fresh and bright. However, colors can also take specific meanings for people of a particular culture or country. Black is the color of mourning in the West, while white represents mourning in the East. Choose appropriate colors that do not only look professional, but are also in line with the target market is another matter of paramount importance. We therefore advise you to choose your favorite combination of colors for your website keeping in mind these factors. You can choose your color palette for your blog or your website using Adobe Color after selecting a color base that is correct for you from a cultural point of view.
6. Give the opportunity to choose the currency
If you want to implement e-commerce activity on your site it is crucial that your clients have the opportunity to choose the currency. The idea is to choose an e-commerce platform that can support multiple currencies and countries, which is essential for services such as PayPal. Your e-commerce platform must be easy to use and must be able to support different countries and currencies without the need for optimization and experience in coding.
7. Social Media
Depending on your target clients, you need to decide which communication platforms to use. In the US, Facebook and Twitter dominate the scene, but there are other platforms commonly used such as Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram. However in other countries the situation could be completely different. For example, most of the Russian-speaking countries use the social network VK, the social dominant platform in the Russian environment. Depending on your target countries in which you intend to leverage social media you must choose which are appropriate for your followers and potential customers.