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3 Tips for Translating your Website

At London Translations, we translate websites for businesses of all sizes and in a wide number of languages. The importance of website translation for businesses cannot be understated. Even though English is the most common language on the Internet, it is only one of the many languages that are used by Internet users. Therefore businesses with websites in more than one language can gain the upper hand over competitors when it comes to engaging with and attracting new audiences.

Although the advantages of translating your website are numerous, there are certain things you ought to consider before starting the process.

1: Avoid machine translation

The content on your website is a vital representation of your company, so any inaccuracies could not only damage your brand, but may also give the impression of a bad or unprofessionally run business. If a reader looks at a website that is full of mistakes, why wouldn’t they assume you treat your business with as little care?

Even the most advanced machine translation engines are far from perfect. One of Google Translate’s own, Quoc Le, has stated that their latest AI update, the GNMT, “doesn’t have a model of how the world actually works”. Human beings, more specifically professional website translators, can produce a translation that is not only fast and accurate, but that also engages your target audience.

2: Localise your website’s content

The country in which a user resides does not determine the language they speak, or indeed the way in which they speak it. For example, the Spanish spoken in Spain is very different to the Spanish spoken in Mexico. The languages you want to translate your website’s content into differ from country to country, therefore you must also consider the specific linguistic quirks that permeate your target region.

If you decide to translate your website through a professional translation company, they should have mother tongue translators who can make sure your content speaks to local people. That way you can ensure that your website is accurately localised with your specific target audience in mind.

3: It’s not only content that needs translating

When machine translation engines translate websites from one language into another, they work by taking each individual word to make a literal translation. However, professional translators who have an in-depth knowledge of both the language and culture of the target audience will spot other potential issues.

Even the colour of your website might say one thing to some audiences, and something completely different to another. For example, white has connotations of purity and innocence in Western societies, but it is the colour associated with mourning and death in Asian culture. Red is associated with courage and passion in some cultures, but in others it’s associated with communism and death. Similarly, certain images may seem innocuous to certain audiences, but offensive or unsightly to others.

There are plenty of different variables to consider when translating websites. It’s much more than just the words on your page. Even something as simply written as the date can differ from country to country. Catching these small potential errors is vital in website translation.

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