The practice of customizing a website to suit different languages and regions is known as website localisation. With over 75% of internet users not being native English speakers, it’s essential for businesses to be able to communicate with them in their own language. Companies must evaluate their international marketing strategy to appeal to and successfully provide services to a worldwide audience. In this article, we’ll review the 6 most common mistakes on website localisation and how to avoid them.
Website localisation can take many forms, including translating the website into various languages and adapting content for a local market. It may seem like a simple task, but localisation is not as easy as it looks. There are many common pitfalls that people make when translating their website’s content into another language. This article will discuss the six most common localisation mistakes and suggest how to avoid them.
Being Too Literal Website Localisation Mistakes
One of the most common localisation mistakes is being too literal. The biggest problem with this mistake is that it makes the text sound unnatural and unprofessional. For example, the sentence “We are always looking for new services to offer our clients” doesn’t make much sense when translated from English to French or German because “to offer” and “services” do not mean the same things in both languages.
Localisation best practices recommend that you should avoid translating word-for-word. You must understand the meaning of each sentence and then translate it accordingly.
It becomes even more important in the case of specialised translations. It’s vital to read more about technical translations or know a bit of medical language before even starting. That’s why it’s always better to work with professional translators.
Not Considering Cultural Differences
In some cases, the language itself and literal translations can change the meaning of specific phrases and words. For example, a business that markets to Spanish-speaking customers will want to use the Spanish words for “mail” and “fax” when talking about those processes (correspondencia and descarga). If they use the English words instead, their audience might think they don’t have a fax solution or don’t know how to send mail.
Some languages prefer to use a more formal tone, while others are more casual. For example, in English, we might say, “Our address is 123 Main St., Anytown, CA, 99999.” In Spanish we would say “Nuestra dirección es 123 Main St., Anytown, CA, 99999.” This is more formal than the English version and may cause confusion among non-native speakers. Another example is the subtle yet important difference between saying “I’d like to schedule a meeting with you” and “Me gustaría confirmar una reunión con usted.”
Not Using All Available Tools Website Localisation Mistakes
The best way to avoid localisation mistakes is to use professional translation services. There are many companies offering these services on the internet, but you must be careful when choosing one. They might offer low prices, but if their translators are not qualified or their translations contain mistakes, your business could lose a lot of money. If the translation of your website is poorly translated, potential clients might not have confidence in using your services or products. You can read more about maintaining your reputation online in the complete guide to reputation management.
The best way to improve translation quality is to use different translators with different levels of experience. Some companies will assign different translators to each document based on their level of expertise and experience with the subject matter. Even though this method is significantly more expensive than other methods, it also produces better results.
However, even the best translators might need a little help to make the whole process quicker and smoother, so make sure not to be afraid of digital translating tools and helpers.
Not Considering SEO
If your website is translated into another language. You risk losing traffic from search engines that can’t find it because they only index content in English. Also, content that’s not in English takes longer to translate and rank well in search engines like Google and Bing. Therefore, the best practice for website localisation is to include your website’s target keyword(s). So, in the localised versions of your website. For example, if your website is about pool cleaning services in San Diego, you should mention “pool cleaners in San Diego”. On your Spanish version of your website as well.
Using an Automated Translator
It’s easy to get carried away with all the resources available online and trust them blindly. But you shouldn’t rely on an automated translator when localising your website. Automated translators can’t truly understand your message and produce accurate translations, leading to serious problems down the line. Also, using an automated translator means that your website will contain a lot of errors. So, mistakes that are difficult to fix later on. So if you’re not ready for paid professional translation services. It’s better to ask a friend or colleague who knows both languages to help you out rather than rely on an automated translator. You can also try asking Google Translate for suggestions and then hiring a professional translator later on. So, if it turns out Google Translate was helpful in suggesting correct translations.
Relying on Native Speakers for Everything Website Localisation Mistakes
Hiring a native speaker to translate your website’s content is not always the best decision. Regardless of whether you decide to use automated translation services. Ask a friend or colleague for help, or hire a professional translator. You should never rely on native speakers to handle important content and documents like legal documents or personal information. Always hire a professional translator when dealing with sensitive information and documents. After all, it’s not only about the language itself – translation requires knowing a lot more intricacies.
It’s important to remember that there are many possible mistakes you can make when translating and localising your website. The best way to avoid making localisation errors is to hire a professional translation service. Such providers have professional and specialised translators. So, who will manage your documents appropriately and will also be able to suggest the best way to communicate with international customers. It’s something you can’t put a price on. Doing it all wrong can only hurt your business.