Want to translate your website? There’s more to it than meets the eye.
Translating the text word-for-word might seem simple. But it’s often more challenging than it looks…and it’s often not enough. To truly connect with your customers, your site must take into account their culture, beliefs, aesthetics and values.
Website localization is the process of adapting your site to connect with customers in new languages and cultures. Translation is part of that. You may also need to alter the design, change the imagery or adjust the content to better resonate with your target audience. Oh, and don’t forget to make sure your site works on the devices your audience uses to get on the web and make sure they can find it on the local search engines!
There’s a lot to think about! You may have encountered obstacles along the way, or you may not even know where to start. No matter where you are on this journey, these resources will help you better understand the issues involved.
Getting Started: How to Get Website Translation Right the First Time
Ready to get started? Before you begin, it’s helpful to have an overview of what it takes to be successful. These articles will help you better understand the website localization process, including common obstacles and potential pitfalls.
- How to Translate Your Website- K International– Not sure if you should translate your site? Wondering where to find a translator? We’ve got you covered!
- A Practical Guide to Localization, by Bert Esselink [BOOK]- Something for everyone, from project managers overseeing translation projects to translators looking for technical help.
- Mashable: 5 Ways to Win at Website Localization- Should you translate your entire site or just parts? What details are needed to accommodate your target audience? This article presents 5 basic strategies to help you answer these questions and more.
- Website Localization Cheat Sheet [INFOGRAPHIC]– Are you in the process of building or rebuilding a website you know you will want to localize in the future? This cheat sheet highlights steps you can take now to make future translation easier, including technical and display capabilities.
- Don’t Get Lost in Translation: How to Conduct Website Localization – An excellent overview on the localization process, including how to find translators, how to prepare your IT and design teams, accepting payments and more.
- Website Localization: 7 Handy Tips For The Enterprise Website– An overview of the localization process with a focus on the enterprise.
- Best Practices For Multilingual Websites: A handy list of best practices to consider when preparing to work with a translation agency to have your website translated, including basic information on choosing a language, site architecture and international SEO.
- Website Localization for Beginners [E-Course, $97]– This highly-rated Udemy course goes over the website localization process in detail. Although it’s aimed at translators, it’s also listed as appropriate for anyone with an interest in website localization.
- Multilingual’s Localization Core Focus Guide [PDF]– Multilingual Magazine’s guide to localization focuses on medium-to-large organisations.
- The Multilingual Web [Infographic]: Some basic, helpful facts about online languages and the top multilingual websites.
- A List Apart: Translation is UX: Aimed at web designers, this article is full of tips for successful localization and examples of successfully localized sites. Well worth the time.
Multilingual UX and Design: How to Welcome Users From Everywhere
How well does your site design translate? Aesthetic preferences are not universal, and there are countless tiny details that can wreck a foreign user’s experience if not attended to. These articles will give you a basic understanding of how to ensure a great user experience for all customers, both near and far.
- Unique But Universal: Localizing User Interfaces: An excellent primer on creating a user experience that works for everyone, from multilingual UX expert Alberto Ferreira.
- Global by Design: Launching a new site or revamping an old site? This article features tips on how to design a site that’s easily localized, maintaining a consistent feel while still allowing for local variations in text, imagery and content.
- Website Localization: 3 Basic Principles: How to design a site that’s ready for “users from any language, any culture, anywhere.”
- 13 Tips for Making Responsive Web Design Multi-lingual: Tips from BBC developers on building responsive websites for different linguistic markets.
- The Art of the Global Gateway: Strategies for Successful Multilingual Navigation by John Yunker [Book]: Ready to put out the welcome mat to visitors from other countries? This book goes into more detail about successful strategies and includes case studies from brands like IKEA, 3M, Google and Facebook.
Multilingual Content: Don’t Get Lost in Translation
You know that saying “Content is king?” It’s true in all languages, but what’s appealing in one language may not resonate in another. These resources will help you craft content with global appeal and use it to drive traffic, advocacy and sales.
- K International’s Digital Content Guide to International Business Expansion [E-Book]- Our digital content guide to international business expansion gives you the tools to ensure your content appeals to a global audience.
- 5 Ways to Give Your Digital Content International Appeal: 5 important things to consider when you’re writing for an international audience.
- Developing a Multilingual Content Marketing Strategy: 4 steps to creating a content marketing strategy that’s easy to localize.
- 10 Questions To Ask Before You Commit To Multilingual Social Media: If you localize your site, should you also localize your social media outreach? These 10 questions will help you decide.
Multilingual SEO: Can Your Customers Find You?
Launching a website without considering SEO is like throwing a party but forgetting to send out invitations. If search engines can’t find it, it might as well not exist.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to simply SEO optimise your site in English and then translate the content. These articles will show you how to optimise your site in your target languages as part of the localization process.
- The Need for Multilingual SEO [SlideShare]- This Slideshare deck from our fearless leader Richard Brooks offers some compelling statistics on the present (and future) importance of emerging economies and tips on how to get to your sites to rank in other languages.
- The Ultimate Guide to Multilingual and Multiregional SEO– SearchEngineLand’s in-depth guide to multilingual SEO. This is geared for people with existing SEO knowledge.
- 5 Multilingual SEO Tips & Best Practices- Miranda Miller of Search Engine Watch offers 5 helpful but easily digestible tips that almost anyone can take advantage of.
- Top SEO Tips on Multilingual Keywords– An easy-to-understand, actionable post that describes how to find the multilingual keywords your audience is searching for.
- The Right Way to Have an SEO Friendly Multilingual Site– A detailed, somewhat technical guide to on-page multilingual SEO optimisation.
- Adidas, Nike & Auditing hreflangs For Explosive SEO Results– Even big brands like Nike and Adidas have multilingual SEO fails. Why not learn from their mistakes?
- Driving International Rank with SEO– An up-to-date collection of tips for international SEO, including statistics from real sites and the effect of Google’s recent “mobilegeddon” update.
- K International- Multilingual SEO – K International’s guide to multilingual SEO, including tips on-site architecture, finding keywords, blogging and social media.
- K International- Multilingual Search in 2014– K International’s guide to multilingual search from 2014. Although it’s from two years ago much of the information still holds true today.
Helpful WordPress Translation Tips and Tricks
WordPress is one of the most popular and easy-to-use content management systems. Want to take your WordPress site global? These resources are for you.
- WPBeginner.com: How to Easily Create a Multilingual WordPress Site: Just getting started? Here’s a basic guide for creating a multilingual site in WordPress, including a video tutorial.
- The 10 Best WordPress Translation Plugins for going Multilingual: The team at Elegant Themes recommends 10 proven plugins for creating multilingual WordPress sites.
- WPLang.org: This whole site is an amazing resource for building multilingual WordPress sites. A couple of articles are highlighted below. If you have a question about WordPress, translation and localization, there’s a good chance you can find the answer here.
- How to make a Multilingual WordPress Site: Best Translation Plugins: An in-depth, comprehensive article that shows you how to step-by-step how to build a multilingual WordPress Site, with recommended plugins.
- A Guide to Choosing a Multilingual WordPress Theme: Want your WordPress site to look great in all languages? This article shows you how to select and deploy a multilingual theme.
Regional Information to Translate Your Website
Before you localize your site, it’s vital to understand the customers you’re trying to reach. What languages do they prefer to speak? What’s important to them? What kind of websites do they like? How will your existing site look through their eyes?
It’s not possible to cover everything you need to know for every culture and country in the world in this blog post. However, the articles below will provide you with basic knowledge about regions you may wish to move into.
- Africa- The real Africa is not English, nor French, nor Portuguese: Some basic tips for localizing for the African market.
- Middle East: Multilingual’s Getting Started in the Middle East Guide: This guide from Multilingual Magazine is about ten years old, so take statistics with a grain of salt. That said, it’s packed with helpful information about localizing for the Middle East that still holds true today.
- Asia– Notes On Designing Sites for the Asian Market– This is a general overview on designing sites for the Asian market, with information on browser compatibility, recommended fonts and cultural differences.
- Asia: Adapting a Website for the Asian Market– Want to localize your site for Asian customers? This article is an excellent starting point, with information on design preferences, colour symbolism, how to use CSS in a localization project, displaying Asian characters and more.
- Asia: Mobile Optimization: 4 Tips for Tapping Into the Asian Market: Concrete suggestions on how to make your site easier for Asian mobile users to navigate.
- China: Chinese Web Design Patterns: How and Why They’re Different – This thought-provoking SlideShare presentation challenges a lot of the conventional wisdom about web design for China.
- China: On China’s Bleeding Edge: Web Design Trends for 2015 – Smashing Magazine has the scoop on the latest Chinese web design trends, including mobile design, “Light apps,” QR codes and more.
- China: How to Adapt Your Website Your Website for China- Part 1 – China has some special technical considerations, like browser compatibility issues and the Great Firewall, that you need to be aware of before localizing your site there. Learn about them here.
- China: Adapting Your Website to China: The Design Edition– What design elements keep Chinese users happy and interested? What cultural values appeal to them? And what colours should you absolutely avoid? Find out here!
- Europe: Multilingual’s Getting Started in Europe Guide: This is an older guide to doing business in Europe from Multilingual magazine. Statistics may not be reliable anymore, but there is still pertinent information about languages and cultures.
- Latin America: Maravilloso! Showcase of Latin American Websites: Need some design inspiration for a Latin American localization project? This gallery of 21 Latin American sites might have what you’re looking for.
- Latin America: Netflix Swings and Misses in Latin America – Here’s What Other Tech Companies Can Learn: Netflix’s initial rollout in Latin America was underwhelming at best. Find out why and how to avoid their mistakes.
- Latin America: Multilingual Computing and Technology’s Guide to the Spanish-Speaking World: Want to translate your website into Spanish? This guide explains some of the decisions you’ll need to make and the challenges you’ll face.
- Latin America: Top 10 Multimedia Localization Best Practices For Latin America– Read this if your site has multimedia content like videos or you’re trying to translate interactive content, webinars, training courses and the like.
- South America: Multilingual’s South America Getting Started Guide: Another older guide from Multilingual magazine that has good advice mixed in with potentially outdated statistics.
By now, you should have a better understanding of what you need to do to effectively translate your website. There’s a lot to think about, but if you do it right, you’ll be richly rewarded.
Effective website translation starts with research, and the resources on this page will help you get started. Just take it one step at a time!
Need more assistance? Our expert website translation services simplify the process and ensure the highest possible return.
Do you have any resources we missed? Let us know in the comments.