How to Prepare for Website Translation

There’s a whole host of reasons you should think about getting your website translated into secondary languages by a professional translation agency. For starters, it will massively increase your customer base, which means you’ve got a much greater chance of getting more business, more conversions and more money.

A common misconception is that you can automate the whole process and it will be completely readable. Unfortunately, while this will obviously be quicker (and probably cheaper), the quality is likely to be extremely bad, and grammar errors this can produce make it nearly unusable.

Think about it like this. You’ve paid a lot of money for your website. It’s all been carefully designed, and the copy has all been written by a professional writer, as well as being proofread numerous times. If there’s any errors in the text itself you’d be able to spot it, but if it’s written in a language you don’t speak errors can go completely unnoticed. It means that you’re going to need a translation agency with skilled writers who you can trust.

How to you prepare you content for translation though?

Assess the text itself

You might not need to have your website in its entirety. Instead, you might just need to look through the key structure. It will be expensive as well as an ongoing task to keep your blog updated in multiple languages, so you might want to leave that out.

Sometimes you’ll have pages on your site which are key to your website’s SEO, so you might need to speak to your translation agency as well as your SEO company to find out exactly what should and should not be translated to get the best results possible and to avoid paying for pages which you don’t need translated and won’t necessarily make sense. If a page is optimised for a specific keyword you might want to let your translation agency know so they can always replace that phrase with the same equivalent, making your new pages instantly optimised for a new keyword.

Another thing to consider is text expansion. When you rewrite something into a different language, because of the structure of that language it’s likely to either become longer or shorter. Because English is quite a concise language, usually when you translate something from English into another language it will get longer. For body text this won’t really be a problem, but there might be areas of your site which rely on the words you’ve used as part of the design and to ensure everything lines up. Your navigation bar is one place in particular where this often occurs.

No need to panic though, there are ways around it. When you have had the text itself changed by your translation agency you can get a graphic designer to put those translated words or terms into images. As these will be a set size the length of the word it won’t matter. Alternatively you could just use graphics from the offset – the ‘home’ icon is fairly universal.

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