How to make your website translation shine
So here it is. You’ve just finished translating and localising a website for your customer. The text viewed in your CAT tool seems to be flawless, with no mistranslations, typos or punctuation errors. The terminology is consistent, you‘ve used the TMs provided and referred to similar websites in the target language. But before you can hit “send”, there’s one more question to ask yourself: is it really a localised website? Does it really read like a local website? Do you think it will encourage future users to stay longer on the page and keep them coming back?
Make it look local and meet the customer’s goals
A properly localised website is a website that looks like a locally designed website; it’s fully functional and attractive to the local users. Before you adapt the text to meet local expectations and requirements, it’s a good idea to ask yourself (or your customer) one simple question: What is the main purpose behind localising the website? To attract more clients? To build trust in the brand and enhance the corporate image? To sell more products and services? To raise brand awareness? Now, construct every sentence, page by page, with the main goal in mind. Think about the behaviour of the potential users. What will appeal to them? Metaphors or plain language? Imperatives (e.g. “Buy it now!”) or a less direct and more polite style? A detailed description of the company’s activity or a short list of features and benefits? Bear in mind that any signs that the website has been “imported” from abroad, such as an overly direct style, incorrect data or currency formats, irrelevant examples, culturally unacceptable images or culturally sensitive colours won’t help you achieve the main goal.
Approach every page differently
Every website is a mix of various text types and that’s why you’ll need to approach every page individually. For example, to review Terms and Conditions, you’ll need to use different criteria than for the marketing slogans featured on another page of the same website. Remember that users don’t read websites in a linear way, but rather scan the text, focusing solely on the sections and pages that are relevant to them. So, make sure that every section and every page is clear, reads well and is easy to scan.
Review it in the target format
To meet your localisation goals, you’ll need to review your website in the target format, using a web browser to assess all the functional and linguistic aspects carefully. Check whether the text displays correctly on every page. You may have to shorten it to avoid overlapping or to fit it into the restricted space. Don’t forget to review variables, especially in the case of highly inflected languages. Finally, imagine you’re a random user who has just stumbled upon the localised website. Would it spark your interest in the product and company behind the website? Would it make you think that the website was designed specifically for you?
If the answer is yes, you’ve achieved the main goal of website localisation. Well done! Go ahead and deliver your translation. It is very likely to catch the potential user’s eye.
Dorota will be sharing her expertise in November a webinar on this subject. You can book it here.
She also has a course of videos you can purchase for immediate viewing. Visit her shop for details.