Translating for your Web Market

Fiona Graham writes on bbc.co.uk about the importance of using professional translators when translating your company’s website.

What your “afterthought” translation process could look like.
Or you could call the professionals.

Citing one UK-based company: “you need to get one good person that speaks that language really well” and “I speak French so it was easy for me to determine someone is the right person to have”, language services professionals will have their heads in their hands. What a revelation! Here’s another big secret that you probably haven’t stumbled upon yet: When going to school or to an important meeting, bring a PEN! (Success not guaranteed.)

That’s about how basic this information is, and equally how much of a foregone conclusion it should be. But as the article reveals, most companies, even multimillion-$ turnover companies, have no idea how to go about translating one of their most fundamental marketing tools, yet they virtually all THINK they know.

Unfortunately, the article just scratches the surface and does not go into the essentials of specialisation. Website translation today requires a range of expertise: in translating AND proofreading in each of the language pairs and in the field of activity concerned, in target-language SEO, in website architecture & coding, in multimedia, in imagery localisation, in page layout, etc.
For “the right person”, read “the right company”, with all the necessary expertise.

Also under-emphasised in the article – It is absolutely essential to get professional advice before taking the first step, as professional linguistic management companies may otherwise have to UNDO a lot of what has been done, even down to the website architecture, in order to provide a professional, scalable, futureproof and efficient translated site.

Ideally, moving to multilingual should be a step that is forward-planned to coincide with a major overhaul of your company website. That way the architecture will be designed to be multilingual from the foundations up.

Professional website translation, to be efficient and ultimately profitable, is NOT something to be added as an afterthought, otherwise it may only offer the kind of return that the example in the article offers (+20% overseas trade for +400% market size).

Probably because they got “the right person”!

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