Are you translating your website effectively?

 by anthony on  |
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Translating your website to multiple languages is only a small piece of an otherwise very large puzzle when it comes to localizing your content and globalizing your business. Picking the right translation type can make or break the process and a professional translation should always be used when possible. But there are circumstances that allow you to apply a combination of each translation type to give you the best localization outcome and boost your aspirations of hitting a global audience. Read on to learn where and when you should use each type of translation and how you can tie them all together to effectively localize your website.

1. Machine Translations
Low risk content
By virtue of the fact that they don’t account for any human element, machine translations alway carry the threat of contextual errors that can be disastrous for your translated content. True as this may be, there's still room for a machine translation on certain areas of your site. Pages that attract low levels of traffic are a good starting point, as risk levels are minimal if something is translated out of context.

Short on time
If you’re in a hurry to localize your website, machine translation can be a viable option to give you a functional but temporary short term fix. For example, if you have a heavy promotional period coming up and need your content translated immediately, you could complete the initial translation using a machine and then fix it up later with a professional. The machine translation most likely won't be at the standard you need, but it's better to at least have some form of translated content available than none at all if you're expecting high volumes of international traffic.

Generic content
Certain types of content don't need any context or a human touch. Anything from single words to generic product specs can be translated by a machine with little or no impact on the quality of the content. If the content doesn't affect the user experience or customer journey, then it's worth testing a machine translation on it to save time and money.

2. D.I.Y. Translations
Brand experts
The obvious answer to this is to use your own professional translators, but not every business is lucky enough to have those tools at hand. As with machine translation, doing it yourself is risky when you don’t have the proper resources in-house, but that doesn’t mean it should be avoided altogether. Utilizing people that can speak the language can be enough when they possess in-depth knowledge of your product or brand, even if they don’t have professional translation credentials.

As long as they can convey clear content that’s consistent with your brand message, it will make up for some of the missing pizzazz that a professional translator brings. Of course a professional always gets the job done quicker and more effectively, but if you don’t have the budget this is definitely worth looking at.

Tweaking translations
D.I.Y. can also be applied when you’ve initially used a machine translation and need to tweak the content and add context. It’s important to remember that D.I.Y. without in-house professionals will seldom provide the desired outcome at the first time of asking, so you’ll need to be patient and manage your expectations in line with the resources at your disposal. However, if you find that the translated content isn't reaching the levels you need or is impacting the customer journey in any way, you should enlist the help of a professional translator.

3. Professional Translation

Professional translation is an all-encompassing process and helps to drive more quality traffic and increase conversions. If you’ve got the budget, there’s no reason you should skimp on paying for a translation that keeps your content brand-aligned and won't confuse your customers. Where the other types of translation leave room for error and potential content disasters, a professional translation removes these risks and allows you to concentrate on everything else that comes with website localization.

For your customers
Giving your customers a voice and harnessing user generated content are fantastic ways to grow your business. Getting your customers to provide positive feedback, leave reviews or write testimonials are better than any ad campaigns you could run. A professional translation is an absolute must here, as misquoting or misrepresenting what your customer has actually said would inevitably end in disaster. Not only that, you'd harm your chances of getting additional user generated content in the future.

Conversion focused content
Using a professional translator on conversion-focused pages such as checkout and payment is crucial. People should understand what payment options are available to ensure they go through with the purchase and are also given accurate information. You should also use a professional translation on blogs or any copy that’s designed to drive conversions, as this directly affects the customer journey and impacts on the purchasing decision they make. A sloppy user experience will result in lower conversions as people will be unlikely to buy from a site they deem unprofessional.

Tying them all together
Creating a workflow that incorporates every type of translation can be tricky to manage and organize. Most business don't have the in-house facilities available to do this seamlessly and it can be both time consuming and frustrating to keep it all together. That’s where a localization platform like Localizer comes in and turns a heavy workload into a cakewalk.

Localizer provides the tools for you to translate your content using all three types of translation, while streamlining the localization process into a single, easy-to-use workflow. Localizer also allows you to add team members to your profile, so that multiple people can work on the same project; or a number of projects at any one time. You can even translate your entire website with Localizer in three simple clicks.


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