Aspects to consider in web localization


Web localization: Things to keep in mind

Well… it’s just translating a website. Seems simple, doesn’t it?

Contrary to what it seems, localizing your company’s website is more than just translating words. You can also go to Google Translate and translate the website into thirty languages in a flash. But if you want quality translations, a good brand image, and a website that is adapted to your end users, you will have to invest more resources in a proper localization process.

If you are thinking of translating your website, or if you already have experience in multilingual websites, here are some tips for your next web localization and translation project.

1. Languages

First of all: your customers attach importance to the language of the website. If your budget is limited, find out which languages your audience is most interested in so that you can reach them. Also try to use the browser settings to have the website automatically appear in the user’s language.

2. Style guides

It starts by creating a style guide that can be used for the localization of the entire website. Often, different fonts and styles are needed for each language, so a style guide will help you plan the localization and make your website translations homogeneous.

3. Terminology

If possible, try to keep the terminology on the website simple and straightforward. Culture-specific set phrases or puns are sometimes difficult to understand and even to translate. If terminology that must be consistent is to be used in all translations, include it in a glossary that can be used by all people working on the localization. Uniform terminology will also make translation memories usable and better position the web in search engines such as Google.

4. Brand Identity

Even if you are going to translate the website into several languages, it is important that the localization maintains the same image and spirit of the brand. In order to maintain your corporate identity, define the phrases that will mark your company’s mission, history, logos, colors, etc. before translating.

5. Media files

Video and audio files are as important as written content. If you have audio or video files that you need translating, you will have to quote them separately. For the translation of these files you will have to insert subtitles and voice-over recordings, which you will have to plan during the localization process.

6. Images

Images and graphics on the website can also cost you money and headaches when translating. If possible, prevent images containing text, or layer the image from the text so that it can be translated. Also, make sure not to incorporate images that may be culturally sensitive or confusing, as this could negatively influence the user experience.

7. Phone numbers and addresses

Something very simple that is often ignored in localized websites is the company’s contact details. Be sure to review the phone numbers and addresses so that they are accessible and consistent with the translated websites. If not, be sure to offer other phone numbers or clarify the service and support you need.

8. Legal Conditions

As with languages, each country has its own rules and laws which you should consider when translating a website. In some countries, privacy laws prohibit the collection of data from your users. In other countries it is not allowed to publish ads that go against your competition. Be sure to find out these technical aspects to avoid delays.

9. Code

Try to standarize the structure of the website with Unicode, the coding system adopted worldwide. This will help eliminate the tracking code, ensure readability and speed up subsequent translation processes. A good practice is to separate the code from the translatable text, to avoid confusion when translating a website.