With the Internet bringing everyone on the planet only seconds away from each other, the business world has naturally become more global in nature. Even brick-and-mortar companies that serve only local customers often use and sell products made in other countries. The more technically savvy a company is, the more likely it is to have international partners, locations, and customers.
Of course, it really takes more than just good business practices to bring your products to the global market. Without a reliable, professional, and culturally sensitive translation partner, you will always have to rely heavily on your foreign business partners or worse, an automated translation service or amateur translators.
The Multilingual Website
One of the easiest ways to penetrate new international markets is to translate your website into several languages. Good design, user-friendly navigation and great content are all important factors in reaching consumers with your website, but connecting with international customers requires another, critical step.
It must be translated. Working with a competent, quality language service to translate your web site may cost a little more, but it will help ensure that your global audience understands your message clearly.
Online or machine translation, on the other hand, is not a good idea because humans are far better at conveying ideas in a target language than simply providing literal translations of text.
A simple experiment using Google Translate easily demonstrates how it is inferior to a professional translator: we chose to translate the sentence “I would like to order extra mustard on my sandwich please.” into Hungarian using Google Translate. It yielded the translation: “Szeretnék rendelni extra kell egy szendvicsemrét.” When we back-translated that Hungarian phrase into English, we got: “I would like to order extra need of a sandwich dessert.”
Now, that’s funny..but it wouldn’t be funny if it was your website content. If your foreign language visitors are laughing at your website content, do you think they can take you and your products seriously? Seriously.
If you’ve invested a good deal of time trying to improve your search engine ranking through SEO, premium content offers and other tricks of the trade, be prepared to repeat the process in your target languages during the translation process. Because SEO is about predicting what your customers will type into a search engine, a new market means entirely new search patterns.
“Multilingual SEO is the practice of offering optimized website content in a variety of languages. Multiregional SEO is the practice of creating optimized website content that is tailored specifically to multiple geographic regions.” – Search Engine Land
You can’t trust that another culture’s common search phrases will be direct translations of the old keywords and in many cases, they definitely won’t be. Fortunately, with a little research and an qualified translation service partner, you can easily prepare your multilingual website so that it performs as well in other countries as your English website does at home.
The task of translating your website for international visitors requires a skilled and experienced team of translators and developers. The translators understand the target market and audience and the developers can help you overcome any potential challenges with respect to content, graphics and other website elements that need to be localized. You spend a lot of time and money on your English web presence. Don’t skimp when it comes to providing quality website translations.