Before localising a website, there are several key things to consider:
If your site runs off a popular CMS, or if you have static HTML, localisation will be straightforward. Bespoke systems may also have been designed with localisation in mind.
• Consider whether all the elements of your design are editable. If you have images with embedded text that you have created in another program, the same program and file will be needed to create localised images.
• Ask yourself if the design is going to work if you don’t translate all parts of your website, or will there be an empty space on the French site where the “online chat” function is in English?
• Look for other potential spacing issues, such as the insertion of a dropdown language menu or currency selector.
• Find out if you can export/import content for translation. If not, would you prefer to provide us with access to your site, or would you handle all the content yourself?
• Can you provide server access to an external IP should this be necessary?
It is important to prepare your content for translation before you get a quotation. We call this ‘pre-localisation’.
• Create a copy of the site and edit the copy. This is easy enough to do with most content management systems.
• Ensure your content, including all images, is not potentially offensive to your target audience.
• Remember that well-written, concise content is cheaper and easier to translate.
• Decide how you want to handle units of measurement; will you convert inches to cm?
• Will you localise your strapline? Your product names?
Your entire site does not need to be localised – only keep what what will be of interest to your target market.
• Client profiles, old case studies and white papers, or anything which you intend to update in the near future may not need to be translated at this point.
• If you have products on your website, carry out market research to find out which products will sell best. There is no point selling Waybuloo dolls in Sweden if they have never seen the cbeebies show.
• Alternatively, it may be worth creating content exclusively for the localised sites, such as detailed shipping information, or vendor profiles.
Establish what you want to achieve with a localised version of your website. Focus on one reason, one target client, and build from there.
• Are you localising to make your company seem more international?
• To attract foreign investors?
• To help resellers of your product?
• For shoppers to purchase from directly?
• Which products will sell best in that market?
Translation, like any professional service, is not cheap. Translators have advanced university degrees and specialised translators command more than those translating general text.
• For business purposes, it is better to have a quality translation of a portion of your site, as opposed to doing a quick and sloppy job of the site in its entirety.
• When you have more budget, you can add more to the site.
Web-Translations doesn’t use machine translation, and it takes time for professional translators to work through your content. Please bear in mind that it may take weeks, not days, to complete a localisation.
• The project management triangle of cost/quality/time applies here – if you cut one corner something else will be impacted.
• The nature of your site and what project management work is required will also affect the turnaround time. Pasting large chunks of text into a CMS is quick, while inserting content a few words at a time into fiddly fields will take much longer.
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