If you’re ever wondering, there are approximately 1.86 billion websites available on the world wide web as of June 2021. Way back in 2014, there were only 1 billion, which means to say that it took only six years to almost double that number.
The thing is, out of almost 2 billion, only 200 million websites (10%) are actually active. The remaining 1.66 billion are either outdated, unresponsive, sham or simply lost in translation.
This could mean that just because your website is limited to only one language, its performance in the global market will also be restricted. It’s either your brand’s potential is being boxed, your target market isn’t converting, or you can’t just simply reach your desired audience.
Such situations are normal but that doesn’t mean that they’re unavoidable. If you really want to get ahead of the ever-tight competition, you should start thinking global and one way to do that is by translating and eventually, localizing your website.
Later on, we’ll tell you the difference between these two (translation and localizing) but if you want your website visitors and readers to relate to your brand on a more personal level, then keep on reading!
What is Website Translation?
Website translation is the first step to reaching a localized audience. In order for your website to become accessible and usable to global customers, it needs to be translated, often word-for-word, into the language of your choice. These two processes always come together and cannot be interchanged.
We’ve researched many companies that have website translations listed as their services, but we found Tomedes, Gengo, and Polilingua to be good providers of these services, out of all the companies that we’ve researched. Gengo and Polilingua are already big names in the industry, but we were impressed by Tomedes, from our research on website translation.
Tomedes website translation services have a network of global professional website translators who know the ins and outs of commercial and conventional translations, transliteration, and transcreation. Tomedes, in the realm of website translation, is equipped with both the technology as well as expert linguists to ensure your websites are all multilingual.
Working with website translation services doesn’t only ensure that your translated content is of the highest quality, website translation services also make sure to maximize your website’s global reach with the help of in-house professional linguists and translators who can spot errors with just one glance.
Web services such as website translation services make use of the existing functionalities of the website that translators work with. These translators then perform website translation on the existing website.
What are the Benefits of Website Translation?
“Website translation is no longer “nice to have.” At least 75% of global customers prefer to do business in their native language”
Besides a more seamless user experience overall, there are tons of lesser-known advantages of having a properly translated website. Here are three of them:
- Accessibility – More people will find your website (as it will also become more SEO friendly) if it’s translated in at least more than two languages.
- Professionalism – Because your site is culturally appropriate and easy to understand, your visitors and readers will instantly create a notion that you really care about them. This yields to our last point.
- Increased customer trust – Having already mentioned the accessibility and professionalism of your website, it’s safe to say that fully and accurately translated websites are subject to more loyal customers.
Besides Text, What is Other Translatable Content on a Website?
Before we get into the actual process of translation, let’s talk about the so-called “translatable content” in your website first. You might initially think that written texts are the only ones that need conversion in this sense. Well you’re right if the translation is the only thing in consideration but if we’re gonna include localizing, there are so many other translatable contents that need attention and they are:
- Multimedia items such as images, videos, and PDFs,
- Meta texts that only search engines can scour and identify,
- Dynamically loaded content from apps,
And user notifications such as error messages and confirmation emails
All of your website’s translatable content must be catered by translation to ensure all customers experience an immersive in-language experience. These four website elements, although translated, wouldn’t be properly understood without the help of localizing.
What are the Different Degrees of Website Translation?
Now that the term “website translation” is already defined as well as its importance and other key elements, it’s time to tell you about its four varying degrees. They’re called “degrees” for a reason because we’ll start from the most common to the most complex.
Starting it off with…
The first degree, as mentioned above, is the most common as it only applies best on on-site static text but not on other translatable multimedia content. If you take its literal definition, then you already have your answer. The formula is basically English to another language and vice versa.
Conventional translation can be carried over by free and accessible automated translation tools such as Google Translate, which has recently added a new feature called “Google Neural Translation system”. This makes the work of Google’s free translation tool faster and even comparable to human translators without having the need to pay anything.
Here’s the definition you’ve been waiting for all along. If the translation is word-for-word, localizing is more than that as it applies linguistic and cultural preferences of the target customers to create an online experience that resonates within specific markets.
Localizing is the one that you should go for if you want to generate more interest and engagement among customers. Website translation is where your website speaks a specific language but if you opt for its counterpart, then your website should talk like a local.
If you’re looking to expand your business into East Asian, Russian, and MENA markets wherein the preferred language doesn’t use non-Latin alphabets, then you might find a good match with transliteration. Unlike translation’s straightforward content conversion, the conversion that takes place in transliteration happens not in the language but from one writing system to another.
Transliteration is used usually in brand names and slogans. As these are crucial branding indicators, the translation wouldn’t be enough to make sense out of them. To achieve authenticity, further research is needed. Your brand name may mean well in your language but once it’s advertised in highly conservative Muslim countries, for example, it might mean something else. The last thing that you want to happen is to create any sort of misunderstanding just because of an honest mistake.
Also known as “artful translation”, transcreation preserves intent, context, and tone when translating from one language to another. It is commonly performed by linguists who are not only highly knowledgeable when it comes to different languages but also well-versed in the marketing field.
Same as transliteration, transcreation is also used in brand names, slogans, and sometimes, jingles that need a high level of attention span in order to be fully understood.
Human Translation or Automated Translation. What to Use?
After all the information overload of going through this article, it’s only right to ask yourself which one between human or automated translation is the better fit for you and your website translation needs. But before we help you decide, here’s what you need to know first about these two:
- Automated Translation – Also called “AI” (Artificial Intelligence), automated translation is inexpensive and speedy but often produces inaccurate translation results.
- Human Translation – Those made by humans, on the other hand, are more costly and might take a longer time to actually materialize but addresses most of the cons of the automated approach, such as authenticity when it comes to the translated output, as they were handled with utmost cultural awareness.
Wrapping it Up
Now that you’re no longer a stranger when it comes to the ins and outs of website translation, the next step is to find a website translation service that gets it done right. If you can find a team that can magically combine the best of both worlds (automated’s cost and speed and human’s accuracy), then all the more that you’re on the right track.