6 min read

5 things to be aware of before you have your website translated

5 things to be aware of before you have your website translated
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We are passionate about translating websites. We have experience and successes in this area. However, we observe that a website translation project can be challenging for the client and full of surprises.

Here, we discuss important issues when translating a corporate website to avoid potential hiccups. It's essential for everyone involved to be aware of these before starting the project.

Professional website translation is one of our competencies. POZENA will do it perfectly every time as your trusted professional Language Service Provider. But that is not the issue here. Translating a website in a corporate setting involves close collaboration with the client. Here are some things to consider when planning your website translation project.

 

1. Translating a website, just like starting a new one, is a multi-disciplinary challenge.

Translating a website efficiently is worth anticipating and planning all the resources, i.e., the time and attention of colleagues with surprisingly diverse roles.

Marketing fundamentally impacts the content and often manages the project from the organisation's perspective. Therefore, Marketing must have access to all the source content at some point, even though Marketing often neither creates the content nor maintains the website.

Also, marketing may need to be able to answer some core questions about the content, including the following examples: 

  • Is all our source content complete?
  • Is it up-to-date? If not, do we have contracted copywriters who can update the full set of content promptly?
  • Is our source website, i.e., what we will be translating, complete?
  • Has it been so developed that it contains all the "keywords and phrases" aligned with our SEO?
  • Have these key expressions been professionally verified for translation into each target language in the form of a professional MSEO (Multilingual Search Engine Optimisation) analysis? In other words, what keywords are currently used by foreign competitors in the target languages and geographical areas?
  • Do we have a report on this analysis that guides the translation?
  • After publication, do we plan to support the new content with a CPC (pay-per-click advertising) campaign? Is this plan mature enough to include the campaign content (text, image, video, animations) for consistent website translation?
  • Do we have administrative access to our own website?
  • What other related content - multimedia presentations, product videos on YouTube and elsewhere, InDesign and Canva brochures, ebooks, roll-ups and banners - needs to be translated along with the website to ensure consistency of messaging for the new target in the new markets?

Website Developer decides on the website technology, particularly the piece of it that determines multilingual content management.

Every CMS (Content Management System where your website lives), such as the most popular WordPress and dozens of others, either has a built-in multilingual publishing feature or there is optional software that adds this functionality.

Often, the Developer is the only function in the Organisation that has admin access to the CMS and the knowledge to

  • configure and use the technology responsible for creating language versions, such as generating a set of source content intended for professional translation - visible and invisible on the page
  • approve completed translations and place them where they belong
  • repeat this process regularly so the properly maintained website can be fed with continuously updated multilingual content.

Can POZENA translate a website without the involvement of the client's competent  Developer? Yes. Translation will be possible whenever we are granted administrative access to the service, but it is not recommended: it will take longer and be more expensive.

Can POZENA translate a website when no one has access to the CMS? We strongly advise against trying: extracting content from the screen will never provide a complete source, and placing translated content on the website without admin access is unfortunately impossible.

Sales and Production have a say in whether the source content is correct - commercially and technically - and whether it's complete and up-to-date. It is worth obtaining assurance from them that the current content intended for translation is complete and of high quality.

Your organisation's specialist industry and corporate terminology also usually come from Production. It is worth sharing the terminology with us before the translation commences so that the output maintains consistency and complies with your terminology standards.

What if Production does not have a glossary of key terminology? Based on the project's additional content, we can create a core termbase for you and ask for your approval.

Legal will want to ensure the completeness and correctness of your website's legal content in new jurisdictions. Why involve Legal? Is it insufficient to professionally translate our terms of service, privacy statements, etc? Perhaps not quite; for example, a faithful translation of your English "General Terms and Conditions" into, say, Mongolian is one thing, but whether the same concepts will make any sense, or be practical, or at the very least be legal in Mongolia, is quite another matter, and a translator's perfect work alone may put you in a bit of a risk. 

Your legal department may want to review or approve the formal source content upfront, which may be easier than doing this after the translation is completed.

What if the client's legal department is not interested in participating in the translation project? We will offer you our optional service instead.

Management is the function that sets the project's goals and deadline expectations and generously allocates a budget to achieve these. It seems trivial, but it is worth noting that you will do well if the budget and the expectations are at least vaguely proportionate.

It is also important for management to make efficient decisions. Website content translation sometimes requires consultation, and the scope often creeps at the client's request.

Project management ties the entire process together and serves as your friendly localisation provider's central point of contact.

There is an obvious difference in the outcome between a project managed by a qualified professional, and one carried through only by the enthusiasm of the person who does it only occasionally and in addition to their "normal" work.

If your organization has a formal project management function, website translation may be a good project for them.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will be interested in the "organic optimization" of the website in new languages, just as they most probably do with the source content. Your translations will ideally require just as much effort for each language as the original. 

SEO is a dynamically changing field of digital marketing. It encompasses professional analyses, coding activities, keyword research, competitive studies, backlinking your website to other services on the Internet, and continuous reviews, refreshes and expansions of your website. Correctly performed SEO allows your website to become commercially successful.

It is worth preceding your translation by MSEO (Multilingual SEO) research and reporting. Why? The resulting MSEO guidance will decide how key content should be translated so that these translations properly optimize the website for success in other languages and cultures. 

Often, your MSEO research may conclude that your current source content should, in fact, not be translated at all! The new website might benefit from slightly different content, which will be better suited to the expectations of the new audience.

What then? We can help by combining translation with localization (adapting translated content for other audiences) and copywriting (creating entirely new content).

 

2. You will do well to review your website's multilingual technology carefully. 

Every modern CMS has a multilingual solution, and sometimes, there will be several alternatives - some included in the core product, some as optional third-party plug-ins. Some plug-ins are free, and some cost a small subscription.

Discuss your language management technology options with your trusted developer to ensure you are happy with their functionality. Why? 

Some solutions allow for quick and easy, nearly fully automated duplex transfers of content: generating content designated for translation straight from the management panel with a few clicks and then automatically placing the completed translations where they belong.

Others do not. You end up with no way to generate your content for translation, and you will have to copy painstakingly and paste your received translations into hundreds of little frames - or thousands. You will find it frustrating beyond description and incredibly inefficient. 

We are an industry partner of the world's best multilingual management add-on for WordPress, WPML. Please contact us to request a non-obligation discount code!

And what if the current website is monolingual, and no one had ever considered the need for translation when it was planned a long time ago? We will help by investigating the situation and advising on a retrofit, if possible, or recommending a modern redesign. 

 

3. Every website has some visible content and some technical content.

This important fact has great consequences for all commercial websites.

Your visible content is what the visitor can see on the screen. Depending on the sophistication of your website, different visitors may see different content on the same pages. 

The translation of your technical content is of equal importance, which may never even be shown to visitors. Online robots read this and decide how your website should rank among your competition. This determines the success of your website in search engine results, such as Google. You will likely not be near the first page if you get this wrong. 

The technical content - such as metatags, URL slugs and structured data - must be properly translated into each of your new languages and meet SEO requirements.

What is the conclusion? Ensure your source content is marked for translation and includes the entire website. We will be happy to provide you with the details.

 

4. Your website is a database.

This dictates how it works: the software dynamically displays certain elements on the user's screen, sometimes showing different versions under different conditions.

It is not worth trying to produce your source content for translation based on what you can see on the screen at a given moment. This will never be precise. 

We also advise against trying to download the page with an external grabber. Grabbers are programs that copy your website from what they can access online. Some work very well, producing hundreds of files to translate. But what exactly will you do when you get the translated files back?

One way to avoid a problem is to respect your website's database nature and decide on multilingual website technology that can work directly with that database. We will help you choose.

 

5. When trying to have an existing website translated, it pays to work with its original designer. 

Each website is quite different. Your website may have a complex configuration that, in practice, may be best handled by the original developer. They will normally be most suited to continue developing the product, expanding it with multilingual content.

But sometimes, working with the original developer is not possible. If that happens, we will help with our resources. 

 

POZENA Multilingual is a Language Service Provider with two decades of website translation experience from and to any language for all industry verticals. We provide a set of competencies that will help you achieve a successful translation. We will take the time to review your project and personally discuss your needs. Please read more and get in touch.

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