Like anything in the business world, especially in marketing, there are right ways and wrong ways to do everything. That includes translating and localising your website to appeal to potential clients and customers in foreign target markets.
So that you can avoid making the same mistakes that other marketers and website owners have made in the past while unsuccessfully attempting to localise, we have put together a guide of some of those that are made most often.
Neglect to Research and Understand Your Target Audience
Languages are not just different from one perimeter to the other. There are always differences, albeit small and seemingly insignificant between generations with regards to speech and vocabulary. The worst way to localise your website would be to ignore researching your audience there and just going with your gut. For instance, not switching to a less or more formal tone to meet your audience needs and understanding linguistic nuances.
Failing to Recognise Why Transcreation is Important
This is perhaps the biggest mistake people make when translating advertising – making literal word-for-word translations, particularly forsaking the actual meaning of the advert and promotional material. Transcreation is vital, as it helps to not just translate, but adapt the material in terms of tone and wording so it is more appealing to the audience you are trying to target from a local market.
It would be a bad idea, therefore, to leave the responsibility of translating an advert to an individual who doesn’t understand the local market or the local language and culture.
Always Relying on Machine Translation
Google Translate and similar machine translation services give the promise of accurate and easy results. However, although they are often quick and easy to use, efficient as they may be, machine translators are not as accurate as humans.
Just sticking a copy and pasted bit of text into Google Translate is not an effective way of getting a true and sound translation for any kind of text, but especially not one used for advertising. It is literal, relies on dictionaries and uses no intelligence at all. As well as ruining the message you are trying to convey, it can also ruin or severely damage your message’s integrity.
Neglecting to Understand and Appreciate the Culture
Marketing, especially from a localisation point of view and making websites work in other foreign markets, is not a one-size-fits-all thing. Something that looks good and sounds good with one set of people from one part of the world may be completely offensive and inappropriate elsewhere. So, to make a website and localise it while neglecting to understand and appreciate the culture is folly and can be insulting to the very people you are trying to attract and appeal to.
Not Using Local Knowledge and Expertise
The quickest and most effective way to ensure your website localisation is a rip-roaring disaster is to avoid getting help from local experts. You can’t just simply stick the same slogans, same information and take the same tact for every market in the world. So, you need to rely on experts on the local language, people and culture. If you don’t, failure awaits!
Website localization is the process of adapting an existing website to local language and culture in the target market. Read more to learn more different types of website localisation.