A holistic approach & under-the-hood insights on how to manage your website translation
SINGAPORE – 1998 was the year that Google was founded.
While that seems like a lifetime ago and although Google wasn’t the inventor of the Internet, the company has been and continues to be a major influence on how the Internet functions & what it revolves around, and that is – Websites.
Businesses today tend to focus their attention on social media marketing. The lastest trend that has gripped the Asia Pacific region is social media influencers, and even E-marketplaces have a parallel version in the form of live-streaming ambassadors. However, if we really dive into the technicalities of marketing, social media platforms are not truly owned media. They are in fact, a blend of earned media + paid media (owned/earned/paid media). Social media platforms commonly limit how your content is allowed to be display (e.g. text limit, url addresses disallowed, etc …), and these platforms are mostly not intended to be searched. For social media platforms, engagement with viewers is the key, and selling is very much frowned upon.
Are websites important? Yes, critically important!
Especially for B2B businesses, websites are still at the center of digital marketing efforts today. As a 100% owned media, you enjoy full control on your website in terms of what content that you want to be displayed, when to display it, in whichever form you want, and with any volume of information that you want to share.
Websites are critical for any business as they were designed to facilitate search. Potential customers rely on search engines such as Google to seek out products & services that they are looking for, and the search engine correspondingly displays a directory of search results in order of what they consider to be the most relevant website related to your searched term. Search engine users are said to be having a higher intent to buy, versus users on social media.
While there are many rules (known & unknown) that govern how search engines determine the order/ranking of websites to show you whenever you search for something, your website content is the main deciding factor in search engines’ algorithms. The relevance of your content, content volume, page content structure, and how engaging your content truly is to your website visitors, influence your ranking by the search engines, and these matters are all embroiled within the technique known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Understanding and excelling in all these areas will ensure that your website is search-ready, well-ranked and gets rewarded with the user traffic & sales revenue that it deserves.
The need for multilingual websites
It has been said that if customers do not understand your language, they will not buy from you. Successful companies know this fact and the Internet itself is overflowing with evidence of major websites localised into multiple languages (110 languages for Microsoft, 75 for Toyota, 80 for Google, and so on). While English seems to be a highly popular language, a study of Asia Pacific (excluding Australia) alone reviews that the English being used as the primary language accounts for only 6.7% of the population! A factual study into other regions will quickly and similarly debunk the “truth” that English is the primary language used by majority of people around the world.
From a SEO & website ranking perspective, it is also important to note that being ranked well in a single English country, has no bearing whatsoever on how well the same English website ranks in other geographical markets. It is even worse off for non-English geographical markets – e.g. an English website which is ranked #1 in Australia, will certainly not be offered by the search engine to the user, in the event that the Japanese user based in Japan searches for a Japanese term.
It is essential therefore that businesses develop translated versions of their websites, to extend the value of their website, by maximising global opportunities for themselves.
5 essential steps when translating your website
Translating a website is a complicated process that is contingent on several factors and spreads across multiple stakeholders. Even for companies who have the option & luxury of simply assigning the endeavour to their digital agency, most agencies do not have significant hands-on experience executing website translations in a safe, efficient & exhaustive manner.
Based on our experience translating multiple websites, we now outline the most important (yet often ignored) parts of the process. It is our hope that this framework serves as a useful guide even if you are a company with a digital agency assigned to oversee this process, so that you can make a better assessment on how well your translation process is well-managed by your agency.
Search engines revolve around search keywords. The careful research & use of the appropriate keywords determines whether your website is destined for high traffic or not. When localising your website, do ensure that the search keywords reflect the local market’s user behaviour, and are utilised when translating your website.
|Translation-ready Content Management Systems|
Content Management Systems (CMS) such as Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore and WordPress, are software systems that enable your website to be easily developed & maintained. Since 2010, businesses have increasingly developed their websites using various CMS technologies.
While it is increasingly common for website translation to be supported by CMSes, not all CMS support translation. For those that do, website translation support is not enabled out-of-the-box.
As you prepare to translate your website, ensure that your CMS is translation-ready, meaning that it should be equipped to handle the following:
If your CMS is not translation-ready and/or cannot natively support a CETI approach, the journey to translating your website is more complicated, and will involve some degree of re-engineering to make it happen.
|Assets to be Translated|
Any content that is already hosted on your current website should be translated. Exceptions are occasionally made for certain content for commercial reasons such as a particular product not being offered in certain local markets. In such cases, it is usually recommended that the product webpages are completely hidden from those local markets, as opposed to leaving them intact but untranslated. Untranslated content within a translated website is highly detrimental to the user experience and the website/company branding.
There are different classifications of content assets that need to be translated, and they are listed as follows:
|Translation Process & SOP|
A well-structured and proven process results in a predictable and successful website translation campaign with minimal hiccups. A website translation SOP should be exhaustive & cover all aspects of the translation from planning and preparation, all the way through completion. It should also address of how subsequent content updates are properly managed from a translation standpoint. The following list outlines the key steps of any website translation procedure:
Translating a website can be a costly exercise if it is not managed properly. There are 3 common strategies to achieve cost reductions when translating your website.
Firstly, ensure that your CETI process is as automated or technologically-assisted as much as possible, as this will help shave off significant man-hours stemming from manual copy-and-paste which is also highly prone to human error. Secondly, qualify whether your existing development team or digital agency has both engineering & linguistic capabilities, as well as experience executing similar initiatives. Lack of hands-on experience will likely result in project delays or poor quality outcomes, both of which are detrimental to your brand reputation. Thirdly, perform all your translation activities with translation databases and recycling as one of your top priorities. Translation re-use leads to effort reduction, resulting in cost reduction.
There are many considerations when it comes to translating websites and it is certainly not a straightforward process. Our sharing today offers a holistic approach and under-the-hood insights as to how website translations can be better managed. This article however, is not exhaustive since there are countless combinations of technologies used, content assets developed, and digital marketing methods deployed. New technologies continue to enter the market resulting in new steps being added to the whole process. Nevertheless, the 5 critical areas described today should form the pillars of any website translation initiative that you undertake.
An experienced and process-driven partner that demonstrates a combination of engineering capabilities and linguistic skills, will help ease a lot of the pain and complexity of translating your website. By integrating best practices, strategy, engineering and language capabilities into a single unified service, MediqTrans reduces total cost of ownership, streamlines your activities, and provides the fastest & safest way to launch your multilingual websites to reach & engage your global audience.
About Parrot Social
PARROT SOCIAL is a data analytics & research firm powered by artificial intelligence. We help companies and organisations look out for emerging business, social and political trends across the globe so that better, more accurate organisational decisions are made. https://www.parrot.social.
MediqTrans is a medical translation & digitalisation specialist, and our services are 100% dedicated to the medical industry only. Connect with us at email@example.com for a fast, non-obligatory quote, or if you would like to understand more about how our team can help your business.
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