When we first meet somebody new, we gain an impression of that person within six seconds through a number of points of contact including face, voice and presentation. For a company, the website is the “face and voice” of the organisation and that first impression counts.
Today, most companies understand the importance of making their websites accessible to people within different countries and therefore add different language options to their sites, however, simple translation is just not enough.
Many companies make the mistake of gathering the text from their website and running it through a basic translation process. Although this will generally get the message across in simple terms, the language and sentence construction will often be unprofessional and irrelevant to the target market.
When simply translating website text into another language without actually adapting it to that language, the message can be confusing and, at times, comical – something that never shows a company in its best light. Although a sentence like this one from a toy sales website “It including small spare parts unsuitable for 5 year age and younger”, can be understood, it’s sloppy sentence construction shows a ‘don’t care’ attitude which may be off-putting to potential customers. Some companies tend to cut corners by using online translation services which inevitably results in unprofessional and inaccurate website information. Rather than simply translating text, it’s important that a company’s website is localised. This means that each page is adapted to the local language and culture of the target market. The art of website localisation is ensuring that each page makes sense in a linguistic and cultural context for each country. In some cases, a sentence which makes sense in one language can actually be offensive in another and so website localisation can make the difference between gaining a new client or insulting them.
The two main goals for website localisation are to ensure that the right message is being sent from the website owner and that is is understood by the end user or potential client.
Easy as one, two, three
Professional Web Localisation is a three step process.
- The first step of the process is translation – the act of transcribing the text into the new language.
- The second step is the ‘localisation’ which is the process of adapting all of the text, graphics, images and headings to ensure that they are linguistically and culturally appropriate for the target locale or market segment.
- The third and final part of the process involves ensuring that all local information such as date, time, pricing and sources are correct
At Future Trans, we understood the important role that website localisation plays within a business – after all, language is our business! Our ISO9001 accreditation and memberships of the American Translation Association (ATA) and the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) are our promise to our clients that their website will be accurate, localised and target-specific. We fulfill this promise through a combination of global and local co-ordination involving a number of different departments including sales, marketing, finance, technology and design. As a market leader in translation and localisation within the Middle East and North Africa (MEN) regions, our reputation is everything and we take great pride in maintaining it.
“But everybody speaks English don’t they?”
Many English companies make the mistake of adopting this attitude – to their detriment! Although it is entirely possible that people from other countries will understand the content of your website in its local language, this attitude does not show any level of appreciation or respect toward a target market. By using professional website localisation, your company is sending the message to a foreign culture that their business is important to you and that you’re willing to go the extra mile to make the process as convenient and enjoyable for them as possible. The website is the gateway to a business – with professional localisation, your company not only retains existing clients but also opens the door to new ones.