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Successfully translating your website

21 June 2022

Six steps to successfully translating your website

You are ready to take your business to the next level, to go international. National availability is no longer enough. You want to grow your business by attracting international visitors. An exciting process that involves a lot of underlying work. Of course, you want your international web visitors to have the ultimate browsing experience. Rightly so! You therefore need to be able to reach international clients in their own language. But how do you go about that and what does it involve? Can you simply translate your website by yourself?

Step 1 | Deciding what target languages you need

You’ve already taken the mammoth decision to go international and translate your website. But have you considered what countries you’ll be focusing on? And what languages are spoken there? Although an English version of your website could be enough, there might be reasons for you to think about other languages too.

You then need to find out who would be most likely to visit your site. One tool you could use for this is Google Analytics, which is a straightforward way of gathering information about the international traffic on your website. If it’s still only in Dutch, you might not be attracting very many international visitors yet. You could then take a look at your competitors to see what languages their websites are in, which could help you decide which languages you’re going to use.

Step 2 | Researching keywords

Having chosen the languages you’re going to use, you then go to step two, which is finding out whether there’s a demand for your products in the countries where those languages are spoken. Google Trends or Google Keyword Planner are useful tools in this regard. At this stage It’s also a good idea to find out what keywords your website content should include before you have it translated. This is important, because key words in other languages aren’t always direct translations of the Dutch. It goes without saying that you’ll also want a good global SEO strategy to ensure that you’re competitively positioned in Google’s organic search results. So bring on those international visitors!

Step 3 | A translation machine or a professional translator?

Now you know which languages you’ll want for your website and whether there’s enough search volume for your product or service in the countries where they’re spoken. This is where the real work begins, which is the job of translating your site. It could be that your knowledge of one of these languages is sufficient for you to go a long way with the help of a translation machine. That would also save money. But unfortunately you also know from experience that free translation tools don’t always produce good results. Not only that, Google reserves the right to take action against machine translations that haven’t been edited by a human being.

A professional translator, on the other hand, delivers high-quality translations, which is a guarantee that your website will be translated properly. The fact is that you want your site to be readable and inspire trust. It also has to be convincing so that it encourages visitors to make purchases. So you really should look for a translation agency that has experience in online marketing copy. That way you can rest assured that your website will not only read well, it will also be convincing and enticing to anyone who visits it. So if you’re planning to translate your site, be sure to get a professional translation agency to do it.

Step 4 | Deciding what needs to be translated

Once you’ve decided how you’re going to get your site translated, you might well think that the entire site needs to be done. However, it’s made up of a lot of different elements, so you should first decide whether every page needs to be translated. Another question is whether your content should be modified before being translated. For example, information about shipping , return policies or FAQs. Most likely, this sort of information would be different for every language. You might also have some job vacancies that really don’t need to be translated.

Once you’ve decided which pages are relevant, it’s important for their titles to be translated as well. Also, every page has images with their own alt text. Alt text is written copy that tells search engines exactly what can be seen in the relevant image, and therefore what you’re selling in your web shop. It’s therefore important for this text to include the correct translations of your keywords, so that you’re properly indexed by search engines such as Google.

Don’t forget that meta titles and meta descriptions also have to be translated properly. When surfers from other countries see your site in their search results, you obviously want them to read a well translated description of it. This is the moment to convince them that your web shop is exactly what they were looking for.

So take a good look at your site and decide which parts of it you want to have translated. This will save you time and money!

Step 5 | Collecting copy for translation

Collecting copy often sounds more difficult than it is. You don’t always have to literally paste everything into a Word file. Modern tools can often be used to automate the translation process and make it easy to export and re-import your copy.

Formats for supplying copy include CSV and XLIFF, for example. The translation agency then prepares the content by importing it into a special translation editor, keeping any code in your content (usually HTML) intact. The translator then gets to work. The agency then sees to it that you get your translation back in the original file format, which you can then simply import into your site. You can sometimes also use an app to export your content to your CMS (Content Management System).

Another option is to connect your CMS through an API (Application Programming Interface). Your copy is then forwarded directly to the application that your translation agency uses. When the agency has finished its work, it returns your copy using the same procedure.

If you’re not yet sure of the options for your content systems, ask your translation agency and web agency for advice.

Step 6 | Wait for the first international orders

Your website has now been translated and is available to international visitors in various countries. You know for certain that it has been translated to perfection and it’s now just a matter of time before the first orders come in!

If you’d like to find out more about how LinQuake Translation Services can help you translate your site, feel free to contact us.

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