Localisation and translation of websites can be a complex process requiring
a high level of creativity, great attention to details and decent IT skills. As
a translator you’ll have to think like a potential website visitor to make sure that the content reads and looks like a local product. Below you’ll find a few key tips for smoother website translation and localisation.
1. Agree on the localisation tool
Quite often you’ll be free to work in a website localisation tool of your choice. Sometimes you’ll have to use a proprietary tool, such as a specifically developed Content Management System to insert your translation directly in the customer’s backend. In any case, always discuss the expectations and requirements of your customer to be able to choose a proper localisation tool or to get ready to use any required technology.
2. Find or ask for reference materials
Online shops, company or product websites may contain detailed descriptions that won’t be straightforward without extra information. To understand the context you may need to refer to product images or gain a detailed insight into the company’s offer or services included in its brochures or marketing materials. Remember to check the functions of any buttons or menu items on the website before you begin with translation.
3. Be careful with metadata
Metadata such as keywords, description or title will require special attention. In some cases you’ll be asked to localise the keywords choosing appropriate phrases common in your target language. Translate the keywords wisely and include several spelling versions, if necessary. Quite often you’ll have to leave the metadata in the original language, as the customer may have another strategy for translation of these strings or may choose not to translate the keywords and description at all, deciding on a localisation of the title only.
4. Check the layout
Once the content is translated and localised you’ll have to review your website in the target format. View it in a web browser and make sure that the text displays correctly. Read the content and remember to check the position of images and other elements. This step is especially important if you insert your translation directly in a CMS and have a possibility to view the localised page.
5. Review it from the user’s perspective
When the localised website is ready, you’ll have to review it with the potential user in mind. Does the website read and look like a local website? Are there any foreign elements that may be distracting? Incorrect data or currency format, culturally unacceptable images or sensitive colours won’t be convincing and may prevent visitors from reading the content. Finally, make sure that your localised pages meet the expectations of the potential users. This way you’ll encourage them to stay longer on the website and satisfy the needs of your customer.