How to Shape Your Business Website to Suit Overseas Audiences
If you plan to sell a product or service to foreign buyers, website translation quickly makes its way up your ‘to do’ list. Succeeding overseas isn’t all about the product itself, after all, but about how you market it and how you engage with audiences who speak other languages.
Are you new to business website translation? If so, it might be best to click here first to brush up on some essential knowledge.
Find the right translator
There are several factors that you need to account for when shaping your business website for overseas audiences. One of the most important, clearly, is finding the right translator. This means someone who has top-notch language skills for the region that you’re launching your site in. If you’re after an English-language website for audiences in the US, for example, use a translator from there rather than one from the UK or Australia (or any other English-speaking country, for that matter). That way the language should be spot on for the intended audience.
It’s also important to find a translator with the right sector-specific knowledge. You need someone who can craft the perfect copy for your product, so using a general translator or someone with unrelated translation experience simply doesn’t make sense. The closer the translator’s experience is to the industry you work in, the better. Don’t opt for someone who’s going to use your website project to build up their translation work experience!
Localize your website
If you want to know how to make foreign language relevant to an audience, it’s time to learn about localization. Localization is the process of adapting your website’s content to meet the cultural expectations of foreign audiences. Sure, you can translate marketing copy and simply paste it into a new version of the site but localizing that copy can make it so much more effective. It can make the website feel as though it was originally written for the audience in question, rather than simply translated from another language.
Good localization can boost engagement rates and enhance the overall user experience. Remember to work with your localization expert on things such as images and payment systems as well – localization doesn’t only apply to a website’s written content!
What is transcreation?
It’s possible that you might need to go a step further than localizing your website and instead opt for transcreation. Transcreation is the process of making more fundamental changes to your site in order to ensure it appeals to foreign audiences. That can mean a serious overhaul, from copy and imagery even down to redesigning your logo and changing your strapline. After all, what works in one country isn’t guaranteed to work in another!
A transcreation specialist can help you to reshape your website while still retaining the original intent of the messaging. It’s not always an easy task, particularly where you are looking to sell services or products in a country that is strikingly different to your own in terms of its culture. The key is to avoid being too attached to any particular element of the site and to keep the end goal in mind – creating a website that showcases your wares appropriately and makes people want to buy them.
Use a translator for keyword research
It’s also worth noting that a professional translator can help with more than just your website translation. When you originally set up the site, no doubt you undertook extensive keyword research in order to stand a chance of ranking for your preferred terms (if not, why not?!). However, just because you’ve achieved a certain search engine rank position in one country, it doesn’t mean that translation alone can deliver the same overseas.
Keywords will rank differently on foreign search engines. As such, you can’t just translate your website and expert to get the same results. Instead, sit down with your translator and undertake some keyword research in the foreign language, just as you did with the original site, in order to discover how to find your target audience the right way. The translator can then help to work these words and phrases into the copy as part of the translation job.
Is your imagery inappropriate?
Imagery can be a powerful thing. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so imagine the damage that it can do to use pictures that aren’t suited to your target audience. Throw in the often thorny issue of cultural appropriation – more on that in this article – and you have a veritable minefield to navigate through.
Ask your localization expert for help with this task. They can review your imagery, animations and so forth from the perspective of the target audience, advising on everything from suitable headwear to the meaning of symbols. Given the potential to offend with a misstep, using a native localization expert’s knowledge at this stage is money well spent!
That completes our advice on how to shape your business website to suit overseas audiences. Now all you need to do is get started – good luck!