Having your website available in several languages is essential if you have a multilingual customer base. Here are some tips on how to make sure the translation process goes smoothly.
1- Localisation: While the words themselves need to be translated of course, some of the concepts may also need to be adapted for your target market. This includes converting measurements (e.g. from the imperial to the metric system) and adapting cultural references so they can be understood by your new audience.
2- SEO: There is no point having your list of keywords translated literally if your target market will not be using them to search for your products or services. I recommend conducting market research to produce a list of keywords specifically used in that language/country/region or commissioning your translator to do this for you.
3- Length: Do not forget to take into account the fact that different languages will take up different amounts of space on the screen. For example, French tends to be 15% to 20% longer than English. As a result, text that fits perfectly one a button in English may end up being too long in French!
4- Layout: To avoid the issue mentioned above, I would highly recommend showing your translator a mock-up of the layout or a version of the site in the source language. If you explain the purpose of each element (e.g., header, body, button) as well as any length constraints, a good translator will then adapt the translation to fit these constraints. This avoids you having to make last minute changes when the text won’t fit on the screen!
5- Formatting: One way to speed up the process is to have your translator work directly in the html file. This way, all you need to do is upload the new html files to the new site, without trying to copy-paste the translation into the html. Most professional translators will use specific software allowing them to work in the html file without running the risk of accidentally modifying the coding. This also helps the translator to identify some of the potential layout issues as the html code helps identify the various webpage elements.
6- Pictures: The pictures used for the original website may not be adapted to the culture of your target audience. For example, what is acceptable in one country may not be in another market. However, the use of culturally relevant images extends beyond simply avoiding offensive ones. Images help create a connection with your audience, so check that the people in the photographs have a similar appearance to website visitors and that the backgrounds correspond to that region’s climate and architecture.
7- Content Management System (CMS): This may seem obvious, but this step is often overlooked. Make sure your current CMS supports the new language, as this can be an issue with right-to-left languages such as Arabic and Hebrew or double-bit Asian scripts like Japanese, Chinese and Korean.
8- Proofread at every stage: make sure that your translator proofreads the final version once it is ready to go live, paying particular attention to any typos and formatting errors. You want the version your clients see to be perfect, so smooth out any teething errors before publishing it.
As you can see, the common feature of most of these tips is to think of the translation from the target market’s point of view. As professional translators are always native speakers of the language they translate into, I recommend bringing up these points with them. They can then recommend changes or point you in the direction of a cultural consultant. In addition, by clarifying any formatting constraints ahead of time, you can help your translator get it right the first time round, leaving you with the perfect website translation.
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One question that business looking to expand internationally often ask is whether they should translate their website into various languages or have a single central website in English for all their international customers.
A single website in English works best if the majority of your customers are native English speakers. However, you will need to think about which type of English you want to use. Will your customers tend to prefer UK, US or Australian English? This will have an impact on the spelling, grammar, vocabulary and style choices. It is also best to avoid cultural references that are specific to a certain country, as they might confuse your audience.
However, if you are mainly targeting people in non-English-speaking countries, it makes sense to get your website pages and keywords professionally translated by a native speaker. Indeed, research shows that 75% of consumers prefer to buy products in their native language. It may also be useful to brainstorm cultural differences between your current English-speaking market and the new market you are trying to reach to avoid any faux pas. You should make sure that the colours, the images and the branding you use are culturally appropriate and reflect the local environment (climate, architecture, etc.).
Once you have made the decision to translate your website, you have two options available to you. You can keep your current website and add a button to change the language. This lowers your costs and still provides you with a unique URL you can provide to your customers. However, you may struggle with SEO for this new market. You can also get a relevant domain name in the target language and register this with the appropriate country suffix (for example, in France your website should end with ‘.fr’). In this instance, your translated site will rank higher on search engines and customers will find it easier to use and buy from.
So, to summarise, you can:
Which is the better option? That will depend on who you are trying to market to:
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Interpreting and translation are closely related, yet they are rarely performed by the same people. Interpreters work with spoken language, transferring the meaning of an oral text (such as a speech) from one language to another, as opposed to translators, who transfer the meaning of a written text from one language into another.
However, within these categories, there are also different types of translators and interpreters. Here are some of the most commonly terms used to describe them.
A translator who has received accreditation from a professional association, such as the Chartered Institute of Linguists.
As there is no official certification program for translators in the UK, there is no such thing a certified translator per se. Only translators who are accredited with the two main professional translation associations in the UK (Chartered Institute of Linguists and Institute of Translation and Interpreting) may produce a certificate of translation to accompany the translation of official documents.
Certified court interpreter
A person who has passed an examination to assess competency to interpret during court proceedings, usually the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) in the UK.
A practitioner who is committed to maintaining high professional standards, continually developing professional language skills and specialist knowledge, awarded this status as a badge of quality and confidence by the Chartered Institute of Linguists.
An interpreter trained, knowledgeable and experienced in conference interpretation (oral translation of a speech during a conference or convention).
A person who translates written text intended for use during a conference, or generated during a conference (such as conference proceedings, etc.).
An interpreter who listens while the speaker speaks and then interprets while the speaker pauses, either for a specific person or for the entire room.
Highly skilled interpreter with an extensive knowledge of comparative law who interprets at continuing legal education seminars, bar association conventions, etc.
A translator with an extensive knowledge of comparative law who specialises in international legal documents such as contracts, licenses, franchises and legislation.
A translator who specialises in the translation of fiction, such as novels and poetry.
A highly skilled interpreter with knowledge of medical procedures and specialities, who interprets during medical conventions, continuing medical education seminars, medical equipment demonstrations, teaching of new surgical procedures, etc.
A translator who specialises in the translation of medical texts, such as research, medical devices, medical equipment manuals, books, patents, etc.
A person who translates speech orally into another language at the same time and at the same rate of speech as the speaker.
In some countries, such as France, a sworn translator is a certified translator accredited to translate court documents.
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Welcome to the Authentic Translations Blog
The objective of these blog posts is to help simplify the world of language services. There are many blogs out there that are aimed specifically at translators but few that focus on the end user, so we would like to become a bridge between the world of the linguist and the world of the client. More specifically, we aim to give some guidance on relationships between clients and translators, while answering some of the questions people may have about translation services.
Some of the questions we plan to answer are:
- Where can I find a translator?
- How can I determine if a translator is good if I don't speak the language they translate into?
- What information do I need to provide to receive an accurate translation quote?
- What questions should I ask the translator?
- What questions should the translator be asking me?
- How do translators charge?
- What is the difference between a translator, an interpreter, an editor and a proofreader?
- What is a house style and does my organisation need one?
- What is a certified translation and can it be performed by anyone?
If there are any other questions related to translation, editing or languages that you would like answered, or if you have an idea for an article, please don't hesitate to get in touch at info[at]authentictranslations.co.uk or using the contact forms on this website.
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Blog under Test.
Still under development
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