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Translation Tips for Multilingual Websites

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Going global is a goal for many businesses that have products and services to sell. There is growing international audience of consumers who are entering the middle class and whose buying power is expanding.

Taking advantage of these new markets means getting your website translated into one or more foreign languages, in order to grow your brand by giving foreign language users a great experience as they consider our products or services.

But establishing a multilingual website will involve more than just translating your content, product descriptions, and your blog.  Good translation sites involve what is called localization, not just translation.  The difference is pretty critical, and anyone wishing to present a website to a foreign audience should take heed of these tips.

Translation is Not Localization

Anyone can translate website content, product descriptions, and blog posts. That only requires fluency in the source and target languages. To present a website that foreign users will find engaging means that the cultural mores of the target audience, both in language and in visuals, must be honored.

For a business to successfully complete the localization process of a website, it needs a native of the target demographic – one who can review all content and visuals and ensure that they culturally appropriate and, ideally, compelling.

There have been lots of example of large enterprises making major “goofs” when they attempt to reach a foreign audience through their sites, ad copy, and social media platforms. Only by obtaining the services of reputable freelancer or translation service agency will a business owner get the results he wants.

In short, the best way to translate a website is to get the professional help that will provide the localization features that will work.

SEO is an Important Element

Most native-language websites and blogs are optimized for search engines. Keywords have been scientifically researched; unique content has been created; there has been a continued effort to achieve backlinks from reputable sources.

Once you go into a foreign market, however, these things change.

First, the keywords. Source language keywords and phrases may not be those that, when translated, are popular in the target language. There will need to be the same deep research into target language keywords. There are plenty of tools for this or agencies that can do the work for you.

A second part of SEO is the structure of the website itself.  It is most often recommended that companies have country coded top-level domains. This tells visitors that you have a site specifically designed for them, not just one that they access in another language and then click over to a translation. Another tip? Make the domain name keyword rich if possible – focusing on the product or service. How you translate a website URL really does count.

Still another part of SEO will be the use of Hreflang tags for each page of your website. This will mean that all pages will be indexed correctly by both international and local search engines.

A final element of SEO will be getting those backlinks, just as you have done for your source language website. The same procedures should be put into place. Many business owners do not have the time and connections with target language blogs, forums, etc. to go after the reputable sources for backlinks. Employing professional services is usually the best bet.

Social Media Counts

Setting up social media accounts on popular local platforms can also be a way to drive plenty of traffic to a website.

Businesses that are serious about expanding into foreign markets must create localized websites that will be customized for that target foreign audience. This will require some budget if it is to be done right. Many businesses begin with one or two multilingual sites and expand further over time. However you choose to do it take these tips into account.