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How to Produce a Great Website Translation That’s Still Budget-Friendly

Your customers deserve the same positive, intentional experience when they visit your website, regardless of which language they speak. Translating and localizing your website is a great way to not only reach a broader scope of people, but to also connect and engage with these individuals in the same way you would with your English-speaking site visitors. Although a fully immersive website experience with each page translated into every language you’re targeting would be ideal, most companies cannot afford to make such an investment, especially in the beginning. Fortunately, this isn’t usually necessary. Here are some tips for translating your website effectively, while still keeping your overall budget in mind.

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Ways to stretch your translation budget while still delivering an effective experience

Before requesting any translations, it’s important to have a plan. Planning for the audiences and pages you want to prioritize will help keep you aligned with your overall financial goals.

  • Choose the language(s) you’d like to prioritize. If you plan to localize your content for multiple domestic or international audiences, it may be easiest to handle a select few first. Decide which languages and markets will be most beneficial for your company to reach, and which will provide the biggest ROI. In most cases, you do not have to handle every language you may ultimately wish to target at once. 

Often, it’s better to translate to just a few languages at first so that you can learn from these. If there’s anything you’d like to change about the process (on either your end or your translation provider’s end), you’ll know for the next set of languages which will make the process easier for you! It will also allow you to spread out the costs of localization over time, which may be more desirable for your company’s budget.

  • Reduce the scope of the project if needed. In the same way you prioritize which languages to tackle first, you should also decide which of your web pages are most important. While it’s nice to have a fully translated website in every language, not everything may be relevant for your target market. Choose the pages that will help you reap the most benefits from your investment, and either save the rest for later, or leave them in English, depending on your long-term goals.

  • Make sure the text you are sending for translation is current and up-to-date. No one wants to pay for the same service twice! If you’re unsure when pages may be scheduled for an update, it may be worth asking the various departments who oversee their portion of your company website if they plan to make updates to their respective pages. If they’ll be updating content in the coming weeks, and if you have a timeline that allows you to wait for any potential updates to be applied, it would be worthwhile to delay the start of the translation project to make sure everything is in its final version.

How to decide what to translate now (and what to save for later)

Localizing your website’s content can be done in stages. You’ll want to decide which pages are relevant for and important to your domestic or international audience and which can remain in English at the beginning.

  • What should you prioritize for translation? Ultimately, what you decide to prioritize will depend on your company’s mission and vision for your domestic or international reach. But we would recommend prioritizing:

    • Your home and landing pages

    • Your mission statement and/or “About Us” page(s)

    • Any sections or pages that may be considered part of your sales funnel

    • Contact forms

    • High-traffic pages that are relevant for your target markets

Since you want site users to have a seamless and positive experience, any pages that allow them to get to know and trust your company, as well as those that help turn them into paying customers, should be first on the list when deciding what to translate.

  • What can usually wait for later (or just be left in English)? There may be parts of your website that are not quite as relevant for your non-English-speaking audience. These are the types of pages that can either be left for later when you’ve got the budget for additional content, or can just be left entirely in English, depending on your specific goals. Some examples of these types of sections may be:

    • Product landing pages for products that will not be sold in areas where the target language is spoken

    • A careers page for local job opportunities

    • Upcoming local event notices if the market you’re targeting is not local to your area

Things to plan for and consider once your translation is complete

Having your website content translated is a huge step forward when it comes to getting your multilingual website up and running. Here are a few other things you may want to keep in mind when planning your budget:

  • If your site is updated often, you’ll want to account for frequent ongoing maintenance costs. Your website experience should be the same for all users, no matter which language they speak. This means that if your English content is updated, your translations should be updated to reflect these changes as well. 

  • Make sure your site is set up to accept the sales you’re aiming to funnel in. An exceptional translation won’t do much good if your customers cannot complete their sale. If you are launching products in Italy, for instance, not only should your website be translated into Italian, but you should also make sure your site is set up to accept foreign payments and communications. The shipping and billing section should not request a US zip code during checkout, for example. Moreover, product descriptions must use the metric system instead of the imperial system, and the cost of your products or services should be reflected in Euros instead of USD.

  • Decide if you’ll offer customer support in the languages of your target customers. If customers browse your site in German, you should expect to receive phone calls and emails from customers who expect to communicate in that language. Determine whether or not you’d like to implement customer support options in these languages, or if telephonic interpreting might be a better and more budget-friendly option.

Offering a positive multilingual website experience is a wonderful way to strike a balance between customer needs and your business goals. Not only will you be able to reach new audiences just by having information available to customers in their native language, you’ll be on your way to gaining their respect and trust, while seeing a return on the investment and staying aligned with your budget.

Should You Translate Your Blog?

If your company has a goal to reach a non-English-speaking market, you may have considered whether or not you should translate your content marketing blog posts in order to reach your new target demographic. There are many options available for blog translation, but not all of them may fit your company’s specific needs. Before all else, it’s important to understand whether or not it makes sense for your company to translate your blog posts. So how do you know whether or not you should translate your blog? And if you decide to pursue it, what are some things you should consider as you begin?

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What are the benefits of translating your blog?

Translating your blog can have several benefits when it comes to reaching non-English speaking markets, both domestically and abroad. These benefits include: 

  • Increasing organic search traffic

  • Enhancing your reputation and building trust with non-English speaking visitors

  • Helping more people by disseminating information to a wider range of visitors 

  • Growing sales as you convert your new site visitors into fans and paying customers

Blog posts are a great way to reach new audiences if you write them consistently and with a genuine desire to help. When you choose to translate your content, you essentially add new and valuable content to the web for those searching for answers and solutions. This can help increase your SEO ranking when handled correctly. And if your content is translated well, you’ll build loyal customers as they learn to trust and engage with your brand.

Are there disadvantages to translating your blog? Why doesn’t everyone do it?

While translating your blog can certainly bring you new customers and sales, it is important to note that there are some disadvantages to consider, such as:

  • Unlike a typical website translation, blog translations are not one-and-done projects until you decide to revamp the website.

  • Depending on how many blog posts you’d like to translate, costs can increase quickly.

  • Your Return on Investment (ROI) is unknown at first, so taking the leap without knowing what your ROI will be can create some uncertainty when it comes to budgeting.

A well-maintained blog is regularly updated, so having the posts professional translated is an ongoing project. Knowing whether or not your company is ready to tackle a project like this will help you determine if making this move is the right step for your company. Just remember that content marketing is incredibly valuable right now, as more and more people are searching the web for information before they make a purchasing decision.

When should you consider making the investment to translate your blog?

Thankfully, there are a few things you can consider that will help you determine whether or not you should look into translating your blog for a non-English-speaking audience. Here are some things to ask yourself:

  • Does your current blog bring in revenue? If so, your chances of seeing increased revenue from translated content is higher, since you know your content is already crafted in a way that results in sales from current customers.

  • Are you pursuing these target markets in other ways already? If you have marketing materials, advertisements, social media posts, and a website already translated and localized for these markets, you are already building their trust. The blog may be a great way to then expand on that relationship.

  • Do you have the budget for an ongoing translation project? If the answer is no, see the Options section below. There may be another fit that’s right for your company if this is your only hesitation. 

Whom should you target?

Perhaps it seems to go without saying, but you do not need to translate your blog into various languages if it will not benefit you. Consider which languages will make the most sense for your company and your ROI and go from there.

  • If your website is already translated, focus on those languages for your blog content translations. If it is not already translated, it doesn’t have to be out of your budget. If your current non-English-speaking site visitors can also access your blog in their native language, you can more easily grow your site traffic organically. 

  • Determine which languages your target market speaks. If you want to grow your Canadian customer base, for example, you may wish to focus on producing content in Canadian French.

  • Use Google Analytics to find out where your foreign website traffic is coming from for your current blog posts. You may be losing many of these visitors without a translation available, and if you are not already targeting these languages, it may be worth looking into. Lost visitors mean lost revenue.

What are your blog translation options? Do you have to translate every post to be effective?

There are many options for what to consider when it comes to translating your blog. It does not have to be all or nothing. Here are a few options for translation that you can keep in mind before making a final decision.

  • If your blog is wildly popular and already bringing in substantial revenue from your English-speaking visitors, it may be prudent to translate each blog post as you write them, as well as some of your most popular or recent content. What does well in English may not have the same impact in other languages, but it’s still quite possible that a great amount of your content is appealing to non-English-speaking readers and customers.

  • If your blog is “hit or miss,” you may decide to take a “wait and see” approach by just translating a few of your best-performing blogs. Bear in mind this approach will not work if your blog posts are time-sensitive in nature.

  • You can also decide in advance what content you’d like to have translated based on what type of information you want to make available to your multilingual target market. If there are blog posts that won’t be as relevant to this customer base, plan to keep those English and only translate the posts that cater to specific target audiences.

What else should you consider before taking the steps to translate your blog?

If you decide that translating your content marketing blog posts is the next right step for your company, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before hitting publish on your translated content to ensure you maximize your SEO strategy and outreach.

  • Translate the tags for foreign-language posts. Even the best translation won’t show up as often in a search result if your tags are not translated into terms your target market is actively searching. They won’t be searching for these keywords in English; they’ll be searching for them in their primary language. The tags you use should reflect this as well.

  • If you link to other blog posts or sites, make sure the links you use lead to the translated version whenever possible. If you are linking to another blog post on your own website, for example, it would be helpful to translate the blog post you are linking to. That way, your readers have a seamless experience when browsing your website and topics. If you link to an outside source that you cannot find in your target reader’s language, it may be helpful to let your reader know (in parentheses) that the page you’re linking to is in English so they can decide whether or not to click away from your blog to follow the link. 

  • Translate the name of any images you include in your post. Naming your image files something relevant to your blog topic helps your blog show up more often in search results. These image names should be translated to reap the same benefits when you add them to your translated blog as well. 

  • Recreate infographics to include translated text. If you create an infographic for your English-speaking audience, make sure the text of the infographic is translated, too, so that your non-English-speaking readers will be able to read what you’ve created (and share it with their friends/colleagues!).  

Why it’s important to use a qualified translation agency and avoid automatic translation tools

It can be tempting to install a plugin that translates your website content automatically. After all, it’s free and instantaneous. But these translations are typically laden with errors, which can be detrimental for your brand. Here are a few reasons to always use a qualified translation professional instead of automatic translation tools:

  • Automatic translations create mistakes. These tools translate copy quite literally. If a word has multiple meanings, or you are using colloquialisms or figures of speech, your content is almost guaranteed to be mistranslated. Native speakers will be turned off by incorrect or unnatural sounding language, which means you will repel the audience you were hoping to attract. A competent agency will employ a translation team that makes sure to capture the meaning and nuances of your content, as it was originally intended to be read.

  • Machine translation errors could have potentially disastrous results. Depending on the type of information you want translated, there could even be legal ramifications if something is translated erroneously. This is far less likely to occur if you use a professional translation agency. In fact, agencies and professionals should carry Errors & Omissions Insurance to cover these rare instances. This helps to protect you if something is incorrectly translated and causes damage to your company, brand or customers.

  • Freshly translated content is not considered duplicate content, so it’s helpful with SEO! However, pages built with machine translation or automatic translation could negatively impact your site’s SEO. Google has actually covered this topic, saying that auto-generated content is usually removed from their indexes entirely. It’s just not worth the risk to lose SEO potential by automatically translating these pages.

“In general, when we determine that a page contains only auto-generated content, we may remove it from our index...This may sound a bit harsh, but auto-generated content that is created for search engines is a really bad idea and a waste of our resources.”

No matter your decision, we are here to answer any questions you may have about the process of translating your blog content in a way that is beneficial and unique to your company’s needs. And if you have already had some of your posts translated, we’d love to hear about your experience. Let us know in the comments!

How a Quality Website Translation Will Help You Reach More Customers

In the current economy, eCommerce is the go-to shopping platform for many consumers, and the number of online shoppers grows each year. This opens up an effective way to reach new target demographics, both in the U.S. and abroad. In order to reach these demographics, your company should aim to use marketing materials, both print and online, in the preferred language of your target consumers. Your website is the perfect way to reach these consumers... if translated professionally! Here’s how a quality website translation will help you reach more customers.

Don’t assume an English-only website will suffice.

On the whole, people prefer to read information in their native language. By maintaining your website only in English, you risk alienating an entire potential consumer group. In fact, a study by Common Sense Advisory found that over half of consumers simply will not make a purchase on a website if information is not readily available in their native language. 

Translating print materials and advertisements may not be enough.

If you have taken the step to translate some of your marketing materials, like advertisements, mailers and flyers, it is even more critical to offer a seamless website experience in those languages. If a customer is intrigued enough that it drives them to visit your website to learn more, they will expect to find information available in their language once they land on your website. If the process feels seamless and easy for consumers, they are more likely to continue through the sales funnel, because they feel they can trust your company, as well as the information presented.

You could reach more people than you realize with a quality website translation.

More than two-thirds of the world’s internet users speak a language other than English primarily. If you are looking to target a demographic outside of the U.S., it is imperative that you localize your website for these users specifically. Even if you are only looking to reach more U.S. users, the census data shows more than 15% of all adults in the U.S. speak a language other than English at home. This is a large percentage of the population that you could reach in a market where not everyone is already doing so, potentially giving you a huge advantage over competitors.

A quality website translation is an investment in your business. While it may be tempting to use a free translation service or ask a friend who studied the language to do it for you cheaply, this could have disastrous effects for your company and brand. You worked hard on creating the perfect text for your website; make sure that level of quality is reflected in the translation, too! A professional translation will not only correctly display the text in the desired language, it will also capture the nuances and tone you intend to convey to your new target audience, resulting in a more positive experience for your users... and more sales for your company!

If you are interested in translating your website, but are concerned about the budget for the initial investment, we recommend reading Translating and Localizing your Website on a Budget: Where to Begin

And of course, if you have any questions or concerns, let us know. The ATS team is always available  to help.