Website localisation is more than translation
Updated: Jul 31
In our previous blog article we raised the point against using automated translation tools for your web pages in multiple languages. Google advises not to use such tools, as automatically translated pages do not generate quality content required for search engine optimisation and may even be viewed as spam.
But if you decide to sell your products or services in other markets, is translating your website by a language specialist the only thing you need to do with your website? While speaking your customer’s language is part of your route to success, there are other country-specific differences which are worth considering. You need to make it easy for your customer to navigate through your website and make correct buying decisions.
For example, are you going to give pricing in different currencies? If you decide to sell to Russia, will you list your product prices in pound sterling, US dollars, Euros or Russian roubles? Remember, the Russian consumer protection law forces merchants to quote prices in Russian roubles.
Or if you take measurements and weight, will you be using the same imperial system from your main website in the Russian version? Straight translation may not be too helpful here, your average Russian consumer won’t know how long an inch is or how big is a gallon. Your measurements would need to be adapted to the metric system. It’s very important to talk this through with your Russian translator.
In your contact details section, will you copy your head office address or get a local phone number? Even if you don’t have a local phone number, the translation should at least include the country code for your switchboard. Copying the contact details from your main English page won’t do, you want to make life easier for your potential customer, don’t make them Google country codes before ringing you!
The same is true for business hours. If you list those, your foreign language page should take into account time zones. There’s no harsher disappointment than calling a dead phone line!
And finally, will you be launching a totally new domain for your overseas target market, i.e. example.ru, example.de, example.es or just a subdirectory, eg. example.com/ru?
All of these things are vital when localising your website which in effect is your shop window on the Internet where content is king. For your content to be found online, your website needs to be SEO optimised in another language and popular keywords will vary between countries. As a search engine, Google may well be holding the reins of power in most countries, but in Russia, for example, Yandex is more popular.
Lots to consider when launching a website in another language and localisation is more than just translation.
[Tip: If you need help launching a Russian version of your website, email us firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 0436940 to discuss].