You are reading part 2 of out website localisation guide which outlines our tips to help with your website localisation and translation project. In 10 Tips for Website Translation and Localisation part 1 we covered, choosing your correct audience, knowing what website type to choose from and a little about your multilingual SEO strategy and how it plays into the wider website localisation plan.
In part 2 we look at your UI and UX experience for your international website and how it matters when thinking about website localisation, as well as your server considerations.
Tip 6 – Make language selection easy and visible
When a new user lands on your website it should be very easy for them to see that there are different languages available. You can achieve this by placing the language selection in either the header of the website or in the footer. Some also choose to create an entire landing page or pop-up splash screen.
User experience is paramount, make sure you do not automatically redirect users to their own language, taking choice away can be very frustrating. A user might have Italian as their browser language but could be an English speaker and want to browse in English. Forcing them over to an Italian translated website will only annoy them and most likely cause them to bounce.
Tip 7 – Website Localisation is not just about the words.
When you start localising your website for different languages, a part of the process should also look at imagery and colour.
Cultures see images and colour differently to each other. Green can mean jealously in the West but in the East it can be a sign of fertility. Knowing what nuances different cultures have can make a big difference on how those audiences will engage with a website.
Understanding the culture of your audience is important as your brand might be perceived differently because of its colours. This could also affect your website localisation and could require colours to be changed depending on the market you with to target.
Tip 8 – UX and UI matter for website localisation
Successful website localisation means making sure it looks and works as it does in the original language. This has to be the same for both desktop, tablet and mobile versions.
Languages will affect elements on a website differently, some will be longer and others will be shorter. Buttons can break onto two lines and other elements can ruin the flow of the page if these considerations are not taken into account.
Pro Tip #5 – The word basket uses 6 characters in English but 13 in German. Knowing your word lengths considerations will better prepare your website layout when it comes to localising that language.
Tip 9 – Server considerations
You server’s physical location does affect your website localisation in terms of speed. If it is based in the West but you want to target your new website to China, it will be slower for them to download the information. China’s internet is quite slow on average; getting users to download content from the UK would take more than the 2-3 seconds users are willing to wait.
CDN’s (Content Delivery Network) or cloud based servers are one way of combating the geographical issues faced when looking at website translation and localisation. CDN’s work by storing cached version of the website files and is able to serve them to the user at the closest location, speeding up the process. Cloud based server hosting is similar, but instead hosts your entire website in the “cloud” being able to be requested from the closest location much like a CDN.
Tip 10 – Get professional help for your website localisation
Now you could go at it alone and work your way through piece by piece, but hiring a language services expert will give you advice and direction. Website localisation can take time in the right circumstances, so going in alone for the first time can make it even longer. Seeking help means not making their mistakes again, saving your own time and money.
Look for a company who deals in the languages that you want and has translator who have worked on website localisation projects before. If you have an eCommerce website, see if they offer any translation memory as part of their services. Storing translated phases can save both time and money the more the memory is used to build a glossary of terms.
Finally, look to see if they have any experience in Multilingual SEO. It is great if they can translate your website but if they are not able to see how SEO ties in, you could be doing the same work twice over.
These 10 tips for website localisation over cover the very beginning of what happens within a project. There are many other things to consider and much more can be expanded upon such as the server configuration and multilingual SEO.