The preferred strategy for businesses large and small is to localize. Localization actually prompts the major search engines to push your website organically, helping with global outreach in a way that cannot be accessed otherwise. As more people figure out the strategy, however, localization becomes more expensive.
The burning question for marketers of this generation is how to translate a website on a budget. There are certain best practices that can serve a business in any industry. We will go over those best practices here.
Prepare a Website Translation Strategy from the Beginning
Begin your digital marketing strategy by considering international markets. Regardless of the size of your business, you never know who might be interested in purchasing your products. More than 3 billion people make use of the World Wide Web on a daily basis. Just under 50% of them are from Asia. 20% of them are from America with another 20% coming from Europe. These three markets alone give you plenty of variance in the localization strategies that you will employ.
Although your business may be small, you are thinking big. You will save a great deal of money in the future if you start out your campaigns with local localization for your chosen markets lined up ahead of time. For instance, if you know that your product has a great chance of succeeding in China, drill down into micro local communities that are best served by your products and transcreate your message into the Chinese dialects that correspond with those particular areas.
Understand People’s Habits
You may think that your audience is sophisticated enough to translate your website into their language if you choose to stick to your mother tongue. After all, Google Translate is easy enough for anyone to use, right?
Wrong. Over 72% of consumers on the Internet spend the majority of their time on websites that are written in their mother tongue. If those languages do not match, then you are missing out on those sales.
Design a Template
After you determine the locations to hit and the language to use, design a template of your website that can be considered your “standard” no matter how many localized websites you create. One of the best techniques is to leave a great deal of white space in your design. This allows you flexibility in your translations – different languages take up different amounts of space on the screen.
Make sure not to hardcode your CTAs into your website. The standardized portion of your website should be as sparse as possible, with your localized content filling in the spaces in between. Do not overload your website with multimedia content, especially if you plan on marketing your wares in second or third world countries. Internet speeds are not as fast in these places as they might be in your home country.
The less content you have, the less of a chance you have of offending someone. An image that may be funny in Western culture can be completely offputting in Muslim culture or Asian culture. Less is more, and it keeps you from having to change your website unnecessarily. Remember that each change will cost you more money.
Get the Right Team
If you are on a budget, then you may not be able to put together a huge team. That’s fine. You do not have to have the biggest team in order to succeed in the international marketplace. You need people who understand the local markets that you chose in the first steps of this process.
If you hire people with experience in your target markets, you will likely get much more efficiency out of them. First of all, they know how to research the local areas in order to provide you the best information for language colloquialisms and standardized templates. Your designers may double as translators if you are lucky, saving you money on this expense.
Make sure that you hire developers who understand how to work with different human and programming languages. Understanding translators is an absolute dealbreaker in the international market. Moreover, these people need to be able to work with each other over remote hubs. Keep in mind that you may have to coordinate schedules between different geographical regions and time zones.
Proper keyword research is essential to holding costs down for your website. The better that your keyword research is, the less money that you have to spend on paid advertisements. Your goal is to encourage the major search engines to push your content organically in search results. Keywords are literally the key to this happening.
Keep in mind that you are looking at different search engines as the standard for different areas of the world. Not everyone uses Google as their number one search engine. Yandex is number one in Russia. Baidu is the search engine in use in China. All of these search engines have different performance indicators and algorithms for choosing relevant content. Familiarize yourself with the techniques of each search engine so that you will have the greatest chance of success in different geographic areas.
Automate Your Website Translation & Localization
Regardless of the scale of your project, trying to localize your website manually is usually a mistake. There is simply too much room for human error. Furthermore, the level of translation management software packages on the market today are simply too good to ignore. You get rid of the human error and you save time, which eventually leads to saving money.
Make sure that your software has an API to optimize your use of automation. You will also need collaboration functions that allow you to communicate effectively with every member of your team. Direct website translation is also incredibly important. Keep in mind that the amount of translation memory that you have allows you to speed up projects immensely.
For companies with large scale content requirements, such as ecommerce or catalogs, consider machine translation and automated translation solutions to reduce costs and speed up turn around. When combined with machine translation post-editing, human quality translations are achievable.
The planning that you take will save money in the long run by avoiding common problems and invoking research to precisely direct your localization efforts from day one.
Website translation may take some time to implement at first, but the investment is well worth the time spent. Any upfront funds will usually pay themselves back with a properly implemented campaign. Keep the best practices above in mind as you focus your website on its most important customers in different markets around the world.[:]