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The importance of content translation in creating global sites

01.07.2014
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Creating a global website is a huge task. In order for a global website to be successful, it needs to have content that has appeal on a worldwide scale without making any country feel alienated or disconnected. One of the most important steps in achieving this is translating your website's content into various languages. Professional website translation has been an essential component of successful global websites for years, but many people simply don't understand the importance of content translation. There are many reasons why professional website translation is important to global websites.
Global Connection
Your website can be available to every country in the world, but there will be little point if the majority of the population of those countries can't read your content. This is especially true of e-commerce websites. Few people will want to buy items or services from a website that isn't written in a language that they understand. This is mostly because they don't want to buy something that may not be exactly what they need or could possibly be a scam. In addition, they may not be able to buy the product or service anyway if they can't read the checkout screen properly. Content translation will hook in more visitors from other countries, keep them browsing longer and may prompt them to buy goods or services from your website.

Respect

If you're going to have a globally available website marketed to other countries, it seems disrespectful to not offer your website's content in their native languages. It makes it seem like you care about their business but not their experience in using your website. Translating your content to the languages used in the countries that you're offering your goods and services too seems more respectful and professional. This not only makes for a more pleasant experience for everyone involved, but it may also generate more business.

The Power of Persuasion

Persuasive language and convincing points are vital to attracting business, but these important aspects of your content will easily be lost to a person who doesn't understand the language that you're mainly using. Translating your content will allow people in other countries to understand the persuasive language and convincing points of your website's content, which may hook in more business.

SEO Content

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is an important aspect of many websites. Ensuring that your website is first or at least high on the list of search engine results for specific keywords and key phrases generates a lot of traffic for your website and draws in many customers for your business. While your content may be written for SEO purposes in your country, it may not be the same way in other countries. Other countries tend to have different keywords and key phrases when using search engines for specific purposes, and your keywords and key phrases might not match theirs. Translating your content as well as doing SEO research on several other countries that your service is available in can increase your global web traffic and increase business substantially.

Competition

One problem that most websites and businesses have is competition, and it can be incredibly difficult to figure out how to get an edge over your main competitors. However, translated content on a global website can give your business the edge that it needs to win out over the competition. Expanding to a global appeal over a local appeal by translating your content is a big job, but it will be worth the hassle if you're beating out the competition and increasing profits.

The Importance of Professional Translation Services

Some people may already realize how important translating website content is to global websites, but there is a disturbing trend in this practice. Many website and business owners have turned to translation software and websites to translate their content for them. It is a quick and easy way of translating website content, but it's not a very effective way of doing your website's translation work.

First of all, professional translation services are far more accurate in translation than translation software. Technology has advanced very far in the world of translation software, but it's far from perfect. Words and phrases frequently sound awkward or simply wrong when put through translation software. This can make your content seem incomprehensible or confusing.

Second, each country has their own manner of speaking that doesn't usually translate into other languages well, and translation software can't fix the content to specifically fit the style and speech patterns of other languages. In addition, there may be some aspects of our speech that could be offensive or confusing when directly translated. Professional translation services can tailor your content to specifically suit the styles and speech patterns of other languages to create a stronger connection to customers around the globe.

Third, you can't know how a website's content sounds after it's translated by a software unless you speak that language fluently. This means that you can't proofread the text or ensure that the right information is included. You'd need to hire someone to proofread it for you, which makes using the software to begin with somewhat pointless as there may be many changes that need to be made. A professional translator generally does a good enough job to begin with, but if a proofreading job is needed there are usually proofreaders from their company that will include the proofreading in the package for the job at a fairly low price.

Finally, some people can easily catch on to the fact that translation software was used to translate a website's content. While they may appreciate that you bothered to include a translated version of your website, they may find it slightly insulting or unprofessional that you merely copied and pasted the text into translation software instead of hiring a professional to do the job properly. This feeling may be increased if the content is poorly translated. Hiring a professional to properly translate your website's content will prevent possibly offending your customers with poorly translated content or making your website seem unprofessional.

Shaun Smith is a freelance writer who has been contributing to the Pactrans team for a number of years. His wealth of experience within linguistic translation makes him the ideal candidate to offer an insight into the benefits of translating content when creating global sites.

Published at DZone with permission of Paul Andrews, author and DZone MVB.

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