Neil Payne

Article Summary:

How to ensure a proper website translation.

Website Translation Services: Five Points to Consider

Websites are now a crucial part of most businesses. They generate revenue, offer an avenue for promotion and are an easily accessible means of providing information on a company. However, the global economy now demands that companies look beyond national borders if they wish to expand.

Many developing countries now have internet access, internet cafes can be found from Bogotá to Bangkok and the falling costs of PC's means more home users are logging on. This means there is a large pool of potential visitors to your site. However, the majority of these will not speak English. Website translation is therefore critical.

Website translation is currently big business as companies and site owners begin to realise its benefits. Type `website translation' into the major search engines and you are instantly met with paid advertisements and streams of links to `relevant' sites. However, it is important to carefully consider any website translation project properly as there are many potential pitfalls.

Firstly, when tasking someone to undertake your website translation be sure to establish credentials. Ask to look at previous work, ask for a sample or ask for a reference. A translator must have qualifications, training and experience.

Secondly, ensure you explain clearly why you need website translation. What is the purpose? Is there a target audience? Ensure you provide clear and accurate information on the company and the website. All this helps the translator properly reflect your needs in the translation work.

Thirdly, do not cut corners by using electronic translations. They may be useful for plain sentences but not for your website content. It is inconceivable that a software programme can translate metaphors, similes, innuendos and colloquial phrases. Website translation is a major investment, so do not approach it lightly. You need human beings to analyse your content and transfer the meaning in the best way possible.

Fourthly, consider the impact culture can have on the website translation project. For example, is the language pitched appropriately at the target culture? Should it be formal or informal? Are there pictures, colours or images that would cause offense? A good website translation company will analyse your site and offer you a cultural applicability consultation. This will then help you make modifications to ensure your website appeals to the target culture.

Fifthly, many website translation companies will translate your website content then consider the job done. However, most websites are constantly changing in style and content. A decent website translation company will offer an after-care service that assists in helping you with the small changes, if not as part of the original fee then for a small charge.

Website translation is not as straightforward as other translation projects. There are too many variables involved that, if not considered properly, can ruin a website translation.

Consider the potential revenue a decent website translation could generate long term and invest wisely.

Neil Payne has travelled, worked and studied extensively in the Middle East. Based in London, UK, he has successfully completed an MA in Middle Eastern Studies at SOAS University. Drawing on his experience as a language teacher, translator and cultural consultant, he has established Kwintessential Ltd., a cross cultural communications consultancy that provides cultural awareness training, language tuition, translation and interpretation. For more information, visit our "Cross Cultural Communication section" at

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