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Revising Website Translations

Last updated on February 15th, 2022 at 11:21 am

The Mission of Website Translation Services

Website translation services have one mission. Translating must successfully convey an idea from one language to another. Moreover, quality website translation services must keep the meaning of an idea as intact as possible. But professional translation services don’t just move ideas.

Instead, professional translation services move meaning and purpose across potential boundaries. For example, if two people do not communicate in the same language, how can their conversation have meaning and purpose? An effective translation helps preserve such meaning and purpose.

Furthermore, a quick revision by a linguistic professional localizes your content for a particular region. This process keeps your original meaning, improves your brand recognition, and yields a more significant ROI

Website Translation for Increased Profits

Think of this problem in a business setting. You’ve designed a marketing campaign for a new product or service. The creative minds in the marketing department pulled out all the stops. As a result, your SEO strategy should lead to a sizeable increase in your conversion rate. Suppose your product or service has a high demand among Spanish-speaking consumers.

The United States alone has over 42 million Spanish-speaking internet users. Thinking globally, over 360 million Spanish-speaking people use the internet. Without proper Spanish translation, you will likely lose web traffic (and sales to boot!). Therefore, website translation remains integral to your business.

Enlisting the aid of professional translation services means increased visibility for your brand, as well as higher profits.

Consider your appeal to an international audience as well. A complete Spanish translation might send your products overseas to internet users in Argentina, Colombia, and Spain. Professional translation services open doors for your business that you might have never seen before. 

Website Translation Workflows

Website translation can become an arduous process with many different steps. Various website translation services exist, all of which have pros and cons. For example, copying and pasting generally seems a less expensive option. However, it has a high probability of human error. A user can easily make a mistake, particularly if they do not know the target language. It also shifts the cost and burden of the copy-paste to the website developer.

On the other hand, some professional translation services might employ the word extraction workflow from the content management system used for the website. This option ensures that no text will go missing during the website translation process. Most Content Management Systems have a tool to export the content in a structured file format such as XML or XLIFF. Some CMS’s also have an option to automatically create the structure of the pages in the target language, and create the links between them and between all the other languages. This significantly reduces the cost of website development. Before selecting a CMS, check this function, as it will reduce the total cost of translating your websites.

Expansion and Contraction During Website Translation

For website translation services, expansion and contraction can present further difficulties. As you know, languages have different words. Each has its own unique written characters and symbols.

Preserving the meaning beneath the words sometimes means using more words. In website translation circles, we refer to this as “expansion.” On the contrary, translating one language into another can produce fewer words. We term this “contraction.”

You may wonder, “why does this matter for my business?” Expansion and contraction can affect the layout of your website. Changing the number of words on a page can alter the other content on your web page. Recall the Spanish translation example above. When translating from English, a Spanish translation has an expansion rate of 15% – 30%. By contrast, translating Spanish into English has a contraction rate of between 5% and 15%. Bear this in mind when vetting website translation services. A website translation may appear thorough and accurate. But everything needs revision before a client sees it.

In Website Translation, Spaces Have Significance

Perhaps you don’t need a Spanish translation. Your brand might cater to consumers that speak Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. Chinese and Japanese have much broader expansion and contraction rates than Spanish. In Asian languages, one space after a character will completely change the meaning of the content. For this reason, it is very important that after the website is published, it be revised to make sure that no stray spaces have been added or deleted. This is another reason to avoid the copy-paste workflow for Asian language websites.

For example, Chinese translations might expand or contract by up to 60%. The Japanese language has a similar range of expansion and contraction.

Spanish falls into the category of Latin-based languages. Other Latin-based languages include French, Romanian, Italian, and Portuguese. In these languages, a space may not directly impact a website translation. But in Asian languages, like Chinese and Japanese, a space can change the meaning of the text.

Even professional translation services can have errors. Hence, every translation needs close attention to detail. An untrained eye might overlook the importance of a space. When you hire website translation services, make sure they revise after translating.

LTR and RTL Languages in Website Translation Services

In English, we’ve grown accustomed to reading from left to right. One would also read a Spanish translation of English content from left to right. To a native English speaker, reading left-to-right might appear natural.

However, not every language reads from left to right. Some languages that read right-to-left include Arabic, Urdu, and Hebrew. Roughly 350 million people in the world speak Arabic as their native language. Twenty-six nations list Arabic as their official language. About 6 million people speak Hebrew worldwide. One will hear Urdu spoken in Pakistan, Nepal, and India.  

To expand your brand’s reach, you may need professional translation services that cater to Arabic speakers. Arabic has an expansion rate of about 25%. So not only will you have more words, but they’ll read from a different direction.

When a website is translated into a language that is written from right to left, the layout of the translated website should be flipped over as well. In other words, all of the layout, logo, and images should be placed on the website on the other side of the page, so that when the reader sees it, it is in the correct location for the way the copy is flowing. This is a detail that will not go unnoticed if it is not done properly.

When revising content for your website translation, you will need to reformat content to accommodate these changes. A failure to do so will cause your content to appear unprofessional to prospective clients. Consequently, you may see a decrease in profits.

Think about Multilingual SEO

Is your website optimized for search engines? If not, you are probably losing a significant number of visitors, and this probably hurts the goals of your website. If you have optimized your website with SEO, then you are in a good place to extend this SEO to other languages. Multilingual SEO is the process of extending your SEO from one language to the others into which it is translated. This will require additional keyword research in the target languages and keyword optimization in the translated website.

What do I need to translate on the website?

When you translate your website, you not only need to have the visible content on the pages translated. you may also need to translate:

  • Meta Tags and other metadata that is not visible on the website. This will improve your SEO ranking
  • Text on images on the website
  • Dynamic content from applications and visual effects
  • Interactive messaging
  • Videos
  • PDF files

What is website localization?

When translating your website, you should think about who is the target audience. Just as you did when developing the website copy, you had a target audience in mind so the copy would speak to that audience (Age, industry, gender, ethnicity, income level, occupation, education level, religion, marital status), now that you are going to a new language and possibly country, there is an added level to consider. For example, Spanish is spoken in many countries, including the US. What target market are you going to translate the website for? You also want to make sure that the content is culturally sensitive to all the markets in which it will be published. Language localization services will ensure that your target market is addressed.

What to Keep in Mind When Revising a Website Translation?

Whether you need a Spanish translation or an Arabic one, you must revise your translation after the website is published. Revising the website will catch any linguistic or layout issues that happen when the translation is published. This will protect the intended meaning of your content. More than that, it means protecting the integrity of your brand. If potential clients cannot understand your message, they will not purchase from you.

But revision does more than safeguard your text. It bolsters the image of your business. Website translation influences all the different variables of your content. Think of your website as your digital business card. Videos, graphics, images, consumer data – all these elements play a role in your digital business card.

To learn more about JR Language Translation Services call at 866-389-3036 or send an email to [email protected] to  schedule a consultation.

Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela. Jackie has a BS in computer engineering; As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.