australian language
In the Spotlight: The Language of Australia
June 30, 2015
europe 500 largest eretailers
The E-Commerce Race: EU’s Top E-Retailer is AMERICAN!
July 16, 2015

Website Translation: What to Avoid

website translation

Last updated on May 18th, 2021 at 12:46 pm

Website Translation: What to Avoid

The feeling of being ‘lost in translation’ is not a phenomenon limited to tourists in foreign countries- but also to visitors of poorly or partially translated websites!  

A common mistake clients make when planning for website localization, is that they plan strictly within a set budget without considering the potential financial impact of not translating or localizing certain parts.  In other words: Less to translate/localize = Less costly. 

Trimming workload may save you money for now, but your sales (and reputation!) will be hurt in the long run as your customers begin to avoid purchasing from – let alone visiting- a subpar website.

As a translation company, our job is to inform.  In this entry, we place you in your website users’ shoes.  What would your users experience if your website was not properly localized & translated

1) Partial Translations in Pages
As discussed in our previous post, the dangers of choosing not to localize/translate certain parts of your webpage range from confusing your clients, to violating certain legal or regulatory requirements.  Additionally- by leaving pieces of information untranslated on a partially translated page, you’re essentially keeping information from your target clients which could create a level of distrust in your company.  

Keep in mind:  You may choose to select main pages for translation instead of translating the entire website.  Think about the most relevant parts of your site.

2) Unlocalized Images
It is important to remember that images that seem appropriate to you might not be acceptable to clients from other cultures.  Appearance is the first impression clients get upon visiting your site for the first time.  Don’t let your website’s first impression be one that offends your clients!

3) Poor Translations
We’ve had a laugh over some mistranslations, but the long term effects are not so funny.  Like having unlocalized images- a poorly translated website is a sure way to drive your potential clients away.  After all, you wouldn’t use a website you did not understand!  Being able to reach your clients by ‘speaking’ their language means using proper grammar and spelling- consistently.  It’s a basic part of showing respect to your clients. 

Keep in mind: Raw Machine Translations such as Google Translate and Bing Translator provide very rough translations of source documents.  This is due to the fact that raw MTs are not ‘trained’ to recognize industry specific terminology.  For an example, take a look at a Google Translated excerpt of our Spanish website:

The term “localization”, a term specific to the Translation Industry, was not recognized by Google resulting in a mistranslation of “localizacion” as “location”. 

Keep in mind: Developing a complete Glossary is the best way to prevent poor translations.  The glossary of industry specific terminology is how customized machine translations are trained to produce industry appropriate translations, with the help of the translator. 

4) Errors in Display, Images not matching source content
Blank spaces where images or text should be, red X’s where graphics should show- all make your website look incomplete. 

5) Navigation errors
Like road signs pointing in the wrong direction, too many navigation errors cause frustration for users.  What’s more, such errors project an unprofessional image of your company- it shows you don’t really care if your customers are able to get to the information they need.  Your website is a representation of your company, show that you care about your clients’ needs by making sure all links work properly! 

6) Information not updated in your multilingual site
Your company is ever-evolving.  Every time you introduce new products/services, or special offers on your source website- this information must be updated in your multilingual webpages.  Neglecting to update will keep a large group of your clients from staying up to date with your Company’s offerings.  Also, for multilingual clients- it is not difficult to spot this error! If they see that your English site has a special sale that’s not on the target language site- you’ll have some explaining to do! 

7) Be Mindful of Multilingual SEO
One of the purposes of creating a multilingual website is to generate multilingual SEO.  How high your company’s website ranks in each target market depends on the quality of your multilingual content.  Selecting the wrong keywords in titles and alt-tags can affect your website’s ability to rank in your desired target markets. 

Your most valued relationship is the one you share with all of your customers.  Reaching out to potential customers globally is an effort that requires sensitivity and care, and is possible with the help of a professional translation company.  If you are looking to take your website global, please feel free to contact us to schedule a meeting. 

Flora Yu
Flora Yu
Flora was born and raised in New York to parents from Hong Kong and Taiwan. She has a degree in Accounting. She is fluent in Mandarin, and contributes a unique perspective as someone who was raised in 2 different cultures. She finds humor and opportunities to learn as she constantly searches for the balance between the East and West.