Category Archives: Localization

Translating and Localizing your Website on a Budget: Where to Begin

Expanding to a global market can be an exciting time for your business. Millions of Internet users speak a language other than English, and localizing your website to some of these specific target audiences allows your company the opportunity to reach a broader scope of people. Even in countries where English use is fairly widespread, consumers still prefer to seek out information in their native language, so having access to your content in that language will give your company an edge in a competitive market. Localization, which includes translation, also entails adapting your website’s content for other markets.

Ideally, all aspects of your company’s website would be fully translated and localized for all target audiences you have decided to reach. However, it is not always within a company’s budget to localize the entire website at once. Knowing where to begin can be helpful in terms of adhering to your budget while still making your website more accommodating for your domestic or international market. We’ve prepared some ideas to help get you started.

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Choosing your initial target audience(s)

If you plan to localize your content for multiple domestic or international audiences, it may be easiest to handle a select few first. Decide which languages and markets will be most beneficial for your company to reach. Not only will you have learned from the process of localizing the content for a few select audiences first, it will also allow you to spread out the costs of localization over time, which may be more desirable for your company budget.

Deciding which pages to localize

Localizing your website’s content can also come in stages. It is important to decide which pages are critical for your business, and which have messages that are important for your domestic or international audience. If you have a local events page or careers page, for example, these would not be of high importance to translate or localize, since they would only be necessary for your original English-speaking audience.

On the other hand, pages that are specific to your company’s brand, such as your mission statement or an About Us page, would be of higher priority so that your new customers feel connected with you from the beginning. Some other pages that may be important for your company to consider up front would be forms you need the customer to fill out like requests for information or pages with news about company updates.

Ultimately, what you decide to prioritize will depend on your company’s mission and vision for your domestic or international reach. We are always happy to assist you in deciding the best path to take when it comes to expanding to new audiences. Please feel free to contact us today for more information!

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Your Website is Translated… Now What?

Should You Localize Your Smart Phone Applications?

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Filed under Customer Service, Localization, Marketing, Translation Services

Your Website is Translated… Now What?

If you’ve recently translated your website, then you’ve taken a huge first step in terms of growing your marketing demographic! However, you may notice that your customer base does not necessarily grow right off the bat just based on the translated website alone. Your goal to expand your customer base into other cultures is a great one, and here are some steps to help drive traffic to your newly translated website and continue along the path of reaching this new demographic.

  • Create marketing plans aimed at bringing in your new target demographic. Advertise your content in sources relevant to this group, localizing your advertisements to reach these new customers. If your customers do not realize that there is an entire web page designed with them in mind, you won’t see the full benefit of its creation!
  • Use social media to your advantage! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are just a few popular social media channels that can help you reach more people faster. Know which social media platforms you’d like your company to start with, and focus on those. Learn what drives customer engagement across these channels and begin to implement these. Create a Facebook business page specific to your company’s niche within this target market. Point people to the content on your site whenever it’s relevant to send people there so that they engage with you where you’d like them to end up. Ensure your social media pages are easily identifiable as your own brand, but specific to your new market. If your company’s brand is typically associated with being carefree, make sure your new page adapts that perception, but tailor it to your audience. You might, for example, have someone run a “Business Name_Mexico” Instagram page to ensure the content is relevant. Such relevant and engaging content will drive your customers from social media to your website.
  • Engage with target customers on review sites when possible. This lets them know their voice is heard and that your company is serious about engaging with them in their own language on topics that are important to them.

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Once you’ve driven traffic to your website, it is important to keep these customers engaged to avoid losing them. Make your website visually appealing and tailor it to your target market. Be sure the first things your customers see when they visit the site are relevant to their needs. If it is not visually appealing or puts the customer off in any way, you run the risk of them leaving the website and not returning. You can also get feedback by surveying your customers while they’re using the site. Many people will gladly share their opinion and may help you identify any potential issues on the site as it relates to that culture (or in general!) and how you could possibly fix that going forward. This newly translated website is a great step in ensuring you are reaching your new customer base, and with the right focus on demographic going forward, you should see your website’s traffic increase along the way.

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Filed under Customer Service, Global Markets, Localization, Marketing, Translation Services

Is there such a thing as Universal Spanish in translation?

Although we know that producing translations that are localized as specifically as possible depending on the particular locale of your intended audience(s) can be fruitful, many people find it may not be realistic to have their project localized for all of the different varieties of Spanish spoken in different locales. In 2010, Spanish was ranked number two in terms of number of native speakers worldwide, falling second only to Mandarin. There are many different countries with Spanish speakers, and oftentimes, a company may want to release its product to an audience that spans across many of these different locales. While each area has a different dialect and therefore could require specific changes in the finalized, localized product, it is not always within someone’s budget to go through this process each time for every locale, and therefore, may pose the question, “Is there a universal Spanish I can use? Something everyone will understand?” The answer to this is both “yes” and “no” and may also depend on the text.

Even though there may not be an official “Universal Spanish” language dialect, there are certainly terms and phrases that are considered a more neutral version of the language, without the influence of local jargon or slang. The Real Academia Española, for example, strives to provide terms that are recognized by speakers of various dialects and does well to provide the standard definitions of words, as well as their various possible colloquial meanings, which may vary by country or region. For this reason, it is a good resource and starting point for a linguist who may wish to localize a translated text into a Spanish that is somewhat universal.

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However, it is still noteworthy to mention that the linguists performing both translation and proofreading or editing of your content are influenced by their own respective countries and locales, which can inadvertently impact a word choice for even the most skilled linguist. The team will work together to provide the most neutral Spanish possible, and a skilled team will provide a great rendition of the text with terms that are mostly universal. There is always a possibility that someone will read a translated word or phrase and still interpret in it a context that may not have been originally intended.

In short, it is definitely possible to translate a text and localize it for a more universal Spanish overall. However, in doing so, there is no guarantee that the language team will not choose a term or phrase that is more commonly used in one area over another, despite its general neutrality. If you know the target audience is specific to a few locales, it is best to let the project manager know so that he or she can ensure the finalized product is best suited for your needs. It may be the case that your text is better suited to a specific area, rather than trying to remain universal.

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Filed under Customer Service, Global Markets, Legal translation/interpreting, Localization, Marketing, Medical translation/interpreting, Translation Services

Should you Localize your Smartphone Applications?

If your company has recently launched a Smartphone app, or even if you’ve had an app that’s been out for quite some time, you may be wondering if it would be worth your while to localize that app. Localization, in this sense, basically entails adapting your product to another market or set of markets. This could mean language translation, but it could also mean adapting some of the images or audio files within the app, or even the marketing materials you use to promote it. All of this would fall under localization.

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “There’s an app for that,” then you may have an understanding of just how important apps have become in our society. People use them for just about everything. Having a Smartphone application puts your business, quite literally, in the palm of someone’s hand. If developed well, it’s convenient for the consumer to use and helps build brand loyalty and trust by delivering the information they need quickly and easily via their phone or other handheld device, just as they need or want it.

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Users are most likely to be drawn to an app designed for their native languages. If your business markets itself toward different demographics, then it is important that these demographics be represented in all facets of your business, including in the use of your Smartphone app. In fact, according to a 2012 report from Distimo, The Impact of App Translations, a study of 200 iPhone apps that launched in different native languages saw a 128% increase in downloads the week following that launch, and a 26% increase in revenue from these downloads. Applications localized into Chinese, Japanese, and Korean saw the most growth from this update.

Although the US/English app market is still the most dominant market to date, other markets are growing at an impressive rate (namely the Japanese and South Korean markets, but there is also quite a bit of growth in countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. Since a user feels most secure reading something in his or her own native tongue, the potential to actively engage and reach these users through a properly localized app can increase exponentially. If a user is interested in your brand and has a basic understanding of English, he may download your non-localized application. However, if he cannot decipher the language of the app well enough to make purchases, he may become hesitant to use it on a long-term basis, like he would an app in his own language. This can easily cause one to delete the app and disengage with a brand entirely.

Users value content in their native tongue, and the above statistics help demonstrate the impact that localizing a Smartphone application can have both on your business’ visibility, as well as on your potential revenue. If you are actively working to expand into other markets and demographics, then Smartphone application localization is definitely something worth investigating.

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Desktop Publishing: Should You Do It Yourself?

While managing your more complex translation projects that include graphs and images, you may find yourself wondering how to put the finalized product back together. If you request the translation of a travel brochure, for example, it is not as simple as copying the text of the translation and pasting it into a text box. The target language may be shorter or longer than the source text, which could impact how it fits inside the brochure or how the text wraps around any photos that may be on the pages. There may also be text within the photos that needs to be translated and rearranged to fit within it as well.

Ensuring that the layout of the translated brochure matches the source brochure is important to delivering a worthy finalized product to your customers. If the brochure looks sloppy or poorly put together, you run the risk of losing the customers you’re intending to reach by translating it. Your customers are more likely to be drawn to an appealing layout, so it is essential that the layout match the original, and this can be handled through a process called Desktop Publishing (DTP).

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This process is simplified by using a specific type of computer software designed to rearrange all of the text and graphics or images to design the project and fit a specified layout. Deciding whether or not your company has someone to work on the layout of such projects after translation is an important step in the translation process itself. A person well versed in DTP is able to use this software to quickly and easily produce the brochure that may take someone else hours or days to do without this specialized software. While word processing applications have added features that make minor DTP options more accessible and user friendly (adding tables, graphs, or word art, for example), these applications are not capable of doing other, more complicated tasks. And if they are, it is much more difficult to manipulate the layout without professional software.

If your company does not have someone in office who can tackle this step, the translation company assigned to your project should be able to handle the DTP step or determine an appropriate resource for you. Many linguists offer this as part of their services when the DTP task is minor. However, the more complex the layout of the project, the more likely it is that you’ll need someone who specializes in DTP to handle it as a separate step. If you have any questions about whether or not your project may require this extra step, please reach out to the project manager assisting you with the translation.

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