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7 useful tips to improve the content on your website for translation

By Julie Fry, 

In a recent survey, it was found that China and India far surpass the United States and the United Kingdom when it comes to Internet usage. For example, China boasts close to one billion active users on the Internet, while the United States has 312,322,257 users, whilst the UK has only 63,356,621.

One way to boost your traffic is by translating your website content. By providing users with the option to view your site in different languages, you can increase the amount of potential viewers. For example, by translating your website into one extra language, you could potentially more than double your current users, and an extra two languages could result in triple the amount. As a result, you will find yourself expanding into more markets and growing your business. 

With this in mind, you will also need to optimise the content on your website to suit different languages across the world (multilingual SEO) and to make sure you’re not missing out on a whole lot of traffic.

Why should you prepare translation-friendly content?

First and foremost, it’ll save you time and money. By preparing content that is optimised for translation, translators will be able to swiftly translate your content with edits kept to a minimum. Not only that, but by producing tightly-written original copy you’ll be improving the quality for domestic audiences too.

If you’re about to start writing your website content, we recommend that you first consider whether your project will utilise translation-friendly content. To help you on your way, we’ve compiled 7 useful tips. 

How can you improve the content of your website and make it simple to translate? 

1 – Keep it short and sweet

Smaller sections of text are simpler to translate than complex sentences, which will result in a fast and accurate translation service. So, by using clear, succinct sentences that avoid ambiguity, your copy will be far easier to translate. It will also help readers, no matter what language they speak to fully digest your content. 

2 – Check your visual aids

To keep your website interesting and engaging, you might consider using images, videos and/or symbols to describe your product or service. This is a really useful technique to attract viewers to your website, and to keep them engaged, but you should always be aware that they may have different connotations in other countries.

A reliable translator will be able to localise all of your content, including any visual aids, and keeping one step ahead in terms of what’s appropriate in different cultures will make the whole translation process quicker and easier for all involved. 

3 – Avoid using acronyms 

When writing content that will be translated, if possible avoid using acronyms. Some acronyms are recognised the worldover but many in-house or regional acronyms would have to be used as they are, or a new acronym would need to be created for each language, which would be a pointless exercise.

To make sure that you avoid any misinterpretation, avoid acronyms or speak to a professional translation agency to help translate them correctly. 

4 – Think about cultural references

Reputations can be easily tarnished, and there are plenty of organisations that have fallen victim to the pitfalls of marketing translation when it comes to cultural references. To avoid alienating or offending a new audience, it’s important to think about how your website content, both written and visual, will be received by a new culture. Steer clear of any content that may cause offence, including references to historical events and political figures, among other things. 

Using a professional agency with experience in localisation will help you avoid any unexpected mishaps! 

5 – Use the active voice

By using the active voice instead of the passive, your website content will be more direct, easier to understand and simpler to translate. For example, “the translation was prepared and sent back to the client” (passive) compared to “the translation has been prepared and sent to the client” (active). It’s much more powerful to use this language in your local language, and will make the content easier to translate, so it’s win-win all round.

6 – Think about idioms

Of course, many idioms and slang phrases can’t be translated into other languages. If they are translated, it’s likely they won’t have the same impact. For example, consider the English phrase “it’s a breeze” and imagine it translated literally… not so great! 

If you are going to use idioms, speak to a translator who can carefully adapt your phrasing to appeal to the new audience. This could mean changing the phrase completely, or even replacing it with a slang phrase applicable to that language. 

7 – Consider your website layout

When it comes to website translation, you should ensure that there is enough room in your website design for your content to shrink or expand once translated. No two languages are the same, and so translating your copy will often result in more or less white space. You need to think about this before diving head first into the translation, because it can cause problems in the long run!

For more information, have a look at our ultimate guide to website translation and how to prepare your website for translation blogs. 

What we do

We’ve been working in the translation services industry for over 20 years, translating content for businesses of a variety of shapes and sizes. Our creative marketing translation service delivers advertising copy with emotional impact, cross-culturally, and our collaborative approach enables us to provide our clients with a translation service that is fully tailored to their unique demands. 

Discover more about our translation services and get in touch today. 

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