10 steps to a great multilingual website

Whether you are considering getting your website translated, or have already decided to go ahead, we have drawn up a 10-step guide to getting a great multilingual site.

Whether you are considering getting your website translated, or have already decided to go ahead, we have drawn up a 10-step guide to getting a great multilingual site. If you want to promote your products or services in other countries, it is likely to be the single most cost-effective marketing investment you could make.

1. Set objectives for your multilingual website

First of all, what do you want your site to achieve? Do you want it to be purely informative, or does it need to have more advanced functions like e‑commerce and user accounts? Laying out clear goals will help you to make key decisions about your translation project.

2. Get a quotation

A good translation provider should want to have a clear idea of the aims and scope of your project before they give you a quotation, so it’s helpful to have a brief lined up before you begin.
Some important things to include in your brief are:

  • Which parts of your site you need translating, including any meta-text.
  • Which languages you need, and which region or country they are for.
  • Who your target readers are.

3. Decide on your translation provider

Your translator or translation company should:

  • Work with professional, mother-tongue translators who specialise in your field.
  • Give you a realistic time frame and cost.
  • Be willing to collaborate with you on style or terminology.
  • Keep you updated throughout the process and be happy to answer any questions you have along the way.

4. Draw up a post-launch strategy

What happens next is just as important as making that initial connection with your client. You may need to deal with enquiries in foreign languages, measure the success of your translated site, promote it on social media or carry out updates in the future. Decide how these will be handled and who will be responsible.

5. Get your copy ready

Having all your copy ready for translation can make a real difference to how streamlined your translation project will be, both in terms of time and money. Making lots of additions and changes can add extra costs to the project, so being prepared ensures you will get an accurate quotation from the start. As well as this, the better your original copy is, the better your translators can get your message across in the way you want.

6. Agree on the technical points

You’ll want to discuss with your developer and translation provider:

  • The format in which the copy will be sent to the translation provider.
  • Whether you will have a country code top level domain, such as .fr, .es, or .de.
  • How much extra space you will need in the design for the text to expand or contract in different languages. For example, the same text will be around 20% longer in Spanish or French than in English.
  • The translation of extras and meta-text, such as alt-tags, hyperlinks, flash files or graphics with text in them.
  • How you will advertise that your site is available in other languages (for example, using the name of each language – Français, Español, Deutsch).

7. Let your translators get to work

When the translations are complete, they can be uploaded straight to your content management system or the files can be sent back to you in the format you specify – XML, HTML, JSON, etc. – to be implemented by your developer.

8. Check and check again

Once your multilingual site is at the preview stage, your translation provider can carry out thorough checks for any missing or corrupted text that might have crept in during the upload process. This is an important step to ensuring your website is accurate, error-free and fully functional in all languages.

9. Go live!

Make the most of your new multilingual website and promote it to your customers, agents and distributors.

10. Stay in touch

Keep in touch with your translation provider in case any updates or tweaks need making in the future.

 

If you are thinking of having your website translated, please get in touch. We would be happy to provide a quotation, or even just have a chat about your requirements.

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Feel free to give us a call or send over an e-mail and one of our team will advise you on whatever it is you need.

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