Language version of the site: avoiding pitfalls
New markets - sounds incredibly tempting. And if these are foreign markets, then the development prospects become even more amazing. And here the problem arises - how to create a "foreign" site, understandable to both search engines and users?
Of course, you can quickly enter a new market using only a basic translation. The search engine recognizes the language even if there are grammar inconsistencies on the page. But how will users, your potential customers, react to this? Remember what annoyance the instruction of the "European" technology, translated by the machine from Chinese, causes.
Therefore, you need not just translation, but site localization. The resource is modified in such a way that it becomes as clear as possible to those other users. And almost always, these changes affect not only the text, but also headlines, calls to action, and even pictures. Only a resource adapted for foreign users will be highly ranked in the search results, and therefore, will bring you many customers.
There is no special science in website localization. However, many companies persist in making the same mistakes.
TOP 8 mistakes when creating a language version of the site
Free (cheap) transfers. Yes, and for successful companies, and especially for start-ups, high costs are undesirable. But this does not mean that the translation of your site can be entrusted to a machine. It is undesirable to look for freelance students for these purposes. Only professionals! Expensive? May be. But: you do not have to check, rewrite and waste time after. Especially when you have already announced the launch, but the site was not ready. At this stage, mistakes are costly. In the end, the conquest of new markets is impossible without spending. Think about what else you can save on - just don't let it be a translation. You can determine the level of professionalism of the agency by examining the portfolio. Also a good indicator would be multi-stage internal control and the presence of an editor.
Literal translation. A grammatically correct text that does not take into account the interests of your new audience automatically equals failure. Slogans, headlines, calls to action should be clear to your customers in any country. It is likely that they will have to be modified. And only native speakers can do it correctly.
Appeal to the client. If in English “you” is universal, then in Russian it can be “you” or “you”, that is, a formal or informal address. It is important to know how the company positions itself and what kind of treatment is acceptable to consumers themselves.
Feedback, dates, addresses. In different countries - a different sequence of dates, different rules for writing addresses. Be sure to keep this in mind - especially when you create forms for specifying personal information. If you specify the time, then only taking into account time zones. And do not forget that among the payment methods should be convenient for residents of your new region. Otherwise, you will literally “kill” the conversion. So not only the site will have to adapt, but the company as a whole.
SEO strategy. You can perform high-quality pagination optimization. But always remember that each country has its own search engine algorithms. Google ranks sites differently in Japan and the US. And we have Yandex, which foreign partners for some reason forget about when trying to enter local markets.
Design. Yes, it will also need to be adapted. After all, the same phrase in the original and in the translation will take a different line length. In addition, there are concepts that in different languages are denoted not by one word, but by a whole phrase, and vice versa. Accordingly, some design elements may “break” and will have to be corrected.
Agreements: numerals and names. If you automate part of the content, then when switching to a foreign version, the algorithm will have to be complicated. For example, in Russian there are “reviews” and “reviews”, and in English all these are reviews. The scheme with reference to placeholders will change, and if we are talking about the designation of the country: Best hotels in %country% — The best hotels in the country.
Photo and video. Absolutely all content should be understandable and interesting to new users and in no case cause rejection in them. Mentality, national psychology, racial differences - all this is not an empty phrase when it comes to creating a foreign version of the site.
This implies the main rule - to create a high-quality foreign language resource, adaptation by native speakers is necessary. After all, even American and British English are different. And all these subtleties you have to take into account.