Considerations for multilingual website translation

Considering a Multilingual Website?

A multilingual website, can reach a broader audience because you have tailored your marketing message to more than one language niche. Some examples of a multilingual website might include a Canadian business having English and French versions of their site. Sometimes a Latin American country might offer both Spanish and Portuguese for their website. Multilingual websites are often very practical business moves.

If you have a multi-regional website that targets people from different countries, you can use a different version to reach that audience.


The Challenge of Expansion

Make no mistake, expanding your website to cover numerous countries and languages will prove a challenge. The biggest issue that you can run into with this is that because you have multiple website versions, you will have a split focus. For example, if you have problems with the French version of your website but none on the English version, you may not even realize it. To combat the problem, you have to create the appropriate IT infrastructure so that you can handle site problems without a struggle.

Best Practices for Multilingual Websites

First, make sure that the page language looks obvious. Google will only use visible content on your page when looking at the language. They do not use code-level language for information, which can put programmers outside the loop. To help Google determine languages, avoid side-by-side translation because these will often prove inaccurate. Because of the differences in language, you will pronounce words and express yourself differently through the varied languages.

Thinking about a boilerplate? If you only translate the boilerplate text in your pages and you keep the bulk of your content inside a single language, you can create a bad user experience that harms your reputation. Even if it has been ranked well with Google, your potential customers will lose interest when the same content appears multiple times through varying boilerplate languages.

Block Robots.txt

Because automated translation does not always make the most sense, the search engines will sometimes view it as spam. As a result, you will have poor or artificial translation that will harm the perception of your site. You want to make sure that the language version of the content will be discovered easily, but you also want to maintain separate URLs for each language. In some cases, cross-linking the language version for each page makes the most sense. For example, if you have a German page and a Russian page, your customers can use a single click to translate the information into their language. In general, try to stay away from automatic redirection for your languages because this can prevent people from seeing all the versions on your site.

See: Google Multilingual Sites

URLs: Careful Consideration

The content on a page will be used as information for Google determining the language. Nevertheless, the URL of the page will give your customers clues about the language of the page’s content. For example, when an URL uses fr as their subdirectory or subdomain, that will give a clear indication of the page being written in French. When you use this method of labeling your website, it also helps you to spot errors faster with multilingual content.

Targeting Content for Specific Countries

Google understands how some businesses want to target specific countries with their sites. With an understanding of this, you can use the information to improve your search results for the differing countries. What does Google do to look at how websites target a country? They will look at the Country-code-top-level domain names or ccTLDs. A website that targets China will use .cn, and a website that targets Germany will use .de. Websites that target England or Great Britain will use .uk.

Geotargeting Settings

Using the country targeting tool, you can look for a specific country. Avoid using this tool when your site will target more than one country because it can set undesirable limitations on your marketing message. For example, it makes sense that an URL targets London restaurant goers, but it makes little sense if you are trying to break into the Shanghai restaurant market. You can also choose a regional URL, such as .asia or .eu, and this will not target a specific country. When Google looks at this, the search engine will treat it as a generic top-level domain.

International Sites and Duplicate Content

When you have content targeted to specific regions and with different languages, you will sometimes have similar content, but it will use different URLs. In most cases, that will not be a problem because the content will be different for the users of different countries. It is understandable that you sometimes cannot find unique content for each group of users, so you do not always have to hide duplicate content with disabling robots.txt files.

The Hurdles of a Multilingual Website

Attempting to provide your customers with languages can add a new layer of complexity to the design. Translating the articles into different languages is only the beginning of that hurdle. If you need help, you can contact DarLukman Translation Services. They offer translation in more than 40 different languages, which means that your website can be translated with less problem. You do not want to rely on translating through translation software because while these tools continue to improve, they are far from accurate. A lot of misunderstandings can occur, and if you are looking to emphasize a more professional image, then professional translation services cannot be understated. The accuracy of translation software will vary, but if you are translating large blocks of text, it will definitely have an impact on the overall message.

Subtle Nuances of a Language

A robot does not have the same understanding that you will receive with a human translator. Humans will naturally understand the local vocabulary better, and they can spot a nuance for specific regions. For example, Spanish translating software will simply translate the text, and it may not even be accurate. With some Central and South American countries, the language will have subtle differences for each country, and a native Spanish speaker will understand these differences. For example, there are words used in Nicaragua that are curse words in Mexico. If you used these words without realizing it, you could be conveying a message that could hurt your business reputation. Automated software might not catch these regional differences, but a professional translating service will.

Using Flags

Many times, flags will be used to indicate the language versions, but that may not be the best option. Why? Because flags represent countries rather than languages and country could have more than one official language, it could be difficult to define a single language. Also, languages can be spoken in more than one country, and sometimes, visitors will not recognize a flag because it can be confused with a similar flag. In most cases, you are better off calling a language by its name.

Left to Right or Right to Left?

What some people may not realize is that languages do not have a direction. For example, you can write Azeri or the language of Azerbaijan in Cyrillic or Latin scripts. You can also write it with an Arabic script, which will be written from right to left. With this type of content, you can specify text direction using the code, “dir=”rt1,” which is an attribute and all of the well-known browsers will support it.

Before you jump into a multilingual website, you should first do your research and understand the differing ethical views. Different countries will view humor, symbolism and sexuality differently. You do not want to overlook this when translating a site because it could prove a disaster for your business. DarLukman translation services offers a practical view of translation. They can help you to target your business message, and they will offer you practical advice that serves your business.