In more ways than one, global marketers are continually seeking opportunities to outsmart and outpace their competition. As the internet becomes increasingly multilingual, the influence of your company’s website is no exception.
In fact, less than 30 percent of Internet users speak English as a mother tongue. To a global marketer, this brings many exciting avenues. But how are you supposed to be sure you’re successfully localizing your website while keeping an edge on competition?
We’ve worked with many companies who have asked the same question. And truthfully, you shouldn’t be localizing your website into a particular language simply because your competition is. Rather, you should be evaluating the effectiveness of your multilingual websites compared to those of your competition so you can be confident in the localized content of your website.
Just ask yourself: What is working for the localized parts of my website? What does my global website need to accomplish? How does this vary from my competition? And why does it?
Being able to answer these questions are key to your website’s localization. But, to successfully do so, you’ll have to do a little competitive research. Below are a few localization factors worth analyzing.
In what language
First and foremost, it’s important to know the number of languages and which languages you and your competitor are using. Is it the same amount of languages or less? And why is that? Is it due to budget constraints or are there new markets you or your competitors are investing in? There’s no magic number when it comes to the amount of languages your site should be translated into, yet you’ll want to do some research to better understand what your clientele requires, what future markets may be valuable and what differentiates you and your competition.
Quality and readability
To fully understand your end users’ website experience you’ll need to analyze the quality and readability of your website compared to that of your competitors. Working with a language service provider like Sajan who can offer specific guidelines to linguists on how they should judge and evaluate the quality of the websites will ensure that your company will get consistent quality ratings across all language types. This will help you determine the localization and translation quality level and set the appropriate corrective actions to ensure your website translations flow very naturally, as if written in the target language.
Source vs. target
While following the same content of your source language keeps your localized website messages consistent, it doesn’t necessarily mean your target markets will have similar responses to it. Using longer descriptions or changing the tone and register in certain areas of your localized websites may drive a more compelling and user-friendly message, while at other times you may need to keep messaging consistent across all languages. Language service providers can analyze your and your competition’s similarities between source and target content to help you determine the level of flexibility allowed during localization, so you can create a more user-friendly website.
Indications of machine translation
Reviewing your competitors’ use of machine translation is a major variable for quality and usability. Recurring mistakes, such as extra spacing, incorrect use of punctuation, awkward sentence structures and other layout and content errors may be clear indicators of a poor machine translation implementation strategy. That being said, a trained machine translation engine that is built upon good quality, existing human translations – with a proper human post-editing cycle – can render high quality translations.
Determining the amount of sentence repetition throughout your competitors’ website will give you better insight into their use of translation memory. Some websites, such as those in the travel or hospitality industry, may require high levels of differentiation and content restructuring to attract visitors, while more technical websites are better off reiterating the same content.
A sentence repetition analysis will determine whether sentences are consistent at the technical writing level both in wording and in formatting. Understanding this can determine if you need to better identify and properly translate repetitions throughout your website, which will invariably accelerate time to market and reduce translation costs.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into the effectiveness of website localization. By better leveraging your language service provider and understanding your competitors’ trends, you’ll be able to make more informed business decisions regarding the translation and localization of your company’s website.
Kelly Ogburn is a Marketing professional for one of the industry-leading language service providers, Sajan. Kelly grew up in a small town in Minnesota and moved to Salamanca, Spain in 2009 to continue her Spanish studies. She is fluent in English and Spanish and enjoys traveling around the world and learning about new cultures. Currently, Kelly resides in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota and is passionate about writing blogs related to the Translation & Localization industry.