Internationalization of Websites – Translation : Copywriting
Globally active companies are frequently confronted with the question of whether it makes sense to create or adapt web content, such as slogans, graphics and texts for individual countries or markets. There is no general answer. Sometimes translating a text into a different language is sufficient, sometimes writing a new text is better.
Internationalization of Websites – Why opt for a translation?
The target audience is decisive. If the requirements and customs are similar, if cultural occurrences can be compared, and if traditions have approximately the same significance then there is a strong case in favor of translating the content. A translation of the existing texts into the target language is recommended for example for a travel operator offering ski trips on the Dutch, German and French markets in the winter. However, some things must be taken into consideration, for instance, the use of translation tools is not advisable. Automatic programmes can supply good services if you are looking for a single word or a short sentence. However, in complex texts these tools can produce translation errors and poor wording. If you want to make a professional impression on the reader it is better to let humans translate the texts. Ideally the translators will be native speakers who do not simply translate the content 1:1. They will know how to grasp the nuances of the language and have the linguistic competence needed to translate a text to fit into the cultural context of the target audience.
Internationalization of Websites – When writing a new text is a better choice
The content will have to be adapted if there are major differences in the requirements of the target audience. Let us go back to our travel operator. If Germans, Englishmen or Belgians want to spend their summer vacation on the sunny island of Mallorca, then it does not make sense to use a text about a Spanish island written for the Spanish market. The behavior of Spanish tourists differs in many respects from North Europeans. Content that is of interest to Germans is probably uninteresting for Spaniards. By writing a new text, content can be adapted to meet the different needs of the target audiences. In addition, an author can individually address preferences and habits in a new text. Search engine optimization continues to play a significant part. Important key words can be defined and easily fitted into the texts. In a translation, the SEO is often shelved because the key words might have to be newly adapted too.
It sometimes makes sense to use both versions. General-purpose texts can usually be translated into different languages without risking any lapses. Content for a specific target audience ought to be created especially for this group. Ultimately what counts is that the client feels understood and looked after in the best possible manner.
This blog entry has been written by a Clickworker.