Cultural aspects of a Website translation: Frequently Asked Questions to maximize communication with your target audience
June 22, 2012
Understanding cultural differences is essential to success in today’s global marketplace. Many language companies offer multilingual translation services, but there are many underlying factors beyond literal translation that you should consider when translating your website. Take a look at the following Frequently Asked Questions on cultural cues that help maximize communication with your target audience.
Q:What is the difference between website translation and website localization?
A: If you want your website translation to be well received, it needs to be written in a way that will appeal to the target audience. This is achieved through localization. The process starts by studying the cultural factors of the target audience and incorporating the particulars of that culture into your website. Every aspect of the website, down to the layout, must be analyzed to determine which parts of the site can be simply translated and which parts must be localized for the target culture.
Q: How can I be sure that I am getting a website translation that will be effective and suitable for my purposes?
A: Cultural differences can pose major barriers to communication and overcoming this challenge is the main goal of website translation and localization. Cultural nuances can vary regionally even within one language. Be sure to ask your translation provider if their translation quality assurance checks are set up to control for sensitive cultural issues.
Q: For my website translation, will I need to change the images that appear on the site?
A: Connotations associated with many images vary widely from place to place. To be safe, it is a good idea to use the graphic libraries of the target culture to select images for your website. For example, you may want to substitute pictures of people for images within the graphic library of the target culture. This will ensure that the images of people on your site match the ages, genders and races that are appropriate for the target audience.
Q: What technical considerations do I need to keep in mind during my website translation?
A: A multilingual website structure should be set up so that all users are able to understand your content and navigate your site with ease. The home page should include a language selection menu with the translated names of each language offered. Avoid using flags since many languages are spoken in more than one nation.
Q: How can I prepare my website to be translated into character based languages or right to left languages?
A: This translation solution can be summed up in one word: Unicode. Unicode allows for consistent representation of text in almost any language of the world. This software is the number one choice for the translation and localization of computer software and websites.
Q: How can I better understand and compare the differences between cultures?
A: Website translation requires appreciation of the target language and its cultural nuances but these cultural differences are not always obvious. The Hofstede Principles organize the different aspects of culture into a framework that is easy to understand. Our next post, later this month will provide an in-depth explanation of these principles and how they can be applied to cultural audits.
If you would like additional information on this topic or have questions on planning and executing your next translation or multilingual initiative, contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation or call us at (800) 413-7838.
Photo by Neeraj Sharma