Don’t think of translation as an afterthought; make it an integral part of your e-commerce content strategy early on.
Developing a Strategy
Content creation, as you are aware, is a serious endeavor that needs to be done correctly. Creating English product descriptions and pages written correctly needs to be the first step.
However, if you are thinking about reaching out to target countries outside the USA with multilingual product pages, translation should be considered early on in your content development process. Although it may not initially seem this way, language translation of your product pages should be equally as important as the English content creation.
Why Consider Translating?
Until one actually dives into what it might take to translate online content into languages other than English, it is hard to know what the process entails. Foreign language translation of your materials should be integrated early on in the process and should not be any more difficult or time-consuming than creating English materials, if you engage with the right partner.
Reasons to consider translating product page content early on in the process:
- Create a more rapid release of your translated products
- Increase global awareness
- Develop a workflow where translators and content writers can work together
- Boost sales with visitors reading your online content in their native language
Say NO to Machine Translation
So now you are hopefully convinced that translation should be thought about early on in your process. You now must look into and evaluate the options to execute translations correctly.
You may be tempted at the thought of using Google Translate or an automated, free translation tool. Although machine translation is a popular topic of interest, the accuracy and reliability machine translation yields is not there yet–at least not without a lot of up-front preparation.
Nothing can currently replace the quality a human native speaker brings to the table. I believe the saying “you get what you pay for” applies a hundredfold when translating content.
Google Translate may be serviceable for certain situations. For example, Google Translate may be good to get an idea of what those SPAM emails are saying. However, when you are talking about your global brand and online product pages, why would you want to risk offending a potential customer with bad translation?
Even very large organizations have made critical errors when going global. These errors, oftentimes humorous, can be devastating when trying to convince a foreign audience to take your organization seriously. The damage done to your global image could be tremendous.
Tips to consider in order to accurately translate your product pages:
- Get outside help: Search for a professional company that can manage the process for you. One point of contact can make your life easier by coordinating multiple languages, multiple translators, and varying file types.
- Use native speakers: Ensure that professional native speakers of the target language are doing the translation.
- Insist on in-country translators: Engage a company that uses in-country translators, since being immersed in the culture yields the best results possible.
- Plan for QA checks: It would be best to have a group of translators provide translation, editing, proofreading, and a final online QA of your materials. Similar to writing a paper or document, it’s always good to have separate sets of eyes review your materials to ensure the end product is as accurate and error free as possible.
- Use translation memory: Ensure that the company you are working with has translators using industry standard translation memory technology. Translation memory is a tool translators use during the translation process that builds a database of terms per client, per language. Using translation memory can result in decreasing pricing over time, but more importantly it will allow the translators to reference previous translations done. This results in consistency over time as you translate more and more content.
If your global brand is important to you, please give some consideration to the points made in this article. Bringing translation into discussion early on in your content development process can, in the short and long term, create a more rapid release of your translated products, increase global brand awareness, and boost sales with visitors reading your online content in their native language.
Nicholas is a Business Development Manager at Interpro Translation Solutions, where he started in January 2009. Nicholas graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in Interactive Marketing and a minor in French. Prior to joining Interpro, Nicholas worked in the e-learning and website development industries.