What’s one tip for entrepreneurs who need to efficiently translate some of their web properties for an international audience?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Match the Tech Level
You’d be surprised at how many countries don’t have open access to YouTube or Facebook. Many are still behind on adapting the latest browsers or media players; many have slow Internet. Make sure your Web properties are available in multiple formats, especially some old-school formats that we are not used to (such as a download link for a video in addition to a player link).
2. Roll Back to the Basics
We’ve had a website translated into two other languages and have found that cutting the site back as much as possible was extremely efficient. Take a good look at what content you have on your website. Do you really need all of it translated? Ditch anything that’s not crucial — at least in the beginning — and roll out the most important parts first. It’s always easier to add more later.
3. Try Google Translate
4. Double-Check Your Work
Any time we translate a Web page or marketing message for an international audience, we have several people fluent in the language sign off on the translation. Usually, we have to do several iterations due to differing views on how the message should translate.
5. Use Third-Party Services
6. Translate and Create the Content
Quality translation goes beyond transforming words from one language to another. It provides personality, context and relevance for the target market. Before you offer your Web properties in another language, ensure your translators understand your brand, mission and the demographic you are trying to reach. From there, they can “transcreate” your content so it will be more effective.
7. Ask a Native Speaker to Proofread
Proofread the translated pages, or have them proofread by a native speaker. Some translation software products are unreliable, and you run the risk of confusing your international readers if a native speaker doesn’t review the pages to ensure they’re grammatically correct.
8. Match Currency
Make sure that you are prepared to deal with the prevalent payment system for every country you’re targeting. We learned quickly that credit cards aren’t the norm for business transactions overseas. Companies such as BlueSnap help translate checkout pages to offer regionally specific payment options.
9. Use a Plugin
10. Pay More for Quality Work
If you’re going to translate your website, make sure it’s done correctly. You want to use the terminology that a speaker in that country will be using when looking at your website, and this is not going to be cheap. Hire an expert who is knowledgeable about SEO and knows the languages well, and think of it as an investment.