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Follow This Checklist: Tips for Website Translation

Translating a website into one or more other language can be a daunting task and requires time, patience and an eye for detail. With so many moving parts, it’s easy to miss a crucial step in the process. After developing a website for Ardent Mills, the nation’s leading supplier of flour, Celtic was next tasked with overseeing a translation from American English to Canadian French and English. Throughout the process we followed this helpful checklist to make sure nothing got lost in translation.

✓    Is everyone on the same (landing) page?

The goal of a translated website is to keep the content relevant to the readers. The content should reflect what the audience would want to read or see. For example, a food production website should adjust recipes to match the local cuisine for the new website. Also, consider the measurement scales— Fahrenheit or Celsius? Miles or kilometers? Are the images relevant? The photos on the website should be representative of the culture and people within the new audience.

One last thing: Remind your translating team to look for double entendres that could change the meaning of the copy.

✓    What about the metadata?

While the page copy will receive first consideration, don’t forget about the URL strings, bread crumb navigation, image descriptions, tags, .pdf titles and all other pieces of metadata as well. Search engine site crawlers use the metadata to serve up the most relevant content to users, so make sure the new metadata reflects the translated page content.

One last thing: Update keywords and phrases to reflect how and what the new audience is searching. A translating team should know the local slang and abbreviations to include to keep the copy pertinent.

✓    Are the forms and data collection GDPR compliant?

If the site will collect data from European Union citizens, data collection will need to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. GDPR requires that users consent to giving over data and that users are told what data is collected, especially if the data is personally identifiable information (PII).

✓    How’s the domain?

If a website’s demographic is entirely within a country, switching from a .com to a country code top-level domain name (ccTLD), such as “.uk” or “.cn”, may be a useful option. When a website serves an international audience, using a “.com” will keep the site in reach of those searching for it. Search engine algorithms utilize the geo-target within the URL string to serve the most relevant information, so country codes may increase search relevance where applicable.

One last thing Country-code TLDs do more than just affect search results. They can drive higher-quality traffic to a site by showing more about the type of content the users can expect. Country-code TLDs may increase trust in a site. For example, 77% of Canadians say they prefer supporting Canadian businesses and 64% agree that Canadian businesses should have a .ca.

Translating a website can be a significant undertaking, but one that can be done efficiently and effectively by following these steps. To see more of Celtic’s web work with Ardent Mills, check out our case study here.


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