Things People Often Overlook When Creating a Multilingual Website
In this article, we will discuss some things often ignored when creating a multilingual website. Speakt reported that only 25.3% of all internet content is in English. While the content in Chinese and Spanish made up 19.8% and 8% respectively, of the world's internet content. If you’re to take into account the top three languages when it comes to internet content that is only 53.1%.
However, CSA Research stated that 40% of the surveyed internet users said they will “never buy” from a website that wasn’t in their mother tongue. This information is alarming if you’re looking to widen your audience. To learn more about what you can do to ensure that your multilingual website is optimal, read on!
1. Failing to link social media accounts to your website
In this day and age, social media accounts are essentially a part of our daily lives. But many websites don’t take advantage of this and have their websites linked to any of their company’s social media accounts. Your website and social media accounts should be in sync and not be disconnected from each other.
The Social Media Examiner pointed out that both your social media accounts and website must work together to promote your business’s online presence. However, many miss out on the potential brought by interactions. Part of their guide is to have Social Media Buttons available on your website. If you’re planning to create a multilingual website this should be part of your considerations when creating a new layout that is uniform across all your multilingual homepages.
2. Not hiring professionals to build your multilingual website
Not hiring professionals for any multilingual website solution is risky. Relying only on Google Translation to create multilingual websites could end up disastrous. Babbel wrote an interesting piece where they presented several instances wherein Google Translate failed. One, in particular, was disastrous. A town in northern Spain used Google Translate to promote on their town’s website into Castilian Spanish to feature a local festival. However, what was supposed to be a family-friendly website about grelo—a local vegetable that is at the center of this town’s festival—was translated by Google Translate in Castilian Spanish as a part of the female reproductive organ. It was only after a month that they realized this grave error. To avoid any embarrassing mishaps like this one, you should just hire professionals to create your multilingual website.
If you want to learn more about what considerations you have to take into account when you’re translating your website into several languages, Tomedes wrote an informative blog post about how to build a multilingual website. They also discussed multilingual SEO, coding, structure, market research, hiring professionals to build your website and many more.
3. Designing a localized UX that suits your target local audience
Part of creating a multilingual website design is the user experience (UX) of your target locale. This is where your market research on your target locale comes in handy because part of it involves customer behavior. For example, if you’re targeting Japanese customers, you wouldn’t make the content of your website the same way as if you’re targeting the American audience as both of them have different cultural and linguistic nuisances. Like for the Japanese audience, you would have a more formal approach compared to the American audience. By taking this into account, you’ll create localized UX that would increase user interaction.
4. Not creating an international SEO strategy
Building a strategy for your multilingual website SEO is essential if you want it to rank on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). If you’re wondering about local SEO techniques, check out our full guide about the tips and strategies you can use to build up your website's local SEO to attract more traffic to your site. Now, you might be wondering why we mentioned local SEO? Because part of going international is by going local. Through SEO localization, your target locale will have easier access to your website.
When creating multilingual websites, a good multilingual SEO strategy is needed. Part of that strategy is by understanding what goes into international SEO. Moz, an SEO tool and software company, defined international SEO as a way for you to optimize your website on search engines by identifying, which country you’re targeting and what language to use for your eCommerce. When creating a multilingual SEO strategy part of it is determining what is your goal and what do you expect from the outcome. Two things to consider from this:
- The language of your target user.
- Your target users who live in another region or country.
There’s a false assumption that the language you’ll be using will immediately correspond to its country of origin. For example, the Spanish language. It originated from Spain but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the only native Spanish-speakers. Mexico and Argentina's de facto language is Spanish. This is why when it comes to international SEO, you must have a good grasp of URL structures and how they can be used to help SERPs to determine which particular country you’re targeting.
If you have also developed a mobile app, it should be localized to the same languages as your website supports. Check out how the website SEO is different from the mobile app SEO.
5. Not properly coding
On a more technical note, coding is vital if you want to create multilingual websites. A weak coding system will negatively affect your website, like its speed, visibility, poor UX, etc. One way of ensuring you’ll have strong coding is through internationalization. It is the process of stripping away all elements regarding one single location or language. This involves learning about Internationalization code i18n, Localization coding of L10n, and Unicode.
6. Ignoring word length and under translating
This segment primarily focuses on the translated content that you’re planning to incorporate within your multilingual website. Two problems arise when you’re translating your website:
- Word length.
- Under translating your content.
Many people overlook these two important aspects when regarding multilingual content. The length of your content is important for user interaction. Since the layout and web design have to be uniform to strengthen your business’s brand, you have to be wary of word length.
There is also such a thing as over translating. Proz’s forum discussed the concepts of “Overtranslation” and “Undertranslation.” Overtranslation happens when the translator adds more details that weren't part of the original text to make it more acceptable due to ideological reasons or to make the translated text more acceptable.
While undertranslation happens when the translator leaves out certain information from the original text for the same reasons mentioned in overtranslation. Finding the balance is the key. One way of not falling into either overtranslation or undertranslation is by involving translation in the creative process of making content rather than just thinking of it as an afterthought.
7. Not proofreading your multilingual content
Proofreading the content of your website ensures that any blunders will be corrected right away. When it comes to writing, there are no perfect first drafts. So editing and re-editing is a vital process when it comes to content development strategy. As previously mentioned, you have to involve translation into the creative process of making content. This also includes proofreading.
Implementing what you’ve researched about your target audience in your multilingual website’s content and proofreading it is easier said than done. That is why we suggested that you hire professionals when you’re changing your monolingual website into a multilingual one. You’re saving time and money in the long run by hiring professionals who are experts in their field rather than doing everything on your own.
8. Not testing your multilingual website before launching
This is somewhat related to the last tip because whatever feedback you receive from your test audience should be implemented in your proofreading and editing process. You must conduct testing before launching to ensure that your multilingual website is functioning well like the speed and the translated content. If there are any mistranslations or issues regarding the cultural context of your content, your test audience will point this out, and you can fix it ahead of time. This saves you from any embarrassing blunders and ensures that users get the best UX from your website.
There’s a lot of consideration when you’re creating multilingual websites. It might be cliche, but as the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” This applies to anything that requires much care and consideration because of the long-term benefits. The tips and advice that we listed here are what many fail to notice when they create their multilingual websites.