27 Jan 2014

How to assure good quality in website localisation

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Website localisation

So here it is. You’ve just finished translating and localising a website for your customer. The text viewed in your CAT tool seems to be flawless, with no mistranslations, typos or punctuation errors. The terminology is consistent, you‘ve used the provided TMs and even referred to similar websites in the target language. But before you hit “send”, one more question has to be answered: is it really a localised website? Does it really read like a locally made website? Does it meet the main requirement of websites in general, which is to encourage users to stay longer on the page and keep them coming back?

Make it look local and meet the customer’s goals

A properly localised website is a website that seems to be developed locally, is functional and attractive for local users. While localising and reviewing the content, you have to keep the customer’s goals in mind: what is the main purpose to localise the website? To attract more clients? Build trust in the brand and enhance corporate image? Sell more products and services? Now, does the website localised by you make it possible to achieve these goals? Review it again with the potential user’s behaviour in mind. Any signs of “importing” the website from abroad, such as incorrect data or currency format, irrelevant examples, culturally unacceptable images or sensitive colours will not convince the users to stay on the page or become a company’s client. You’ll also have to know who are the potential website users to be able to adjust the content to their needs and expectations.

Approach every page differently

As every website is a mix of different text types, you’ll have to approach every page differently. For example, to review “Terms and Conditions” you’ll need to use different criteria than for marketing slogans placed on another page within the same website. Remember that users don’t read the website in a linear way, but rather scan the text and focus only on sections and pages that are relevant to them. You’ll have to make sure that every section and every page is clear enough, reads well and is easy to scan.

Review it in the target format

To meet the localisation goals, you’ll have to review your website in the target format, using a web browser and carefully assessing functional and linguistic aspects. Check if the text displays correctly on every page. Maybe you’ll have to shorten the text to avoid overlapping or to fit it into restricted space. Remember to review the variables. For some languages with rich morphology (e.g. Polish) the text before variables may need to be modified to avoid grammar mistakes, for example by adding a colon or formulating the text differently. Finally, imagine you’re a random user who has just stumbled upon the localised website. Would it convince you and make you think it was developed specifically for you?

If the answer is yes,  you can go ahead and send the project. Your localisation is very likely to be successful and appeal to the local users.

If you want to learn more about website localisation, check out this website localisation course at Udemy.

 

 (Photo by D.Pawlak )

 

 

 

About the author: Dorota Pawlak
Dorota helps businesses, organisations and individuals to communicate successfully across cultures in the online and offline world. She is an entrepreneur and a qualified translator specialising in IT and localisation of websites, games and software.

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