English might be the most common language on the Internet, but if your site doesn’t have a way to translate its content, you’re missing out on a potentially huge audience. Read on to learn how to translate your website in a few simple steps.
Current estimates state that over 360 million people speak English as a first language. Not all of them have a mastery of Spanish.
If you run a website that has services or information that would benefit from being available to speakers of many different languages, learning how to translate your website is beneficial.
There are many ways you can accomplish this. Some are more difficult than others, and some are more expensive than others. What you choose depends on your customer base and who you want to cater to.
Read on to find out some of the best ways to translate your website.
Hire a Translator
This is the most costly way to translate your site, but it ensures a smooth translation. Most people have translated sites from another language into their native language using toolbars and found it laughable. This is because automatic translation is done literally.
Automatic translation misses out on not only nuances, but also idioms. For example, in French, a popular idiom is, “Donner sa langue au chat.” For native French speakers, they would understand that this means to give up.
A bot, on the other hand, would translate the phrase literally. While French speakers understand the idiomatic usage of the phrase, the bot would write, “to give your tongue to the cat.” This would leave those without intricate knowledge of French scratching their heads.
In order to retain the true and full essence you’re attempting to communicate by your site, you really need a translator.
You can hire someone to rewrite your site’s copy in another language. This is useful when, as stated above, your service covers those who live in other countries or your information is universal.
Once you’ve hired someone to write the copy for you, you can create a tab on top of each page that invites users to translate the page. This would be separate from the Google tab translation, as it would be organic to your site.
By pressing this button, users can have the site in their own language, free of confusion and awkward idiom issues.
Although expensive, it is a worthy investment if you expect significant traffic from native speakers of another language.
How to Translate a Website with Wix
Wix, a common web hosting provider, allows you to create multi-language websites easily. This web provider is also really great for people who don’t know web code and want to build a clean website while dragging and dropping elements.
When creating your site, you can use their “Language App,” which is very simple to drag onto any layout. From there, your website will have the functionality to have its content translated into several different languages.
While the Wix site is a little bit smarter than Google Translate, it isn’t that smart. You’ll still run across the idiom issues and awkward sentencing structures. This is because a bot completed the translation instead of a human.
Google translate is very simple to add to your website, though it does have its major pitfalls, as mentioned above.
But if you want a crude translation bar that sort of does its job (and might give your audience a good laugh), it is pretty easy to install.
Navigate to https://translate.google.com/manager/website/. Sign into your Google account as normal. Click on the button that says, “Add to your website now.”
When prompted, enter your main website’s URL. This is the www.yoursite.com, not any side sites or other elements of your page. Then select the site’s original language from the drop-down menu.
You will then be able to choose if you want Google to translate the page into all the languages it has available, or if you want to only select a few languages.
When you’ve finished, select “Get Code.” You will need to add this code somewhere on your site where users will see it. Adding it to the top or the sidebar is preferable, particularly at the top. This makes it easier for users to spot immediately.
Google can also translate any page in Chrome, even if you don’t have the preference enabled on your site. Users can do this manually, though not everyone is up-to-speed on how to do so.
Squarespace is another drag and drop website for people who want clean sites but don’t know how to code. You don’t need to install anything to create a multi-lingual site, as several templates simply have it built into them.
You can decide which languages you want to be displayed at the top, and your audience can select them easily.
Using the templates, Squarespace will integrate this feature into every page of your site.
Like Wix and Google Translation, Squarespace can’t guarantee you an error-free experience, though it is marginally better than Google Translate. Like anything translated by a bot, you’ll run into the same issues, such as awkward idioms and inability to translate nuance.
Which Method of Translation Should You Choose?
When deciding what languages to offer to your audience, you should always be aware of where they come from. If your analytics tell you that you have a large percentage of followers from the United Kingdom, you should offer translation in English.
This way, you can reach even more people, instead of just Spanish speakers in Spain.
Although it is expensive, hiring humans to translate your site is your best bet. If you’re offering a product or service and positioning yourself as an expert, it is paramount that you come across professionally. This means not having your audience wrestle with weird translations that just don’t make much sense.
Ultimately, the decision on how to translate a website is up to you and whether you believe it is worth the investment. In most instances, it is money well-spent. This is especially true if you don’t change your basic content often.
If you want to consider translating your website from Spanish to English, visit my blog for more information, tips and tricks.