Internationally operating companies often ask us just how much of their online content they should translate into other languages.
Assuming that they have already identified the need for multi-lingual content, we recommend the following steps, which will help turn what can be a very daunting process into a simplified and streamlined experience.
1) Start with your website: You have identified the need for a multi-lingual website, so which languages should you choose? The key is to start small. Choose one or two of the languages spoken in your top target markets to begin with; remember, you can always add to the number of languages later. It is better to start with fewer language options, to streamline the process and to execute it efficiently and accurately, than to grapple with 7 different languages at once, trying to implement a process that is new to you.
2) Social media: We recommend the same rule for social media platforms. If you want to have social media accounts in a number of languages, first start with one foreign language. By focusing on just one, you will soon see how much time it takes up, what the response to it is, allowing you to gauge if it is worth extending your reach and taking on other languages. You will also be able to measure what percentage of your original language content is worth translating in the first place. For example, we take care of the English Twitter account for a Spanish fashion label. On average we translate about 1 in 4 of their tweets, as many of them are directly relevant to the Spanish market only.
3) Find a balance: This brings us to our final and most important point. If you decide to translate your content, do not assume that you have to translate all of it. More often than not, it is sufficient to translate part of it, even just a small part. For example, The Page Refinery works with a lot of museums, and we have found that most of our museum clients have chosen to translate just a fraction of their website (the practical information, how to get there, opening hours, accessibility and a brief history of their collections etc.) into various languages. To do more is not only costly for them, but also unnecessary, as most foreign visitors are not interested in, say, a press release from 2011.
For more information about our services and the languages we offer, please visit our website: www.pagerefinery.com