Content quality in multilingual companies
Large or internationally active companies communicate with their target group via various channels and in diverse languages. This allows them to reach the largest possible number of potential buyers. For direct communication by phone or e-mail, there are usually native-speaking employees on site who can assist local customers with their expertise if they have questions or comments. But how do these companies ensure that the content of the website in the different languages is of the same quality and written in a similar style?
Coherence and cohesion
Often, communication and translation projects in companies proceed in an unstructured way, especially when multiple languages are involved. There are no guidelines or terminology lists, content is created by different authors in different places, and there is no coherence or cohesion between the different language web pages. This article explains how you can prevent this and what you should pay attention to when translating your content.
Advantages of a multilingual website
The advantages of a multilingual website for companies are obvious. On the one hand, the company's reach increases as soon as it offers its website in other languages, such as Spanish or Chinese. Thus, not only English-speaking audiences, but also Spanish and Chinese-speaking audiences are attracted and can become potential customers. On the other hand, a multilingual website offers increased marketing potential for the company. By attracting new potential customers from abroad, there are more opportunities to market the product or service and a possible resulting increase in sales.
Furthermore, by expanding into new markets, it is possible that your company's brand awareness will increase, allowing you to achieve a higher market share and, as a result, consolidate your presence in the market.
Disadvantages of a multilingual website
However, offering a multilingual website also brings with it some hurdles and disadvantages. For example, a very high level of linguistic proficiency is necessary if one wants to publish one's texts in other languages in addition to one's native language. Small translation errors can have serious consequences. Independent translation is only advisable for private websites, such as personal blogs. For professional translation of your website, you should choose an experienced translation service provider. They will provide you with high-quality translations by qualified and experienced translators and will know exactly what to look for in order to create coherence and cohesion between multilingual websites. Furthermore, experienced translators make sure that the given text is localized, which means that it is adapted to local conditions such as units of measurement, certain phrases or metaphors. Of course, the translation by a translation agency is the more expensive option, but it is advisable to resort to outside help if you want your website to be available in other languages as well. You should keep in mind that the long-term benefits of professional translation outweigh the costs.
Content quality on smartphones
It is advisable to work strategically if you want to ensure the quality of multilingual content. Working with so-called content pools makes sense here. Content pools are usually integrated into the company's internal CMS system or accessible via a platform and represent a place where all multilingual and internationally relevant content is centrally managed. The central editorial staff at the main site are usually responsible for ensuring that new content regularly flows into the content pool, which can then be used for the respective website.
For the provision of content in the content pool, a basic version of the content is usually produced, usually in English. This is then localized, preferably by experienced translators, and translated using translation memory systems. Subsequently, the new version of the basic variant in another language is also stored in the content pool. It is advisable to reference these multilingual versions with each other so that any changes can be tracked and adjusted.
Tips for adapting websites to new languages
In addition to offline customers, more than half of online shoppers order exclusively from websites that are available in their local language. Search engines work on this principle and try to provide users with the most relevant results for a search query - results in the right language. Below are 5 helpful tips to consider for the success of your other-language website, in addition to translation by professional translators:
- Local peculiarities and cultural differences should be accounted for. For example, the Spanish language is spoken in Mexico and Spain, but this does not mean that a website in Spanish is suitable for both countries. Cultural and linguistic differences should always be considered in a professional translation.
- IP addresses and server location are important. The server location of the website can be determined by the IP address of the server. Search engines use this information, but they also know that some websites are managed on foreign servers, so IP address and location are not evaluated as the most important criteria in ranking.
- Google Webmaster Tools can help. In Google Webmaster Tools, you can use the Geographic Target Tool to set that a website is aimed at users in a specific location and in which country you want to reach potential customers with the respective website.
- Duplicate content needs to be addressed. If the same content appears under different domains, search engines will recognize this as duplicate content. Often, however, pages that address different countries with the same language and have the same content are not penalized. This is because the individual pages can usually be assigned to one country. Since search engines always look for relevance, localization of texts is also of utmost importance with regard to duplicate content.
- Customer service and contact persons for the local language are necessary. A local contact person and customer service in local language creates trust among users and can bind your customers to your company in the long run.
In order to be strategic and sustainable and provide users with coherent, cohesive and engaging content, it is advisable to choose a combination of the aforementioned content pools and a translation service provider. To ensure the quality of content in companies that communicate and operate in multiple languages, texts should not be translated in-house, but always professionally by a translation service provider with experience and know-how. The latter can adapt the version in the other language to the respective culture and local customs and thus deliver a translation that will benefit the company in the long term.