3 pitfalls when translating a website

3 pitfalls when translating a website


You want to translate your website. You may then choose to start typing yourself. As a professional, you know what you're talking about, right? How difficult can it be? Yet there are pitfalls that you don't think about at first, but which make your website look ugly internationally. Therefore, we list the 3 most important ones:

Translating your website without inadvertently offending your new target audience?

Did you know that the 'thumps up' icon means something completely different in some countries? At Scriptware Translations, not only do we know everything there is to know about language, we'll also help you navigate style differences with other countries and cultures. Request a no-obligation quote now.

1. Not localizing your website

You translate your website for a reason: you want to reach a new target audience abroad. You want your product or service to reach the customers you have in mind. That is why it is extra important when translating a website that it is localized. Localization is more comprehensive than simply translating and basically means fully adapting a text to a particular target audience/culture. Style elements in the text or formatting of the website sometimes have a different effect in another language:

Colors and symbols

Take the color orange, for example. In the Netherlands, orange is (for most people) a positive color because of its association with the Dutch national team, our royal family or autumn. In the Middle East, on the contrary, orange is the color of mourning and danger and thus negative. Another example is the "thumbs up" icon, perhaps one of the most positive hand gestures we can make in Western Europe. In Iraq, however, you want to use that to say that someone can put something up their ***.

Tone of voice

The writing style in which you approach your customers is called your "tone of voice. You've probably thought carefully about exactly what that style looks like. For example, is your website informal or formal in tone? Do you address customers as you or you? Perhaps you have your own greeting to be recognizable as a company. For example, consider Ikea, which consistently addresses its customers with "Hey. These are all considerations in writing style that you want to maintain even in the foreign language. Only in that other language, very different rules often apply. For example, English has no informal or formal writing tone, while in French vousvoyeren is standard on most websites.

2. Translating a website without SEO research

SEO stands for "Search Engine Optimization". In short, it means making a website as findable as possible for potential readers and customers. If a copywriter knows which search terms are commonly used, the website will rank higher in the list of search results on Google. The higher your website ranks in that list, the more likely people are to click on it. But search terms that rank high in one country don't necessarily rank equally high in another. So it is better to do SEO research on the website to be translated beforehand. That way you will be just as findable abroad as in the Netherlands.

3. Having only part of the website translated

Many companies choose to translate only the product information and leave, for example, blogs or their "about us" page in the original language. This makes a website look unfinished and doesn't exactly inspire confidence in potential customers. Also, you won't rank as high in search results. If there is a mix of translated and untranslated text on your website, search engines get confused. They then don't quite know which language your website falls under. So make sure that all textual expressions on your website, including pop-ups, contact forms, cookie banners, etc. are translated.

Have your website translated by Scriptware Translations

So it is important to take into account cultural differences in text, formatting and SEO before launching a website abroad. Are you looking for a translation partner who will ensure that your website to be translated reaches the target audience you want to reach? Then feel free to contact us. Or check out our page on website translation for more information. We will be happy to help you!

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