How to Translate Your Website Into Other Languages and Why It’s Important

July 8, 2021
Contributor: Rupal Bhandari

When marketing products in a new country, software providers spend time on globalization strategies. They discuss internationalizing the products, marketing localization, and sales and go-to-market strategies. However, translating the website to the native language or creating a multilingual website often end up sidelined or neglected.

Website translation is assumed to be a relatively worry-free task, usually bracketed under the marketing team’s responsibilities. Marketing teams might pass on the task internally to other departments or outsource it externally to a third-party website translation service or language service provider (LSP). That entire process often ends up disjointed, with no sharing of key resources such as translation memory or databases of translated documents, ultimately increasing costs and reducing efficiency. 

Instead, planning ahead for translation needs, including the website, with discussions on how and what other materials should be localized, opens up a more comprehensive plan. Software providers should take the opportunity to collaborate through shared resources as well as explore automatic translation and artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled translation services, which ultimately can save costs and improve end-to-end campaign efficiency.

Why is it important for software providers to translate websites?

Nearly 66% of buyers think it is either moderately or very important to read or access software provider websites and landing pages in their primary language, according to a recent Gartner Digital Markets survey.* 

Providing a localized website or at least a landing page in a local language where you’re activating campaigns could be critical for providers doing business or acquiring new customers in Asia, Europe and South America, where a majority of the populations speak local languages. 

How to translate your website into other languages

Advancements in technology, especially those in AI and neural machine translation (NMT), generally improved the speed, quality and cost of website translations over the past few years. As the human translator’s role shifts toward editing documents or sections that require special attention or more technical knowledge, new digital tools can take care of translating larger portions of many websites to a secondary language, automatically. 

By 2025, as much as 75% of translators’ current work is expected to shift from creating translations to reviewing and editing targeted sections that were translated by machines (full research available to Gartner clients only).

Four major groups of translation services

Both synchronous and asynchronous translation services can be sought from a third-party LSP or professional translator, and typically include the following services:

  • Neural machine translation (NMT): Uses algorithms and software to substitute words in one language with words in a new language, offering the same meaning as accurately as possible; typically used to translate documents, simple web content, or emails and messages 
  • Interactive adaptive computer-assisted translation (CAT): CAT tools offer machine-translated text to human translators for editing. These tools learn based on translators’ feedback and other translation data, and are usually best suited to translating complex website content or documents. They also increasingly aid in translation of video captions.
  • Translating structure and formatted content: Extract content from structured formatting and retain that structure in the translated language, for example, when retaining HTML tags within a sentence or maintaining a bold section after text. Best suited for translating complex and dynamic website content as well as documents. 
  • Content creation: Extract, summarize and transform content automatically into different formats from source documents; for example, creating a summary or blurb for a PDF document on a translated website. 

More details about leading LSPs and their services are detailed in this report (research available to Gartner clients only). 

Next steps?

Before a translated website goes live, it still requires a thorough editorial review, which should include checks on translations of any names, times, dates, currency, weights and measurements or other elements that tend to vary from one country to another. For instance, what is measured in pounds in the United States will be measured in kilograms in India. 

A thorough editorial review also includes checks for any spelling errors, incorrect or inappropriate use of words, punctuation, grammar or keywords. Cultural taboos or phrases that might be inappropriate or offensive in the new country should also be removed. Lastly, the editorial review process should ensure that all text is readable and maintains the appeal and spirit of the original messaging. 

Software providers can improve website quality and resonance through content localization. They could test and iterate marketing messages for new audiences, highlight in-demand features within the local market context or even adapt a completely new SEO strategy. More information on content localization and how it can boost software and SaaS providers’ global marketing strategy can be found here

Rupal Bhandari

Rupal Bhandari covers sales and account management markets. She received her master’s degree from the University of Delhi, India, and has created content for some of the world’s leading technology products and companies. Connect with Rupal on LinkedIn.

*Gartner Digital Markets 2021 COVID-19 Impact on Business Strategy

Results presented are based on a Gartner Digital Markets study conducted to understand the current practices around demand, buying practices and investment practices pertaining to software solutions. The research was conducted online from November through December 2020 among IT decision makers across companies in Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden and India.

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