Website localization: why you need it


Website localization should be your first thought if you want to sell your products and services abroad.

Though giving Google Translate your text and pasting the result on your website could seem the cheapest and fastest way to localize the contents of your website, and one that anyone could use, it is one of the biggest errors we see repeated time after time. Have you ever read one of those translated websites from a customer perspective? Give it a go and you’ll prove us right.

What a prospective customer seeks in your website is professionalism, reliability and reassurance, and your website is more often than not the only chance you have to make a good first impression. An automated translation, produced without the necessary contextual elements (because these programs cannot translate but word-by-word), will not be able to choose the correct meaning to give between two or more possible translations of every word, thus producing the most typical and laughable translation errors. Indeed translation professionals now see the need for “new type of translation” to tackle the specific issue of website localization (e.g. P. Sandrini, Sandrini 2005, Website localization and translation, MuTra 2005 – Challenges of Multidimensional Translation: Conference Proceedings).

But this is not the only problem to tackle! What could seem to be pure common sense in our language is not always so easily understandable in another, even when this language belongs to the same language family. This is most important when dealing with slogans or calls to action. A poor or approximate translation will produce results that will sound odd in the reader’s mind, drastically reducing the chances to build the trust level that will lead to a purchase. Even though your goal was that of making clearer the many advantages of your product to the customer, what a poor website localization will achieve is indeed the very opposite: the prospect will fly away discouraged by obscurity and lack of professionalism that will be projected from your website on the product you sell.

People with no or low English skills were six times more likely not to buy from Anglophone sites than their countrymen who were proficient in English. (De Palma – Sargent – Beninatto, Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: Why Language Matters on Global Websites, Common Sense Advisory, Lowell 2006)

When you set yourself the commendable goal of welcoming your prospects with a localized website what you need is a translation that is at the same time cultural mediation. Entrusting the task to experts on the target market, language and culture, you will end up with texts that maintain the same information of the English original, adapted to the cognitive background of the reader. This will reinforce the impression of a business that not only makes s great products but also cares about the individual needs of their customers, even abroad.

If you want to talk about your website localization in Italian more in-depth make contact with us now!

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