Translating your website content in various languages, can be considered as your means for business expansion into newer, more potential markets. This step will aid you in establishing a good foundation & a long-lasting relationship with your client base. Creating a niche in today’s time, is comparatively more challenging, since there already exists a number of competitive & predominant brands.

To ensure that your brand makes a smooth – landing into the target market, below are some common mistakes that must be avoided during the process of localization :-

1. Machine translation

You will come across numerous websites online or tools, which provide quick and free translations. Using these tools does not guarantee accuracy or consistency in translation. Grammatical errors can also be expected.

2. Lack of background or contextual knowledge

Every other translator doesn’t have the right skill or expertise to assist you in localizing your website. For starters, the person should be a native translator, so that there is no room for error, especially when it comes to the context and background knowledge of the respective country. The world today is governed by relativism, and so, what is considered right or acceptable in one culture, may not be the case elsewhere. Certain behaviors or practices may be more liberal in the US, whereas it may not be so, in the Asian countries.

3. Assuming there’s no need for transcreation

Apart from the above given fact, that contextual knowledge is a must; it would certainly be an added advantage, if the translator could add that extra dash of humour or punch line, which the target audience could easily connect with. More so, finding a common ground between transcreation and retaining what the brand stands for. This is precisely why copywriting or transcreation should not be taken for granted.

4. Imbalance between translation & design

Languages differ greatly not only in grammar and style, but also, in their script. Some languages have a more elaborate writing system, which could easily take up more space. While localizing your website, it is essential to understand such differences, so that the localized website doesn’t end up looking shabby or unprofessional. The word ‘business’ in Chinese would be ‘商业’. The difference in text spacing is evident & therefore should be taken into consideration during website localization.

5. Carelessness while selecting appropriate imagery

A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. But one inappropriate image of some gesture or hand sign is perfectly capable of giving out a wrong vibe to your customer, which could possibly cause them to take offence. For instance, the ‘V’ sign in South-East Asian countries is a sign for peace, victory. Alternatively, in Australia, NZ, UK and Ireland; the same is a sign of contempt or defiance towards authority.

6. No proper SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy

To generate website traffic, keywords or tag words as they are known, play an important role. According to the comScore Report (October 2012), Google accounts to 66.9% of the total search engine usage. However, it is to be noted that Google is most commonly used among English speaking users and when the motive is to tap into countries, where English isn’t the primary language, it is a must, to translate keywords accordingly & not in the literal sense, as the target audience may have another word for that particular product or service. Also, the other popular search engines provide results in the respective native language. Therefore, the lack of a sound SEO strategy can result in loss of website traffic.

7. Excluding LIVE review of website

Post-translation, it is essential to do a LIVE review of website, integrated with the translated content. Eliminating this step could mean leaving out the errors in translation or design, since they will go unnoticed. In other words, quality check or proof-reading of the translated website should be included in the localization package.

8. Less or no attention towards legal requirements

Rules and regulations with respect to any kind of business, trade and commerce differ from one country to another. The last thing you’d want, while expanding your business in another country, is to get unnecessarily caught up, in legal hassles which would not only cost a lot, but also tarnish your brand image. To be on the safer side, it will be of help, to consult a legal expert, so as to modify and translate the various relevant policies, procedures, etc. according to that of the target country.

9. Lack of client engagement

The localization process doesn’t end with the creation of a multilingual website. It must be updated in a timely fashion, with content that is relevant and relatable to the customer, so they’d want to come back to your website, and consider it to be a worthy brand, for the long run. This can be tackled with the help of social media profiles, blog posts, polls, ad campaigns, etc. in the respective languages. Having an active chat support system will also benefit the interaction with customers, demonstrating that you care and are prompt with problem-solving.

10. Unplanned deadlines & lack of communication

Above all, it must be understood that localization is not entirely the responsibility of the vendor providing translation service. The company must also take efforts to be in loop of the progress and communicate their expectations, so that the issue of unrealistic, unplanned deadlines doesn’t arise. The translators also must receive some basic guidelines on what is expected of them. This would ensure that an optimum level of quality is met.

From the above points, we can conclude that quality translation requires a skilled, domain specific translator, who has the right amount of knowledge, to understand the nuances & terminologies of any given text & translate it effortlessly without getting stuck on trivial matters.

We, at CMM Languages, provide efficient, cost-effective translation and localization services in 65+ languages. Learn more About Us. Send us your Translation requirements at