Humans have a tendency to get more social or interactive with people who speak their own language or share a common cultural background. Businesses also fall into this category. In order to expand in other countries, businesses started translating their websites into various languages. This, on one hand, turned out to be beneficial for the target audience as they were opened up to new products and services. On the other hand, businesses gained access to a large customer base and thus higher profitability.
While translating websites, it is really surprising to know that some individuals strongly believe that it just needs a simple conversion of the site content into a different language. However, in reality this is not the case. Language translation may be regarded as just a phase. A complete website localization process entails thorough scrutiny of the cultural background, pictures and symbols, website navigation and even the colors acceptable to the target audience. For instance, a travel site with pictures of inadequately dressed women on beaches may be considered unethical in Muslim countries. Logos and symbols containing white color may have a low success rate in Japan where white is associated to mourning. Navigation and layout may differ in Arabic as it is from right to left instead of left to right.
To sum it up, website translation/localization is one of the most efficient ways for businesses to achieve a global status and credibility in other countries. However, it is also true that it requires some adjustments in accordance with the target markets’ cultural norms and traditions.
What is your opinion – apart from the ones already mentioned what other variables should be considered when translating websites?