So far, we’ve discussed how to write for the best legal translations, and how to make sure your legal materials are culturally appropriate for your target audience. Today we are going to discuss website translation and SEO so that your message not only speaks to your customer in the right language, but it can also be found on the web.
Define Your Objectives
95% of online consumers prefer to do business with companies and professionals whose website is written in their native language. Now you know why it’s important to translate your website, but did you know there is a choice to make when deciding how? Does your website need to be localized? (culturally customized for a specific region of the world) Or can it be globalized? (understood by all people who speak a particular language)
Consider this, if the goal of your website is to educate and advise consumers on local laws and practices, you’ll want to localize by offering specific legal advice and information using terminology specific to your target locale. If you’re communicating general information about your company and services and inviting potential customers to contact you, you probably want to globalize. Globalizing your website is less costly due to scale efficiencies so it’s important to know what you need.
Prepare Your Copy & Layout
First, you should follow the guidelines outlined in our previous blogs about writing and culturally appropriate legal translation. Then confirm the accuracy of all the data and contact information on your landing pages and website copy. Make sure your contact phone numbers work for the markets you are expanding into (avoid 800 numbers as they work only in the US and Canada), and that the e-mail addresses are acceptable for international usage. Next, if you are collecting information via your website (either through forms or ecommerce), make sure you know and follow the appropriate country laws about data collection.
Finally, decide on your preferred navigation access for your target audience on your website. Country flags or lists are the best way to display options for translated websites. Think about personalizing your site by enabling cookies which can remember the chosen language for each customer when they visit your site again.
Don’t Ignore your SEO – Translate it!
Localizing and globalizing your websites through translation helps you speak to the humans in your target market. Translating your SEO data helps you speak to the search engines in your target market. You may have an expertly translated website, but if your customers can’t find you through their local search engines, your efforts will be lost. Keywords, expressions, tags, titles, anchor texts, script messages, image titles and subtitles…in other words, every single attribute on a webpage should be translated so search engines can find and rank you in the target language.
These considerations are a great starting point when translating your website to reach an international, or limited-English-speaking audience. But how do you keep up with translating your changing content such as blogs, news, and press releases? Join us next time when we introduce TransweblationTM for Legal Professionals, a streamlined process offered by Rapport International to address not only your main website, but your content translation needs as well.