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Now that you’ve taken the time to plan your website translation (what to translate, who will do it, etc.) there is one big thing to keep in mind – the navigation! We see problems with navigation on translated websites all the time. Here are 5 key points to remember when you translate your website.

#1 – Make the Language Picker Easy to Find and Use

If your website visitors can’t find where to choose their preferred language, they’re not going to stay and shop on your site. Don’t lose out on these potential customers. Make the language picker easy to find and use.

Best practice is to place either a globe or flag in the top right of your header. That’s relatively standard and the first place your visitors will look to find your translated pages.

And once they click on the picker, make sure the languages are in the language they represent. For example, English will be listed as “English”, but Spanish should be listed as “Español” and Traditional Chinese should be “繁體中文.”

The easier it is for your visitor to find and read their language, the happier they will be.

#2 – Only Point to Other Translated Pages

Generally speaking, it’s not cost-effective or necessary to duplicate your entire website into every language. Not only would that be very time consuming, but it would also be very, very expensive.

We recommend narrowing down your target goods or services that you would like to offer in another language, as well as some key pages about your company, like “About Us” and “Contact,” and start there when you translate your website. Read our Case Study “Sensor Manufacturer Shatters Global Growth Goals with Translation.”

Since your entire website is not going to be translated into the other language, it doesn’t make any sense to point foreign-speaking visitors to pages that are not in their language. On your translated pages, have modified navigation that only points them to other pages in their language.

Which brings us to the next two points.

#3 – Translate the Header

The header is the road-map to your website, make sure that you translate it. And make sure it points only to the pages in that language (see #2).

Which brings us to the next point…

#4 – Translate the Footer

Your footer provides extra added information about your company and how they can find answers to their questions. Again, this should be translated and only point to other translated pages.

Once you have a translated header and footer it’s reusable for every translated page, so it only needs to be done once.

Remember though, as your business increases in the new markets and you start to offer more goods and services in the other language, don’t forget to update your headers and footers accordingly so your customers can find what you’re offering.

#5 – Do NOT Use Google Translate!!

Last but certainly not least, avoid using the Google Translate widget on your website. The quality of the translation isn’t good, and the functionality of the widget is often even worse.

Often companies say "Aha, we're translating our site. We're putting the Google Translate widget on there." Yet they hide the language picker down in the footer where it’s difficult to find. Plus, the Google plugin lists the languages in English or the native language of the site, making it difficult for the visitor to choose their language (see #1).

Imagine if you are an English speaker visiting a Chinese website. Maybe you get lucky and find the widget, yet when you click it all you see is a list written in Chinese characters. How will you know which one of those says English?

Google Translate is free, but it is not user friendly and even if they can figure out which language in the list is theirs, once the page is translated, the quality is not great. This does not reflect well on your company and you will lose on leads and customers.


There you have it, 5 key points to remember when you translate your website. If you have any questions or need advice on how to get started with your website translation, reach out to us or use this form to receive a free 30-minute consultation for your company.


Rapport International specializes in multilingual communications, providing language translation and interpretation services that are accurate and culturally appropriate. We use the right voice, correct terminology to avoid liability, customize services to your needs, and deliver on time and within your budget. And with our 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can trust that it’s done right. Contact us today if you would like more information or to get a free quote.

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Categories: Project Planning & Management, Problems & Solutions, Multilingual Growth

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