So you’ve decided to look into localizing your website, with the goal of capturing a portion of the overseas (or bilingual at-home) market. That’s exciting! Today, let’s take a look at the steps ahead of you to make your multilingual website a reality.
1. Internationalization (i18n)
I18n may be the most important step in an efficient and budget-friendly website localization project. Essentially, internationalization is the process of prepping your website’s code for localization into any language. There are three key aspects of i18n:
- Using a Unicode font to ensure that all special characters, such as accented vowels or Japanese characters, are supported
- Implementing Hreflang Tags so that Google can make the connection between your translated and original pages, boosting online visibility
- Leaving room for text expansion via flexible design, since all languages differ in formatting
While your Language Service Provider (LSP) will be able to coach you through the i18n process, translation is their time to shine. When it comes to website copy, translators will have to take a more creative approach to keep consistent meaning in the target language, so be sure to choose an LSP with whom you can maintain an open line of communication.
Before hopping into translation, make sure you’ve collected all necessary materials. This includes all text from the site, including forms and metatags, images that will require desktop publishing, and videos for subtitling or voice-over.
3. Optimizing SEO
By this point, your site is ready for the target market, so make sure it’s seen! Running a multilingual SEO campaign is crucial in your translated site ranking higher in search engines. This means doing multilingual keyword research instead of simply translating keywords.
Talk to your LSP about their multilingual marketing solutions and seek advice on what route is best for you.