Understanding Your Audience in Effective Website Translation

Posted on October 2, 2016 · Posted in Website Translation

Translating a website, by necessity, is a complex process. Regardless of the size of your business, you have to not only communicate your business to audiences in foreign languages, but also be sure that the context and value of your products does not get lost in translation. The more complex and in-depth your website, the more daunting the process can become.

Fortunately, website translation is far more science than art. Of course, you have to make sure that the context is right, meaning that a machine translation will never be enough to maximize the potential success of your content in other languages. But beyond that, the process requires a thorough and structural audience analysis to be successful.

Who Reads Your Website?

Any marketing professional will be familiar with this question. Target audience analysis has become an integral part of any marketing strategy, allowing professionals to center their content and efforts around the audience instead of their brand.

Finding out who your readers are, of course, goes beyond simple demographics. If you’re looking to translate your website into Dutch, for example, you likely know that the readers will likely be based in the Netherlands. But reader intent matters just as much in this part of the analysis.

When visitors go to your website, what do they expect? Are they looking for straightforward, non-nonsense text that explains exactly what they need to know swiftly and succinctly? Or are they just browsing around, waiting to be convinced by that one piece of compelling content that will lead them to become customers? If you know your visitors’ intent, the picture of your target audience begins to clear up.

Translating Content While Considering Audiences

Analyzing your audience also lays bare a significant overlap that impacts effective website translation. The same type of audience reading your content in a foreign language may have very different contextual expectations than the same type of visitor would have in the United States.

German professionals, for example, expect to quickly find content that gets to the point. Italians, on the other hand, will be more receptive of expressive language that goes into depth about describing the content. Both are generalizations, of course; your specific audience within your foreign country of choice may have different expectations, which your target audience analysis should unveil.

The Issue of Multiple Audiences

Translating your website becomes even more complex if your website addresses multiple audiences. For example, you may have a section on your online presence that is specifically targeted toward your own employees. That section, as a result, should be translated differently than the promotional pages designed to sell your product or service.

Consider websites with multiple audiences, and you begin to see the importance of human translation compared to the machine alternative. College websites, for example, have sections that target potential students, alumni, parents, and their own employees. Each section will be written very differently to accommodate the audience in question, and needs to be translated accordingly.

Of course, not every part of your website may need to be translated. You may only need to address one audience in the translation, which simplifies the process. But knowing exactly what you need plays a crucial part in making your translation process successful.

Finding Professionals Who Can Help

Given the above complexity of any project that includes your website, regardless of its size, it’s important to find professionals who can help you accomplish your goals. Website translation that does not keep your audience in mind will not only confuse your audience, but even has the potential of harming your reputation in foreign markets. To learn more about finding the right professionals that can translate your website effectively and successfully, contact us.