Don’t Fail Your Website with Bad Translation

fail-stampThe Internet has given us so much more than virtual shopping malls, Facebook and endless Grumpy Cat memes. The Internet has allowed us to connect with people, places, cultures and businesses like never before. And as the Internet continues to grow these connections and give birth to new ones, your business may find itself in need of website translation and localization services.

But, while you may be thinking to yourself: “Translation? No problem. I’m sure there’s an app for that,” you should definitely keep reading.

Unfortunately, a generic word-for-word translation won’t suffice if you want to take your company global. You want your website to resonate, and effectively represent your audience. You definitely don’t want incorrect grammar and punctuation.

Translation mistakes are common and have happened to some of the best of us. KFC’s “Finger-Lickin’ Good” slogan was translated into Chinese as “We’ll Eat Your Fingers Off!” And the Coor’s Spanish translation of “Turn it Loose” actually meant “Suffer from Diarrhea.” Ouch.

But, website translation goes beyond the actual act of translating. In an Entreprenuer article, Ofer Shosan, CEO of, named five other common mistakes businesses often make when translating their websites:

  • Ignoring cultural differences between countries that use the same language. For example, Spanish spoken by Spaniards and Colombians is incredibly different, and readers will immediately see any word or phrase misuse.
  • Overlooking measurements used by people from other countries (miles vs. meters).
  • Seeing the Chinese market as just one market. There are many different dialects and some require a different character set.
  • Taking a pass on the huge Arabic speaking market because it requires a difficult development of right-to-left capabilities.
  • Forgetting that many old websites Content Management System (CMS), which means there’s no infrastructure for localization and you need to develop a new site that can handle multiple versions.

So what’s the bottom line? If you’re going to translate your website, do it right. And, of course, we recommend that you hire a professional.

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