Accurate translations are crucial for creating a successful multi-cultural website. It’s important to work with professional translators who are fluent in the target language and have a deep understanding of the cultural nuances and idioms that may be unique to the culture.

Translations are important. In fact, more than 1/3 of all internet users are non-native English speakers. And these visitors stay for twice as long if the site is in their native language. [1] The mistake that many companies make is to treat translations as an afterthought. Or, they skip it all together because of the hassle and expense. Here are some considerations to ensure effective translations for your web experiences:

  1. Plan for translations. Ensure that translations are a part of your project plan and budget from the beginning. Consider all costs including: technology costs- development, CMS, plugins, and software. Also, consider the additional time, coordination involved with translating and testing translated content.
  2. Don’t forget about the nuances of second language speakers. Often there is a mismatch between languages that the internet users and what people actual speak. They may be reading an alternative language on your site because that is all that you have available. The key is to focus on providing clear language, structured content, and prompts to help users as they navigate the largely English-speaking web.
  3. Remember: language does not equate to nationality—millions of Spanish speakers live throughout the Americas, West Africa, and Europe, for example.
  4. Consider translating text and other forms of media, like images and video.
  5. When possible, use human translation services. Machine translation (like Google Translate) is easy and inexpensive, but it is: (a) not the most exact (b) cannot match brand tone and personality (3) does not consider the total experience.


See the full Cross-Cultural UX Design resource.

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