Are you looking into translating your website? If you are, you need to consider this question: Are you selling anything with it? If the answer is yes, chances are you don’t need translation, you need localisation.
Translating a website is something a lot of businesses do. Most of them turn to machine translation and are fine with the poor translations MT yields. But when you are trying to reach out to a different culture, you need to pay attention to a few details.
Studies have shown that online buyers are more likely to make a purchase in their own language. To get the most conversions out of a website, you need to localise it.
Localisation covers more than just translation. It takes into account everything related to a culture. For instance, if your home website was made for the U.S public, you will need to do a lot of changes to it to appeal to the Chinese public. The theme of the website, this includes pictures, color schemes and even architecture, has to be familiar to the Chinese public. In a way, you are not looking to translate the text on the website, you are looking to translate the whole website.
A localisation expert, who should be native to the targeted culture, knows how to translate a text to make it sound familiar to the foreign reader. Many say that translation is an art, due to the fact that you are not simply translating words, you are translating the message, the tone and the feel of the text.
If you’re looking to make an instructional manual available in other languages, you translate it. But if you want to make a product available in other languages, you need localisation.