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Website Translation Tips

November 11, 2016

If you've ever come across a website in a foreign language, chances are you saw an icon appear asking if you would like to translate the page into English. You've probably also experienced the frustration of the translation being generally poor and still feeling lost while reading the page.

When it comes to translating the written word, regional dialect must be taken into account. The most easy way to demonstrate this is by visiting a site published in the United Kingdom. While it is still in English, it is most definitely a different English than you are accustomed to. Certain phrases and words can have entirely different meanings which may be lost on the reader.

This is important to take into account if you are considering translating all or part of your website into one or more languages. Many businesses based in the United States struggle with this problem when they attempt to have their websites translated into Spanish. Depending on the background of the translator, you may notice drastic differences in what is written.

For example, an English to Spanish translation done by someone who's family is from Puerto Rico or Cuba will be very different from that of someone from Mexico or Spain. Differences in words, phrases, pronunciation and meaning can often leave readers perplexed.

The best way to approach the task is by having a native, bi-lingual speaker from the United States perform the translation. A good translator will take into account the subtle differences in syntax and write a Spanish version of your web page which will be understood by the majority of your audience.

It is always a good idea to have one or more additional native speakers read through the translation and highlight areas of concern. These can be taken back to the writer for further clarification. When you're confident with the final product, work with your web developer to apply a toggle button which will easily switch between English and Spanish. Happy translating!

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