For most businesses, expanding and exploring new territories for profit maximization is often the goal. However, the language barrier is a significant obstacle in this quest to cross oceans and become a global entity. Having a multilingual website for your business is a massive step towards the dream of globalization.
With a multilingual website, you are able to cater for 80% of the world’s population that doesn’t speak English. It is a vital step that could be your business Midas touch. However, it isn’t an easy task if done hastily.
Below are easy steps on how to make a multilingual website for your business:
- Translate Your Content
While this isn’t closely related to the designing aspects of building your website, and this is the most critical step in the process. Translating your content into the desired languages provides fodder to be used.
Always seek the services of an actual human. Experts in translation services in New York, with an impeccable grasp of all aspects of the language, will be of great impact. As there are pages and pages of content, this is the most time-consuming step, without which the excellent designing and website building is in vain.
Your translated content has to feel natural, which is only achievable through the use of experts. However, always be keen to avoid free translation tools as they are inaccurate. The translation tools don’t understand the nuances contained within a language, which is a potential deal-breaker.
- Domain Strategy
After translating your content, it is vital to determine your domain strategy. There are two options when deciding on a domain strategy: the subdomain approach and the separate domain approach. Either of these options is ideal, depending on your needs.
With the subdomain approach, you will be creating extra linked pages for your translated content. For example, if your content is in French, you will have to make other pages of the same content in the desired language linked together by a subdomain. The subdomain must have an option for choosing language before proceeding to read the website.
The separate domain, however, involves creating different domains to serve other languages. This approach has numerous benefits when it comes to customer satisfaction and interaction, as a domain can be tailored to suit the targeted audience speaking the language specifically.
Picking the right domain strategy depends on a number of factors. With each having its pros and cons, it is essential to understand that which suits your business website.
- Language Selection Menu
For any business, the overall customer experience determines whether a business will stand or fall. When designing a multilingual website, choosing a language selection menu where users will select their preferred language is vital. How smooth and easy it is makes up the first impression, even before interacting with your product.
To be customer-friendly, use the widely recognized form of a menu. The mission is to be simple and allow customers to surf freely through your website. Use the commonly used drop-down menu in the top-right corner of the homepage. As most websites have it there, it is easy for a customer to find it quickly.
- Language Selection Menu Design
After deciding on where to place your language selection menu, work on designing a language selection menu that will represent all the languages in an understandable order.
The selection menu should include a list of all the translated languages, using either the text-based flags or both. Select one which is most efficient for your business. A vital detail to remember is that flags represent countries and not languages. In addition, the languages have to be written in their native form. For example, German should be written as ‘Deutsch.’
However, designing a language selection menu isn’t the only best practice for a multilingual website. Here’s a list of other best practices for a functional and successful multilingual business website:
- Translate all URLs
- Use plugins with multilingual SEO
- Use expert translations
- Translate meta descriptions
While a font may look great for the English language, consider how the said font will appear in more complex languages such as Chinese. Most people tend to overlook how vital typography is for a multilingual website. Always strive to make your website readable to everyone on your website.
Designing a multilingual website can be a game-changer if done without haste, taking a keen interest in detail and aiming to provide your users with a unique customer experience. With the right professionals and following the steps laid out above, you’ll be ready to scale new heights in your business!
Melony Hart is a content writer and a techpreneur. She has worked for multinational organizations as the lead marketing strategist. In her free time, she loves sourcing funding for tech start-ups.