When taking your site to other countries, it can be easy to assume that simply translating the text into the local language will suffice. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg, if you want your site to perform well in global markets you need to understand the culture more deeply and write and design to the needs and expectations of that market.
So, what should be considered when taking your site global?
Of course, your site will need to be translated but a simple 1-1 translation does not often work. To start with, some words and phrases do not translate directly into other languages or can even translate into a different meaning. For example, there isn’t a Chinese character equivalent of the word ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Translation will also play a part in your sites search engine optimisation (SEO), popular English terms or keywords cannot be translated and be expected to work in other markets. People from other cultures will use different keywords or terms to search for your product or service.
From a design perspective, words translated from English into other languages can create much longer text. This means that elements such as dialogue boxes or buttons will need to be altered to accommodate this.
Some other languages are also read in a different pattern. For example, Arabic is read left to right and Chinese and Japanese can be written from top to bottom. This means that the way web pages are read and scanned will differ in other countries.
As well as words, colour and imagery can also be interpreted differently in other cultures. For example, in the western world the colour red is associated with warning and danger, but in Asian countries, it is associated with positivity and luck. For instance, in the Chinese stock market red is in fact used to indicate when a stock goes up.
It is also important to consider more social-cultural differences between countries. People of different cultures are motivated and engaged by different things which will, in turn, impact their perceptions and behaviours online.
For example where financial success may be strong motivators in a western environment, honour and integrity will be stronger in many Asian countries. To ensure that your site is ready to be launched abroad it is best to carry out user research in local markets. If you would like to learn more about this contact us.