How to Account for Translation When Designing Your Website User Experience
Entrepreneur reports suggest that 79% of web users are likely to abandon it if it’s content is not optimised. While developing a successful website, there are several key factors you need to consider before letting it go live. Language is one of them.
The globe now is a common village thanks to technology, and especially, telecoms. In eCommerce, one has to consider that their stores will not only attract local consumers but international customers as well. That is why considering international audiences gets us one step to cracking it amidst all the harsh competition from established firms.
Therefore, unless you integrate the translation component in your web design process, changing the language later may end confusing the site’s user experience even further.
Moreover, attaching the language tool on the design to target a specific audience allows you to collect the necessary data, and in turn, rewarding them with an excellent user experience.
Herein are some strategies you can use to account for translation when designing your website user experience. You’ll learn how to localise web content and align audiences’ expectations to fit global experiences.
Localising user experience
Taobao is arguably the largest e-retail store in China and the neighbouring countries. If you are a non-native trying to use their services, you’ll need to find a middle person. With the ever-growing competition for market share and domination, you cannot allow your enterprise to get to this level. Hence the importance of translation.
However, translation is a mere portion of the entire process of localisation. It is an intricate adventure that requires much attention as translation.
It is rather becoming a common practice turning into a workplace without wearing the official business attire. This is just the western cultures taking business as an informal venture, and thereby finding it normal to step out of the set norms and hierarchy.
Things aren’t this easy in most Asian nations, especially China. The culture here is inflexible. You cannot step out of the business cultural norms and appearing without proper dressing may render you jobless.
This speaks a lot about the contexts of different cultures around the world. Basically, you can undergo the same training, work in the same industry, earn almost equally, but still work differently.
Therefore, there is an informality of language in some areas where people take the minimalistic approach, while other areas have a firm grip on formality, and require more in the flow of information.
Understanding this phenomenon before localisation may help to substantial extents. A thorough understanding of cultural contexts will take you a step closer to engineering your website with translation tools that hit the mark. Remember, you are there to convert clicks into sales. Attracting more traffic will be good, but converting them will be much better.
Google translate is a great tool. However, translation specialists are better. Just like the cultural context, language can impact your site positively or negatively. The relevance of your website hangs on these two major aspects.
With language, it would be better if you avoided idioms, culturally-based texts, and slang. It is always advisable to use general descriptive language for the easy translation process. Additionally, you can use universally accepted colours and symbols.
Here are some technical considerations to put in mind while customising your website;
- Language display
- Direction of reading
- How much space is needed to present a text?
- Way of encoding the language characters
- How to handle the local dates?
- How are the currencies written (with or without periods and commas)?
- Presenting the first and last name form (which field should appear first?)
Many western languages such as Portuguese and English, people right and read from left to right. On the other hand, Arabic runs from right to left while the Chinese and Japanese run from top to bottom. Therefore, you will need to consider this deterrent seriously in order to accommodate all groups of people who read or scan pages differently.
It’ll take you two to three characters to complete a full word or expression in Chinese. This isn’t the case in German or Swahili. Ideally, you need to plan for all these instances before the development cycle begins.
You will need little space to fit an awful lot of Chinese words. However, you’ll definitely need more space when it comes to Swahili, English, Spanish, or Portuguese. Additionally, as much as you will need less space for Chinese or Japanese words, their characters are complex and need more space than a standard English character.
For instance, the space you’ll need to embed the word “add” in English is much less compared to “hinzufugen” in German. If you had a smaller text container, then you might get stranded.
You could bypass this impasse if you made the UI components to be responsive enough. This allows you to accommodate text expansion. Also, its recommended to have extra white space to account for extra text expansion to prevent spillovers.
Before translation, account for space it would take, or the impact it would have on the UX/UI design. Expandable UI components, truncations, and wrapping can come in handy for text fitting.
Due to an awfully large number of characters to consider for different languages, you might find it helpful to use UTF-8 in encoding your site. The goal is to tune your site to cope with the large variety of languages. Also, focus on the fonts to ensure the right style and size is used.
Dates and currencies
The American date format is MM-DD-YYYY. Britons work with DD-MM-YYYY, while the Chinese dates take the YYYY-MM-DD format. These minor details can affect customer satisfaction. Additionally, you want to be ahead on the various ways currencies are presented. Some use periods, while others apply commas or space to separate.
Rules of capitalisation different from one language to another. For instance, it is a common practice for all letters or all first letters in a word except prepositions and articles in headings to be capitalised in English. However, only the first word is capitalised in Spanish. To be on the safe with this aspect, let your contractor (freelance translator) work this out for you.
Aligning user experience with expectations
Observe those commonly used sites such as Facebook. Their UI patterns have become the norm with millions of users. You can almost say that they have become a way of life. Therefore, you’d expect that plenty of your site visitors want to experience something close to the Facebook or Amazon User Interface.
Imitating UI designs for popular sites is beneficial. It would help you to sidestep common usability issues and align with generally accepted norms hence improving your audience UX.
Designs from popular sites help you to arrange symbols and applicable icons alongside inline components to improve your site’s navigation considerably.
Additionally, it is advisable to align the UX with the cultural standpoint of people. For instance, locals in Korea prefer visual content. Therefore, while developing your site targeting the Korean audience, consider adding images and videos in the pages to align with the cultural preferences.
Moreover, it would be best if you went ahead to research the local users and their preferences by observing the most popular sites they use.
To ensure reliability, responsiveness, and speed, you need to optimise your website. This is affected by the kind of devices your target audience uses, their internet speeds, and the search engines they prefer.
Bad user experience alienates clicks on your website. I wouldn’t spend more than two minutes waiting for a website to load. Neither would I keep trying with more than one unsuccessful attempt. These are the two worst blunders you’d want your site to make.
- Unreliability on the site
- Slow loading speed.
While you are on the trail for global audiences, you have to expect that everyone expects the best speeds and reliability, and your site’s responsiveness to be top-notch.
Furthermore, a business may offer applications for users. Always be quick to do your due diligence before rolling out the plan. Not everyone uses similar devices or internet speeds. Putting such concerns in mind goes a long way in helping you solve such disparities in site development. Besides, creating a fast and responsive website is much better than developing an application for your business.
Without proper translation and localisation, your site’s potential will not be achieved. Localisation is an essential tool in your optimisation strategy to-do list. This is why, if not executed well, you’re likely to have a sloppy website, which in turn will have fewer conversions, cost you loyal clients, and deny you, new visitors.
Ecommerce companies, as well as start-ups, will always launch new platforms with breaking even in mind. So, they’ll consider time, target audience, and then expected income. These three factors are key to the evaluation of your ROIs.
Well-optimised websites are key to holding your audience base together. Therefore, translation and localisation, in general, play a critical role in ensuring that your returns soar above the expected figures.
According to Statista, retail eCommerce sales worldwide are expected to reach $6.5 billion by 2023. This means that the number of people shopping with eCommerce platforms in 2019 will double by 2023:
These are mind-boggling figures. That is why you will see major industry players move with haste to establish their brands in line with standard practices, including localisation. The main goal is to deliver a seamless website which enhances the user experience.
- Here are some more statistics on localisation and the impact it has on eCommerce.
- Language related services have an annual growth rate of 5.52%
- Locally targeted content has 6x more engagement
- 86% of localised campaigns outperformed English campaigns in click-through and conversions
- 72.4% of global consumers prefer to use their native language when shopping online
- 78% of online shoppers are more likely to make a purchase on localised online stores
- On average, companies have international footprints in 7 different markets and translate their content into seven different languages
- 94% of companies plan to increase their localisation expenditures
The KissMetrics founder, Neil Patel, made a discovery that most internet users come from the most populous countries on earth. The confirmed that Indi and China outnumbered the USA in internet usage metrics. He, therefore, decided to tune his site to native languages across the globe.
He translated his site in 82 languages. The results were that he was able to increase the number of clicks by 47%.
This, therefore, goes without saying that the importance of localisation and translation is far much greater to be overlooked.
While translating, be keen to note the variables in languages and cultures to tweak your site to accommodate all. Otherwise, incorrect translation will only serve to take away your customers rather than increase them.
Conduct wide research on the languages and cultures of the local dwellers to note what their preferences are. For instance, you can use Facebook or Amazon in the USA, Baidu and Taobao in China, and other preferred logins for the local people to see their expectations then build a UX which reflects this.