As of today, Ethnologue.com has counted more than 6K languages. Who knew that for such a relatively short period of human history (on a cosmic scale), there will appear such a great amount of languages.
Even though the number is pretty big, the amount of most-spoken languages is not that slathering. See the table - these stats are also provided by Ethnologue.com.
1. Chinese (Mandarin)
If you’re running a website that contains info relevant in both hemispheres, why not to give it an adequate translation? At least to some of the most popular languages.
When there is the content of some interest for me, but it’s in an unknown language, I usually use an instant translator. But the end result is far from being normal, especially when translating from Chinese into English.
Localization is important, especially for online stores that ship all over the globe.
But when translating your website, try not to make mistakes like these guys have made. Some of them sound silly, others are absolutely hilarious.
* * *When adapting your website to other languages and other markets, it’s not about translating content:
- You need to internationalize your site’s visual design, front-end code and back-end programming, as well as offer recommendations that will ease translation and adaptation of regional differences without applying excessive changes.
- As for content localization, you need to edit iterations, create in-country review and translation of text, graphics and multimedia elements;
- Talking about testing and QA. You need to ensure cross browser compatibility of your resource as well as improve system configurations that guarantee proper functionality and linguistic accuracy.
These are just basic points on a path to internationalization. Now let’s have a look at the most important reasons of internationalization.
Can’t Read - Won’t Buy
- Over 70% of potential buyers will not buy goods or services if the website, where they found it, is not presented in their native language.
- When entry fields are formatted in a manner that is not common to respective country (including name, address, date, hour, etc.) they сonfuse users, as well as use of metric and imperial systems. If you’re using both systems, don’t forget about conversion charts.
- Keep in mind that in different countries various keyboard layouts are used, in this Wiki article you can find more about keyboard layouts from around the globe.
In addition to solving purely linguistic problems of localization, one needs to adapt images, to make sure they are appropriate to the target culture.
For example, if a travel agency for Muslim countries will have a photo of a woman in a bathing suit or with a bottle of beer in her hand, this agency is likely to be a failure in those regions. Same as, when the site is addressed to residents of egalitarian countries: you need to depict the chief communicating with employees, but not sitting at his desk in his office.
When localizing, you need to consider cultural significance of certain colors: for example, in Japan, white is associated with mourning and grief, so when translating the content of the website into Japanese, do not use white fonts.
Another typical problem of localization is an impact of translation on the site layout. Depending on the target language, foreign fonts may occupy more or less space on a page. In addition, in Arab countries they write from right to left, in China and Japan - from top to bottom (this rule is usually omitted in websites).
From commercial point of view, successful localization of a site often helps company enter new markets. And for sure it's associated with significant costs.
First of all, you need special technical writers (or better native speakers) who will find adequate compliance for complex foreign-language concepts. Sales, marketing and technical support staff should also be familiar with the new language as with their mother tongue to be able to provide greater assistance to customers of localized products.
Probably you're asking yourself right now: "What is WPML and how does it relate to this article?" That's pretty simple. Among all localization plugins for WordPress out there, WPML provides the best performance to webmasters and site owners.
Using WPML you can translate: pages, custom object types, taxonomies, menus and even theme texts. Any theme or plugin working with WordPress API, can become multilingual with WPML WordPress plugin.
WPML offers several ways of translation:
- Create translations in a form of new entries or pages with the help of WordPress editor.
- Monitor translation process.
- Translate to more than 30 languages at ICanLocalize.
- Translators can use different systems via XLIFF in WPML.
WordPress developers and designers will definitely benefit from WPML because they can create multilingual designs just like that. What’s more, with the help of WPML plugin you can translate comments people leave on your blog. Comments in a different languages, will be automatically translated using machine translation. This will help you understand what they are talking about before you respond. 'Comments translation service' works in an automatic mode.
How to Use WPML?
A lot have already been said about localization, so let's have a closer look at how to use WPML plugin. Following this link you will find a detailed tutorial on how to use WPML plugin with Cherry Framework WordPress Themes by TemplateMonster .
Also note that we’ve restyled and completed the presentation page of our WordPress Theme Cherry Framework. There you can find all info you need about this framework. Also we'd like to tell you that most of TemplateMonster WordPress themes are WPML ready meaning there will be no difficulties localizing these themes.
When talking about such complex topic, some resources dedicated to localization are really important. Below you can find links to articles you may want to read before starting 'localization procedure'.
- Marketing Localization: Is Your Website Trying to Tell You Something?
- The Art of Culturally Customizing a Website
- Five Steps to Take before Website Localization
A tool like WPML will simplify the process of creating multilingual websites. Even though this plugin isn't free, the price is actually reasonable, especially if you own a popular website and are focusing on building a profitable enterprise.
WPML dev team provides regular updates, which is really vital for owners of multilingual sites who accept WPML as an assistant able to deliver their content to readers speaking different languages.
* * *Now let's listen to you. If you ever localized your website or a website of your clients, which exactly difficulties you faced? You are free to speak about it in the comments.