How To Make Websites Work In Different Languages

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“My question is about how to make websites work in different languages. As I operate my business with customers throughout Europe I need to present my website in several languages. How does this work? Once I have the text translated, do I have to make separate sub domains for each version or is there some software that magically changes it when visitors click on the appropriate flag?” – Gaynor

Hi Gaynor, there is a software that can magically change your website content into 34 languages when visitors click on the appropriate flag. You can check out the product here.

Two years ago, translating websites into different languages was touted as a way to increase your website traffic from the search engines.

This is because of the lower search engine competition in other languages as compared to English.

This may still be true today. (I have not tried playing with different languages, so I can’t speak from experience.) But thanks to your reminder, I’ve just purchased a copy of the translator. I will apply it to my websites to see if it can really increase my web traffic. I’ll report the result in the blog once I get some results.

There are 3 scenarios I can think of when considering the possible website translation solutions:

1. For more search engine traffic

If your objective is to get more search engine traffic to your website, I think the paid translator is worth considering.

All the translated pages will be indexed in the search engines and you can potentially get search engine traffic from those translated pages.

2. For better visitors’ experience

If your objective is solely to enhance visitors’ experience, there is no need to waste money. You can use the free Google translation tool.

Your translated pages will not be indexed by the search engines. So you won’t get any extra traffic from the translated pages. But existing visitors to your website will be able to view your website in other languages.

To add Google translation tool to your website, you can either use javascript or PHP script.

For javascript solution, you can refer to

http://labnol.blogspot.com/2006/11/add-google-translation-flags-to-your.html

For PHP solution, you can refer to

http://www.donutey.com/translation.php

3. For more sales

If your intention is to provide different versions of your salescopy to visitors from different countries, I think it’s better to manually translate the English salescopy into different languages. This is the most tedious alternative, but it’s the best option for sales conversion.

There is no need to arrange the translated pages into different subdomains, unless you are translating the entire website. If you are only manually translating a few important pages, you can simply keep all the pages at the root domain level.

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Share your thoughts

  1. Gaynor

    Hi Kenneth

    Thank you so much for your very speedy and informative response to my question. You’ve helped me to clarify my thinking on this issue and pointed me in the direction of useful resouces to check out.
    Your answer has been very helpful indeed.

    Have a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

    Gaynor

    Reply
  2. Rich

    Thanks for the information Kenneth.
    I never really gave much thought to global sales, I figured it would be to much of a problem, but this seems pretty simple.
    Thanks again
    Rich

    Reply
  3. Tali bargains

    You know I never thought about translating websites but the information and resources you have just provided will definitely come in handy. Thanks very much again for such a thoughtful blog

    Reply
  4. george

    Your suggestion is great Ken.

    But have you thought about this — say I translated it to Spanish, and that guy signed up and then emailed me his queries in Spanish ……how am I to reply back to him coz I wont be able to read and understand what he writes ?

    Any ideas ?

    Thanks and merry Xmas to everyone out there !

    George Eng
    Malaysia

    Reply
  5. Roberta

    I enjoyed your article. In fact, I use my own online language learning business as a gateway to a vast array of international marketing niches. Everybody is interested in learning a second language and especially English learning and translation tools are a great way to attract international clients. Would love to have you visit my site.

    Reply
  6. Tony

    First of all: Kenneth’s articles are simple brilliant. To me, a website newbie with a knowledge of the toic that is next to none, you reveal a wealth of knowledge and I am truly thankful for that.
    I’d like to make one comment, though, regarding the automatic translation of websites. I’m a native German speaker but my website is builtin English – so I always picked my brain as to how I could make my site available to German readers as effortlessly as possible. That is when I came across this article and of course my interested got peaked. But with all due respect: from a translation and quality perspective, all automatic translation tools are worthless in my opinion, and ultimately, they are nothing else but a diservice to readers/customers. The translations are ridiculous, and it doesn’t matter if you use Google or a software tool. Whichever one you use, the result is useless. Again, that is if you put yourself in someone’s shoes – a real person, not a search engine – , who finds your website and wants to translate it by using any of the available tools.
    It’s a different story if you mainly care about just getting your website exposed to the masses. I agree that this might work extremley well, because you can exponetially more URLs out there, hence more potential visitor.
    But it’s ultimately a decision between quality and mass exposure.

    Reply
  7. JeansHub

    Love your article, but I have a question. Does Google view same pages in different languages as duplicate content. I can’t seem to find a firm answer to that.

    Reply

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