Creating a multiregional or multilingual website is important for companies that are servicing customers in different countries or regions or plan to grow and expand into foreign markets.
What’s the difference between a multiregional and multilingual website?
Making your site multilingual means making it available in multiple languages. Remember, 75% of the world’s population doesn’t speak English! Therefore, if your organization plans to grow and attract customers in different countries, you should consider investing in a multilingual site.
Making your site multiregional, on the other hand, means localizing your site for different regions—whether in the same country or internationally. For instance, if your service offering differs between Canada and the US, both of which are English-speaking, you may consider having a Canadian version and a US version of your site with content focused on each target group.
When your organization is ready to implement a multilingual or multiregional site, there are various services and tools available to help with the process. However, if you don’t do it properly, you may run into 3 common pitfalls:
1. Badly Translated Content
Machine translators are quick and cost-efficient, but they’re not very reliable and can result in low quality translations, which can negatively impact user experience, messaging and site ranking in search engine results. To ensure your site content is translated properly and in the right context, engage reputable vendors that offer human translation services and are knowledgeable about your target and industry.
2. Content Management Nightmare
If your site has lots of pages of content and you are translating it into several other languages, you can easily find yourself in a content management nightmare. During content development and translation, it may be best to create a copy deck of your entire site in English and have that translated into the different languages. You can also use cloud services such as GatherContent, which allows you to export your content into your site’s compatible CMS or API. Another neat tool to consider, if your site runs on WordPress, is the WordPress Multilingual (WPML) plugin.
3. Bad SEO
Your site should be search engine friendly and each page should have meta title tags, a meta description, keywords, alt tags, etc. If it’s not, this the perfect time to optimize your site so that Google ranks your pages better! To properly optimize your sites in the other languages, make sure you don’t directly translate keywords as per Daily SEO Tip. People may not search the same phrases in different regions or countries. Also, make sure you properly set up your sitemap so that Google knows whether your site is multilingual or multiregional and doesn’t penalize you if you have identical content, say on the Canadian and US versions of your site. Check Google support for best practices in setting up sitemaps and additional useful information on multiregional and multilingual websites.
If you’re thinking about creating a multiregional or multilingual website, we’re happy to help. Contact us and check out examples of multilingual sites we’ve developed for Hubwoo and Livingston International.