Website Localization

“If you build it, they will come.” That line may have worked in Field of Dreams, but it’s bad advice for your web marketing strategy.

The size of the web in Japan is more than one million domains. Now, please describe your business in one word and translate it into Japanese, then search online using that word. The number of pages returned is the number of your competitors.

Only 2.4% of searchers open the tenth page in their search results. If you are in the first position, 33% of searchers will visit your web page. The other 77% close their browser or search again with different keywords.

Search Result chart
Credited to Chitika | Online Advertising Network

Now that we’ve established that getting customers to your website is not easy, how about getting customers to stay on your website? That can be even more difficult.

Kissmetrics reported that the average bounce rate, or the percentage of visitors who land on the website and then leave (“bounce”) rather than continuing on to view other pages, is 40%. The average time on a site is 190 seconds.

When localizing your website, you need to make sure that your website attracts the right target audience and gets them stay on your website until they do something like purchase, sign up, or share, and do it better than your competitors.

Half-translation VS Half-baked translation

Beware of the “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to web app development. Throw in every decent idea that comes along and you’ll just wind up with a half-assed version of your product. What you really want to do is build half a product that kicks ass. (by 37signals)

There are many half-baked translators, including some translation agencies, who offer translation for half or quarter of what I charge. Some of them are entirely unqualified who deliver translation in other languages done by Google Translate. They don’t care if your business succeeds.

Quality translation is not really about natural to native eyes or error-free. It’s about achieving your business goals. Your web content is not just there to say something, it’s there to get quote requests, get investors, generate leads, or encourage social share.

Cheap half-baked translators may get your entire website translated into Japanese, but it results in low conversion rate, high bounce rate, and sometimes bad publicity.

My translation is more expensive than half-baked translation because my translation is transcreation. I read text in the source language, conduct web research to understand the target audience in Japan, conduct a Search Query Report analysis, create great sales copy, adjust style sheets to Japanese typography, proofread, proofread again, check legal compliance to local laws, and deliver the localized text to you to make sure that you achieve your business goals.

Start from the core of the page and build outward.(by 37signals)

When internationalizing your business, you don’t need to translate all web pages into all languages. Start with what matters the most. If you don’t know where your epicenter is, let me help you.

To find out more about what I do, my experience, what other people think, or simply say hello.

Some of my publication

I charge 0.1 USD per English word for English to Japanese translation. You might find my offering expensive, but, in fact, the market price is 0.09 to 0.13 USD per word according to Proz. You can find cheaper translators, good translation is expensive and it’s totally worth it.

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