Translation and localization often get mixed up. Without a clear distinction between the two, it’s hard for website owners to decide which one is best for them.
That’s why we’ve decided to explain and illustrate these terms and help you decide which one might be the best one for you and your WordPress site.
We have to point out that there are similarities between the two definitions. They can be used interchangeably, but which one you choose can determine how you communicate with your target audience.
One option may prove to be a better option for you and your website.
Let’s dive in.
What is translation?
Over 50% of all searches on Google are in languages other than English. You’ll likely already have a solid idea of what translation is. It merely involves making content that has been created in one language and transforming it into another language.
For websites, this commonly means that a translation service will take a document, or some other form of content, and change it into another target language.
A good translation will also adopt the correct vocabulary and grammar, for the particular target audience.
What is localization?
Localization works similarly, but it goes one step further.
It translates a text in a more specific way – making it targeted to a particular audience and culture.
There are quite a few studies suggesting that localization can considerably increase your discoverability and appeal to readers and potential customers. An article published by HBR reports on how dissuaded non-English speakers are when it comes to accessing information and making purchases in languages other than their native ones. Below, you’ll find a few essential stats that this article puts forward:
- More than 70 percent of internet users only access sites that publish content in their native language.
- More than 70 percent of users only purchase goods advertised to them in their native language.
- Over half of the responders would rather pay more for a product, but have it advertised in their native tongue.
Localization or translation?
With the above in mind, it could be argued that translation is just one of the steps towards localization.
However, translation can still be highly effective when used correctly and in the right context.
A translation service is often used on WordPress sites when a message or literal meaning needs to translated. When used correctly, translation can be accurate and a like-for-like copy of the original.
On the other hand, if your business wants to adapt a message for a specific audience, localization would be your perfect choice.
Think of translation as very generic – many websites only feel like they need this, especially if they’re not necessarily trying to target any specific audience in that language.
Localization will enable a WordPress site to drive engagement. It will allow you to create content that resonates with particular markets; this will give content more weight and a lot more meaning.
The thing is, even though countries may speak the same language per-say, they will use unique phrases, words, and have a different history.
Who would benefit from translation?
- Those that are taking a region-neutral approach
- Those that aren’t necessarily targeting another language, but want the option there
- Formal documents that need a word-for-word translation
- Those on a minimal budget
- Websites that don’t rely on traffic or engagement for sales/marketing
Who would benefit from localization?
- Those who want to create a more customized approach
- If you’re targeting a specific location
- If you have a set target audience with specific ages, interests, and opinions.
- Where cultural sensitivity is crucial
- If you’re planning on mentioning special holidays, celebrations or customs of a particular culture
- If you want to develop a deeper connection/ resonate on a personal level
Do localization and translation work together?
In short, yes. When you translate your content, the outcome with technically is fine. For some WordPress sites, ‘fine’ isn’t good enough.
Translation lacks any kind pf personalization of character, and the audience will notice this.
Localization uses the translation stage and enables websites to connect with a more specific market. Many WordPress sites jump from translation to localization.
Websites rely heavily on both translation and localization. It enabled them to reach wider audiences, allowing them to balance out any requirements.
How can you translate your site?
If you’re considering translation, you’ve got a magnitude of options waiting before you.
It’s super easy to translate your service, whether you use plugins, websites, or an in-person translator.
Bablic is a simple way to translate your WordPress site in just a few minutes. There’s absolutely no programming required, it’s just a simple plugin like your SEO tool.
Bablic translates every aspect, too. It includes features like advanced SEO and a custom URL.
As your WordPress theme is also a significant consideration, most translation plugins also work hand-in-hand with all themes. These plugins will also work with WooCommerice, and can still be edited so that your site looks perfect in every language.
Don’t forget, you will have to translate individual images and graphics. It’s possible to add custom images and graphics for a new language – which makes a custom URL so important.
Of course, you could also opt for Google translate approach. However, this is often inaccurate and won’t convert to the same accuracy or seamless degree.
The majority of plugins come with step by step instructions or online tutorials. This makes it perfect for those on a budget who simply need to translate in a cost-effective, quick way.
The best translation plugins for WordPress
If you’re thinking of using the translation option, or believe it will be a great starting point – these are the best plugins:
- Transposh (this allows you to combine automatic translation with human translation
- Ajax Translator
- Multisite Language Switcher
How can you localize your site?
If you want to localize your site, it takes a more significant degree of effort. However, the result will be a website that appeals to all your audience. You will need to:
- Localize your theme
- Translate all files on your site
- Changing the language
- Researching into cultural and historical differences
- Consider the ages and interests of your audience
- Translate categories, tags, and custom taxonomies
Of course, in order to ensure that your WordPress site’s localization is accurate, culturally sensitive, and effective – a professional translator could be hired.
It could also be beneficial to run tests and surveys, with your specific demographic to test just how effective your site is.
Of course, you can also use plugins for your WordPress site. However, you will have to ensure that all the above is also covered and that the correct language and culture is targeted.
The best plugins for WordPress localization?
Some of the best plugins for localization are the following:
- Transposh – This translates your content, RSS feeds, page titles, meta descriptions, and other hidden content.
- nLingual – This is a multilingual WordPress plugin that openly discredits services like Google translate – claiming that they generate bugs and mistranslations.
- Translate Press – The main benefit of this is that you can edit your translation from the interface. You can translate content, metadata, and the theme without changing the interface
- WPML – This allows you to convert and localize every aspect of your WordPress sure. It’s one of the most popular plugins for localization.
- The good news is; as WordPress is such an easy and effective website builder, using all these plugins is super easy and works effectively with your current design.
- Localization also often requires a human-level of work, too. This could be something as simple as a human editor just to make sure that you have everything correct and culturally sensitive. It could mean that you use a professional localization expert to transform your entire site.
It’s important to keep adapting your website as language changes too. New words will continuously be introduced, and old terms and slang words will become old.
Why you should opt for localization
You may be wondering why you should go through the effort of localization. Make no mistake; it’s an important step up for any WordPress site, especially if you’re trying to reach new markets.
When each page on your WordPress site is optimized for the local culture, you will benefit. This will ensure that you reach a wider audience, and you’ll create a better relationship with your customers, users, or clients.
When there’s a deeper level of understanding with a user, it creates a much deeper bond. After all, the main goal of any website is to connect and reach the most amount of people. However, it’s essential to underline that localization is a much heftier process. There are multiple services online like Pick Writers that can help you with localizing your site, if you don’t have the budget to hire an entire team.
Translation and localization are two amazing changes to your site. It will allow you to connect with a broader audience, and for them to feel more targeted and included.
Regardless of which you choose, translation or localization, WordPress makes the entire process extremely smooth. Plugins make the transition to another language extremely easy, and ensure that you don’t miss any of the technical details out. With WordPress, not only your content will be localized, your theme, meta information, and essential SEO information will also be localized. This enables you to efficiently and quickly localize your site.
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