Many thanks!

We have received your enquiry and will be in touch as soon as possible.

SwissGlobal Newsletter

Lost in translation? Not with SwissGlobal. Stay up to date with language industry news, tips, interviews and more – subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Website translations: The 3 questions most frequently asked by our clients

Do you want to conquer the entire Swiss market – and perhaps even European and global markets? If so, a multilingual website is an indispensable asset, since an estimated 50-75% of internet consumers will only order from websites that are available in their own language.

This is not solely an issue of trustworthiness and the geographical proximity to the supplier; it also has to do with cultural and linguistic cues and references. Not surprisingly, a German marketing text will be written rather differently than a South Korean one. If you want to have an entire website (or even just a single webpagetranslated, you will probably ask yourself at least one of the following three questions:

1. Should we use a free online tool or have the website translated by a professional?

Have you ever visited a website that was poorly translated or obviously translated by a machine? What was your reaction, what sort of impression did it give you of the company, and how quickly did you end up leaving the website?

It can be tempting to save a bit of money and translate your own website content using Google Translator or DeepL. To remain competitive on a global level, however, it pays off to invest in not just word-for-word translations using machine translation, but also localised (adapted to the target market) and SEO content for your website.

After all, a machine can’t read between the lines or understand the actual content of your text and doesn’t use terminology appropriate to the country and industry. For example, does “train” mean to instruct someone, to be aimed at something, a part of a wedding dress, or simply the railway vehicle?

It would be an absolute shame if your message ended up being lost in the shuffle of inaccuracy. Your aim is to communicate effectively with your readers and customers in other markets and make it easy for them to find you using the search engines they prefer and the right search words – because a lawyer is not the same as an attorney. And solicitors are not barristers. Whoever is translating your text definitely needs to know that these four terms cannot simply be used interchangeably. To ensure accuracy, you first have to establish which legal system the text is from (use of British or American English). Then, you need to determine which precise legal jurisdiction it falls into. Country-specific signs, symbols or formats for dates and times are also better left to an experienced website translator.

The right feel for the language, experience in online marketing, and professional expertise in your sector are decisive for a successful localisation (translation and adaptation) in your target market abroad. Otherwise, a shoddy translation can quickly become an embarrassment – or even a real howler – for your company. If you don’t follow these guidelines, you could risk not only damaging your reputation but also incurring losses in turnover. After all, your website is not just your business card – ideally it should also turn website visitors into paying customers! It all starts with attractive content on your homepage and extends to everything else from descriptions of services and products to calls to action and buttons. Your website text should contain the correct technical terms and keywords and present your company in the best possible way to your target group – using your corporate wording, culturally sensitive formulations and the correct industry-specific terminology.

2. What is the technical process for professional website translations?

  1. How are the documents sent to the translation provider and then returned to the client? Whether it is a static websiteonline shop or a blog – there are 5 common options available, and we have listed them here based on cost, security and simplicity:
  2. Sending your document in Word and Excel. This method requires a great deal of copying and pasting, which is time-intensive and liable to mistakes. The correctness and completeness of the texts depend on one of the most error-prone sources of all – humans. The only advantage of this option compared to the other methods is that no additional tools are necessary.
  3. XML export and import from your CMS (content management system such as WordPress, TYPO3, Joomla or Drupal). This method is more elegant, but cannot always guarantee that all of the texts will actually be exported and translated, since this depends on the export’s settings being correct.
  4. Translation carried out directly in the CMS. This solution is not very efficient because it is also time-consuming and prone to errors. Additionally, you can create what are known as translation memories, i.e. databases with previously translated words, phrases and sentences, for later translations, or use terminology databases. This means that the texts must be processed with a CAT tool (software for computer-assisted translation). Another point to consider is that you shouldn’t underestimate the risks that you incur when you pass on access and/or administration rights for your own website to a third party.
  5. Via proxy localisation. This method is an ideal solution as long as the localised (translated) websites are meant to be actual ‘mirrors’ of the source text. During a proxy localisation, copies of your master website are made and translated. All visitors view the same content displayed in the language of their own country. With this localisation solution, however, the assumption is made that the content that is relevant in one language is also relevant in the other languages. Furthermore, no country-specific content can be added to the individual languages. Nevertheless, by using a TPS (translation proxy service) and automated reports about changes to the master website, missing content can be sent immediately to be translated. This ensures that all your content is always up to date – in every language and on all the translated websites.
  6. Via an API interface in your CMS. This workflow is the best solution for larger companies that need translations on a regular basis. The texts to be translated are uploaded with a simple click in your website system, translated directly by a professional translator and then inserted correctly back into the CMS. Processing costs are reduced this way, and potential sources of error are eliminated.

“How are future website texts or AdWords campaigns handled?”

During a translation, a practical translation memory is created. Previously translated texts will be saved in this database to be used as a reference later on.

This means that future texts will also be translated uniformly in terms of writing style, technical wording and chosen formulations. The tool suggests segments that have already been translated, during the translation process, and ensures that the same words or phrases are only localised once instead of every time they are repeated.

We recommend that you also have translations of your AdWords campaigns, display advertising banners, landing pages, social media posts, newsletters and chatbots prepared by the same provider and/or using the same terminology database and translation memory, to guarantee that your brand image remains uniform.

3. What do you need to bear in mind when considering SEO (search engine optimisation) for a website translation?

International markets call for multilingual websites. If you want to be found around the world, and achieve high rankings in each country via search engines such as Google, a one-to-one translation will not cut it, unfortunately. An SEO translation is what you need in order to take into account the cultural differences in the target country.

The following 3 aspects should be considered for MSEO (multilingual search engine optimisation):

  1. Which search engines are used the most in your target country? Google is not the market leader in every country. For example, Russians prefer Yandex, Czech web surfers like to use Seznam, and the Chinese are partial to Baidu. You need to work with service providers who are familiar with these local preferences.
  2. Which keywords (search terms) are used for searches in your target market? Translating keywords or keyword lists literally will not usually deliver the success you’re hoping for. Carrying out keyword research in the foreign language reveals the cultural and linguistically pertinent search tendencies of your local target group.
  3. How should the SEO text be designed for the target market? In addition to the correct usage of local keywords, synonyms and related search requests, your translator should generally possess the specialised knowledge required for search engine optimisation. This includes the creation of helpful unique content, an understanding of users’ search intentions, HTML formatting, metadata for Google previews (incl. character limits) and much more.

“Now you’re probably asking yourself how long it takes to translate a website (including SEO) and how much it costs.”

The time frame and costs for your multilingual online presence depend on certain pertinent factors:

  • What is the size of your website and how many pages do you want to have translated?
  • Which language(s) do you want to have your website translated into?
  • Which of the 5 methods listed above do you want to use for your translation?

We would be more than happy to receive your request detailing your needs and then prepare a non-binding quote tailored to fulfil your requirements and wishes. Contact us now at one of our branches in Baden or Geneva:


SwissGlobal services