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What if I want my website in a different language?

Posted on June 24, 2021

 

The internet is a global tool, and this means you may want to speak to people in a language they understand. If you want to get the attention of a foreign market, or notice business coming in from a certain part of the world and want to capitalise on this, how should you do it?

It’s something we’ve seen a few examples of over the years here at Engage Web, and since we have clients in North Wales, it’s not uncommon for them to want their site, or at least a part of their site, in Welsh. Rather than build a site in Welsh and another in English, many simply have a button that can be clicked to change the language. This is the case with the Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament’s website, which defaults to English but can be converted to Welsh by clicking the “Cymraeg” option in the top right corner.

If you need to convert a huge volume of existing text into another language, it may be tempting to simply feed it into a tool like Google Translate, but while machines are getting better at translating and grasping the nuances of languages, they do still make some awful mistakes. Indeed, just this week, a mistranslation by Facebook gave an embarrassing English meaning to a Welsh post from the Snowdonia National Park Authority.

An apology followed, but it really wasn’t the Authority’s fault, as these translations are added by Facebook automatically when presenting content to users that’s in another language to their own. All that could be done as a safeguard is to have somebody check Facebook’s translations in English.

Looking at the Snowdonia National Park Authority Facebook account, it often posts the same content in both Welsh and English, which is one way to ensure you communicate appropriately to speakers of both languages, but what the incident highlights above all is that translation is best performed by qualified humans and native speakers.

For advice on how to set out your website and draw in social media followers from a range of markets, speak to us at Engage Web today.

John Murray
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