Launching a new website is one thing. Launching a new website targeted at a broad, global audience is something different. At least it’s more complex than you probably think of.

In this blog post we’ll show you how to avoid common pitfalls in website translation and become a global champion.

#InsideSaaS - Our journey to global success

We at Usersnap teamed up with Linoghub to share our biggest learnings and tips for taking your SaaS business to global success. In the last years we made a lot of progress in targeting a global audience. We experienced a lot of learnings, made some mistakes and also had some great success. So we decided to share our journey with you.

In our first blog post, I’ve shown you some insights why there’s more than English as your prior language. In the second article, Anja gave you seven excellent tips on going international with your website.

So, here they are. The top 6 mistakes you should avoid when translating your website and launching a global website.

1. Not asking essential questions on going global

So, you might have recently launched your product and you saw some spikes in traffic on your website coming from countries which you haven’t expected.

And now you’re considering going global with your website. It sounds so tempting, right?

However, this traffic-driven considerations often lack basic - but strategic - questions when it comes to going global with your product or service.

Before thinking about going global with your website, you should consider the following questions:

  • Is there a need or awareness for your product or service in certain countries?
  • Are your products adapted for local markets?
  • Are there any legal / political restrictions in your newly targeted countries which might make it complex to launch your product/service?
  • How are you going to handle customer service (in terms of language & time zone differences)?
  • How are you going to target your potential customers in those new markets?

These are just some of the first questions which should pop up when thinking about a global launch.

2. Only relying on quantitative data from Google

Don’t get me wrong. Google and its different tools are a great starting point. With the Google Keyword Tool and the Google Global Market Finder you have great tools at your fingertips for evaluating the market potential of certain countries.

The Global Market Finder enables you to find new countries based on various search terms and the existing competition (= adwords advertisers). The Market Finder from Google basically combines the number of local search queries and the cost-per-click of local ads.


However there are a couple of things to consider when making use of those tools:

  • The basis for all those evaluations are keywords and search terms. You need to have an excellent knowledge about various local markets in order to understand which keywords are used in which use cases.
  • The Google Market Finder relies 100% on Google Adwords, which might not reflect the real market situation.
  • There might be interesting countries out there, where Google isn’t that popular and not the main search tool.

3. Localizing content by putting it into Google Translate

As automated translation services become more and more popular, people tend to believe that a website translation can easily be done with Google Translate. Yes - it can be done. However, results show that the current state of automated translation is still of low quality.

Especially when it comes to marketing copy and technical terms, an automated translation won’t get you anywhere.

Better make sure to invest time and money in a great translation service.

4. Focusing only on website copy

As Anja wrote in her last blog post, there’s way more to consider than text translation. Preparing a website for a new language includes more tasks than just focusing on the website copy.

Making sure that screenshots, images, meta descriptions and og data are translated as well is a core and essential step in every website translation process.

Do not underestimate the time necessary for translating all meta information and images as well.

5. Not thinking about local content distribution

You might think that you’ve done your job as soon as you’re done with the translation tasks. You’re not. Translating your website is just the first step.

When entering new countries and new target audiences you better should be prepared to adjust your content distribution strategy. Especially when expanding to other regions and continents this is an important topic.

Facebook is popular in Europe and North America. However, there might be other (maybe better) networks available. VKontakte in Russia, Mixi in Japan, or WeChat in China. There’s a lot of unknown when it comes to social networks, content distribution and UX in other countries.

6. Only considering language barriers

Language is a huge barrier for a lot of people. Taking into account that English is only ranked 3rd when it comes to the most common languages on this planet (yes - on the 3rd place after Mandarin & Spanish), it becomes even a larger barrier.

And besides language, there are probably a ton of other market entry barriers which every company should consider. Even if you’re a software company selling a software solution to various markets, you might (re-)consider various soft facts.

Besides legal and political entry barriers, there’re probably a bunch of cultural differences to take into consideration.

Wrapping it up.

Launching a multiple-language website might sound like an easy win in the first place. However, translating your website is an intense phase during every project, where people tend to forget about important tasks. By avoiding the mentioned mistakes and making use of great translation services, you can ensure an efficient and transparent way of translating your website.

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