The Language Barrier (and how to break it!)

I’m sure that just like me, you’ve also wondered how to increase the number of visitors on your site.

The key word to that is accessibility. As humans, we like to read in our native language, and don’t want to invest effort into understanding.

When we choose reading or viewing material, we’ll pick something with fluent and up-to-date lingo, directed at us, right?

Around the world, this has been understood a while ago, and successful website such as Amazon, eBay and AliExpress are available in a variety of languages, in order to give access to as many people as possible. They’re even available in Hebrew- which isn’t such a common language. I mean, they do say “deal with a penny as you would with a fortune”, no?

Most websites in Israel are available only in Hebrew. This results in the 100,000 Olim from the Americas, Britain and South Africa to turn to external websites for their needs. If this isn’t enough, it also prevents 1.8 Billion English-speakers around the world from being exposed to their contents!

So what can you do?

It might have crossed your mind that “hey, google translate works just fine. If someone wants to read my website, all they have to do is click “translate” and bam! The page is translated. So….no. google translate is indeed a sweet and somewhat effective tool, but its translations definitely need to be monitored. Many of you have probably faced a situation where using a translation software caused a funny misunderstanding in the good case, or an awkward / aggravating situation in the less mild case.

To prevent embarrassment and awkward situation, I recommend giving up the use of translation software. To check if this option is relevant to you anyway, try plugging in a few lines from your website into the software. Translate it to the desired language, and then plug in the translated lines, and translate back to the original language.

This is what happened when I tried translating the above paragraph:

“Probably came to your mind thinking ‘Hey, Meatball works really well, who wants simply to click “Translate” and Louella, the page is translated. ” So this is … not. While Google Translate is a good and pleasant, but only if the translation is performed under control in particular. Many of you have probably encountered a phenomenon in which Trgmtm something foreign language, and one person talked laughed at best, or offended and angry at worst mild.”

Your choice…

The economically sensible option is translating the website by a freelancer, who will provide a targeted and precise response to the website’s needs. The freelancer’s job is not only to translate the website, but to adapt its content to the new target market. The customers overseas aren’t the Israeli customers.

An experienced freelancer will adapt the dialects, expressions, phrases, examples and parables to the audience abroad. This is called Localization.

Share with friends and encourage business-owners to make a change!

This article is written in English, for the benefit of the English-speakers seeking change in the Israeli website climate.

 

About the Author
Born in NY and bounced back and forth until landing in Israel (hopefully permanent). Love translating and helping people understand different cultures. I'm a married Chassid-ish woman, and am currently studying at the OpenU for a B.A in social sciences.
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