Localizing Your Website for the German Market Will Drive Traffic!
By using an experienced language services company such as EPIC Translations; you are able to localize your German language website that is specifically optimized for the German culture and business etiquette.
Localizing your company’s website in a different language for a foreign audience is about more than simply rewriting your English website copy. Often, colloquialisms and figures-of-speech that are common in one language and culture can be incomprehensible or nonsensical in another. If not translated and localized correctly, your website might look amateurish and incomplete to the target market.
Target market ready localized website should be utilized in a natural way by the target audience. Contextually and culturally accurate website localization is the key for gaining a solid foothold in any target market, and Germany is no exception.
EPIC Translations has done quite a bit of work for the German market within a variety of industries, including Manufacturing, Automotive, Legal, Construction, Software, and Marketing. For example, we localized websites for RotoMetrics and Socket Mobile.
Based on our experience, here are 5 key points that you should be aware of when focusing your website for the German market:
1. Avoid texts that disclose the source language
In English, there are several popular marketing phrases that often accompany a product or service. For example, phrases such as “take it to the next level” (“auf die nächste Ebene heben”), “To make a difference” (“einen Unterschied machen”), and “It’s a home run” (“es ist ein Heimlauf”) are common, but can be jarring to a German reader, as they are not commonly used phrases in their country. When localizing, it is important to choose phrases that are shared and comprehended by those who speak the target language.
2. Punctuation must be consistently used in the target language
Punctuation in English plays out a little differently than native German. Commas are used more often in German than English. Quotation marks are also used differently in Germany. For example, “geese feet” would be „Gänsefüßchen” in German. By using punctuation marks that are common in native German, advertising your product or service can fit seamlessly with existing properties and not confuse a German visiting your website.
3. Consider your photographs
It is not uncommon in stock photos to observe people participating in a variety of activities and behaviors. When localizing a website you want to be sure that the activities shown in the photographs translate appropriately with the specific target audience in mind. While cross-culturalism is meaningful and important, it can sometimes be difficult for international audiences to truly understand the intent of a culturally specific ad image. For example, using a baseball analogy for a German market would be unwise since “the American pastime” is uncommon in Germany. The message of speed, strength, and teamwork may not translate effectively with an image of that sport.
4. Eliminate elements that don’t apply to the target market and retain words that are shared or common
When adapting web forms and other input forms on your website, be sure to remove items like “state” from the German version of the site. Something else to keep in mind is to maintain words like “CEO” or “President” that are indeed understood and used in everyday German. In general, you do not need to translate the addresses of your branch offices. A translation service with native speakers can really make a difference in this regard.
5. Accept that there are limitations to localizations and make an effort to inform the reader
It can often be difficult, or even impossible, to completely localize the website. In some cases, forms and other downloadables may still be in English. When this is the case, it is helpful to let the visitor to your website know immediately and provide additional information and assistance in German wherever possible. Occasionally, additional information will be needed for the reader in order to clarify choices made in the English translation, such as gender references in English which would be too difficult to translate into German. In some cases, it might be most beneficial to have a localized website completely independent of your English website, each with their own copy, design, color scheme, and graphics.
These are just five points to keep in mind if you’re thinking about either competing in Germany or enhancing your existing German presence.
By using an experienced language services company such as EPIC Translations that utilizes skilled linguists; you are able to localize your German website that is specifically optimized for the German culture and etiquette.
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