Website translation

Translate Your Website Into English, even if English isn’t your first language

Translate Your Website Into English, even if English isn’t your first language
Elizabeth Pokorny
Written by
Elizabeth Pokorny
Elizabeth Pokorny
Written by
Elizabeth Pokorny
Elizabeth Pokorny
Reviewed by
Updated on
September 7, 2023

International companies may have global websites that communicate with clients all over the world. If a company is located in a non-English speaking country but trying to market its products and services internationally, it can be advantageous to them to translate their website into English.

Translating your foreign language website into English can be a great way to grow your business beyond your borders. English is one of the most spoken languages in the world, so an English website allows you to diversify your web traffic and make connections that extend beyond your region. 

You want your website to gain backlinks from international websites and shares from users all over the world, but that generally requires that you translate your content into English. 

Weglot’s translation services can simplify that process.

Why Translate My Website Into English? 

Any branding and marketing strategy depends on a great looking website, but the content of your website is what really seals the deal. When doing business internationally, it’s important to have a website that speaks to your customer in their language. With 1.132 billion people speaking English worldwide, international businesses need to have some English content on their website.

Should I Translate All of my Website Into English?

While the prospect of translating your entire website into English can seem daunting, it’s not always necessary to do a full website translation. You can prioritize translating the parts most relevant to your English-speaking customers. For example, if you have web pages that pertain to services or products not available in English-speaking countries, those don’t necessarily need to be translated into English.

Some factors in your business may not be as important to English-speaking markets, so these may not need translation, either. As an example, industry-specific certifications or accolades that pertain to regions where English isn’t commonly spoken, may not carry as much credibility with your customers in English-speaking countries. Some of your content may be less relevant to English-speaking customers as well.

When deciding your translation options, you’ll want to first prioritize the material most relevant to your English-speaking customers and their purchasing decision. This will include pages about your products and services, and it may include information about your company if corporate credibility is an important factor in the buying decision.

Once you’ve translated the most important pages, you can decide to translate other marketing content that could further convince English-speaking visitors to do business with you. Your website’s analytics may help you find pages that visitors from English-speaking countries are interested in, and you can consult with your happy customers from those countries to find out what additional information they would like to see in the future.

Should I Redesign my Entire Website?

Some advanced multinational companies create different websites for different audiences, even changing the layout and content for different countries. One example of this is Fiat. With different product and service offerings available in different countries, their websites in the United States and Canada are all vastly different from the main one in Italy. While the branding and color scheme carries across different countries, the design and strategy are clearly localized.

What are the Obstacles to English Translation?

There can be some challenges when you translate your website into English. From a design perspective, not all languages take up the same amount of space on a page. Some languages take up more space and others less, so your design may look different when you translate the language. Using a website with a responsive design can help mitigate some of the appearance issues, but some of them may be unavoidable.

One other obstacle is the fact that not all English-speaking countries speak the same English, and not all English-speaking people in the same country speak the same dialect. There are notable differences between the English spoken in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. In general, these forms of English can be divided into three categories: US English, UK English (which includes Canada), and Australian English (which includes New Zealand). As the differences between UK English and Australian English are minimal in the written word, these are sometimes combined into one form of the language called “International English”.

Ideally, you would have a different version of English for Americans, one for those who speak UK English, and one for people who speak Australian English, but if you’re just starting the process, that’s a lot of translation! Fortunately, most English-speakers can comprehend other forms of English pretty well. The predominant form of English used online is American (US) English, but if the majority of your market is from Canada, the UK, or Australia, it’s often a good idea to use International English instead; most Americans can read it.

One other obstacle you may face in translating your content into English is the use of idioms, and this can vary depending on the version of English as well as the regional dialect. As a result, translating idioms is extremely difficult. It may be worthwhile to examine your content before you translate it and remove idioms from your content, as they seldom translate correctly.

How do I Translate my Website Into English?

Weglot can be used to translate your website into English quickly and easily, whether you’re looking to translate the entire site or just a few important pages. If you’re hosting an eCommerce site on Shopify, you can find a step-by-step guide for using Weglot to translate your website into English here on the Weglot blog. Keep reading to learn how to add Weglot to your WordPress site.

You can start adding Weglot using your WordPress Plugins menu. On the WordPress Plugins menu, select the submenu ite titled “Add New”. Using the keyword search feature, search for Weglot.

add weglot wordpress plugin

Click on the button that says, “Install Now” on the plugin titled “WordPress Translation Plugin - Weglot Translate”. This will install Weglot into WordPress so you can translate your website into English. Once that’s done, the “Install Now” button will turn blue and say “Activate”. Click on the “Activate” button to activate your plugin.

You’ll then notice a new Weglot tab has appeared in the side menu. Click on it to finish your configuration. 

When you go to the Weglot configuration page on your WordPress website, it asks you for an API key. This key allows your website to connect with the Weglot servers. All the heavy lifting of translation is done on the Weglot servers, so they need to be able to talk to each other. If you already have a Weglot account, you know what to do! If not, click on the text link for Weglot in the top paragraph of the text and it’ll take you directly to the sign-up page.

add weglot api key

Once you get to the Weglot page, you can sign up for a Weglot account. Once your account is confirmed you’ll receive your unique API key. Paste it in the ‘API Key’ box, select the original language of your website and the new language you want to add.  

Once your changes are saved, your website is translated! Navigate to your website and you’ll see a new language-switcher has been added. Switch between the languages to see your newly translated English website. 

You can also enable Auto-Switch, where Weglot will automatically translate the website to English if that’s the language that the user has set in Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. 

But what if you want to exclude certain sections from translation? Weglot allows you to separate certain areas of your website so that they won’t be translated. If you have products or services that won’t be available to English-speaking customers, or if you want to save your translations for pages that are most important, you can use the exclusion rules to limit translations.

Inside your Weglot account, go to the Settings tab. Here, you’ll click the Translation exclusions section. You have two primary options here: you can exclude specific pages of your website, or you can exclude specific types of content.

translation exclusion

In the example above, we excluded all pages on the entire website that begin with /portfolio, so every page that’s in that section won’t be translated. We also excluded one post in particular by tagging that specific URL tag. Notice that we didn’t need to list the main website here - just the section that goes after the “.com” or the TLD. These rules allow us to exclude categories or sections from the website.

The block exclusion allows us to exclude sections of a particular page, like a menu or a form. We do this by targeting a particular piece of code using its CSS selector to identify its CSS or HTML designation. This feature allows you to keep the menus or forms in your native language while translating the post or page content into English.

What if my Team Works from Different Physical Locations?

Ideally, we would all have the budget to hire a team in every country we do business to design a localized, translated, customized website content for each region. But most businesses have to find the balance between perfect communication and perfect efficiency, and it’s usually somewhere in the middle.

One of Weglot’s greatest advantages is that it fits beautifully within an internationally distributed team. Weglot allows you to combine machine translation with the oversight of a real human translator. When you do hire a professional translator, localization editor, or creative writer to collaborate on the project, you can delegate that proofreading to them, making task management easier.

Weglot is designed to work with your existing project management systems, so it’s ideal for remote teams and agile environments. Because your team members can operate directly inside the Weglot environment, it saves time and reduces duplication of efforts, making the process of combining computer and human resources seamless.

For many international organizations, Weglot has long been an integral part of reaching customers in the English-speaking world. Weglot’s translation tools allow you to increase search visibility and even optimize your SEO in multiple languages, thus increasing your ability to reach customers who speak English.

Should I Use Weglot to Translate my Website Into English?

Weglot is a great way to translate your website into English. For international business, it’s important to communicate with your customers in a language they can understand, and a lot of people in the world understand English. While there are some obstacles to English translation, Weglot can help make it fast and easy for you to get an English-language version of your site up and running quickly.

Best of all, you can try Weglot for 10 days for free. Check out Weglot today!

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