Read this before you start translating

Starting a new translation project and not sure how to prepare and where to begin? Uncertain which tone of voice should be adapted in the target language? Need some tips on essential research and resources for translation projects? Look no further: What, why, who and how – 4 questions you should ask before you start translating.


What does your client do? Do they develop cloud software or create a clothing line? Do they sell beer or manufacture beds? Before you start translating, make sure you familiarise yourself with the product or service your client offers and do your research. Have a look at competitors with a similar target market. How do they present themselves internationally, if at all? If your client has already translated their website or any other documents that are accessible to you, read them and get a feeling for their tone of voice in the target language.


What is your client trying to achieve? Are they launching a new car model abroad or trying to sell eco-friendly nappies to a wider audience? Or maybe they are trying to increase their conversion rates for website visitors in Germany or France (NB People are six times more likely to buy from a website in their mother tongue!!). Find out why your client is translating their website, app or marketing collateral.. If you understand their aim, it’s easier for you to decide which tone of voice (formal/colloquial) or translation style (e.g. creative translation for marketing copy) to adopt.


Who is your client trying to talk to? Find out who your client’s customers are. Are these end consumers (B2C) or business customers (B2B)? Again, this is absolutely essential for tone of voice and for the delivery of an effective translation. Think about the specific target audience. Imagine for example a manufacturer of children’s products: Does their English marketing copy address the children, or the parents who will ultimately buy the product for them? Or maybe it’s a mixture of both? What would be more culturally appropriate in the target language? Discuss any cultural implications before the start of the project. Check out the French website for our client Worlds Apart to see how we’ve translated their children’s products.


How does your client want to come across? This is equally important for tone of voice as it is for translation style. Do they prefer a friendly and conversational style, or a more professional and formal tone of voice? And would their style work in the target language. You should ask your client for any reference materials that will help you craft the right translation with suitable language tools. If the client has a style guide, brand guidelines or a writing guide for English, then ask for it as it will help you to familiarise yourself with their intended style. Do bear in mind that the English language can get away with a lot more “vagueness” when addressing an audience than for example German and French. At the core of any translation into these languages should be the question whether to address the reader formally (Sie/Vous) or informally (Du/Tu). You might need to use the grammatical formal tone because it is more appropriate but you can still make the translation sound light and fun.

Our client Glisten Camping for instance, who offers holidays in eco-friendly dome tents in the South of France, wanted to appeal to their audience in a warm and friendly tone. We used the formal tone for the French website translation because it’s more appropriate when addressing adults but we kept the tone of the translations light-hearted, warm and fun to stay on brand. Check out their French website to get an idea of the tone of voice we’ve used.

For further advise on how to craft effective and beautiful translations check out our post Top 5 copywriting tips for translators.

Welcoming our first translation intern

Here at AJT, we love nurturing young language talent. We’re very excited to welcome our new translation intern, Teresa, to the team!

Teresa, 22, joins us all the way from Heidelberg in Germany where she is in the last year of her degree in translation science. Over the next two months, Teresa will immerse herself in language. Whether it’s translating websites, apps or business docs for our international clients, creating blog content on the ins and outs of education in translation and the translation industry or helping us to launch our volunteer translation scheme – she will be an integral part of AJT.

Teresa has always loved languages and with both her parents being translators, the step towards a translation career was a natural one. On top of German and English she also studies French and learns to translate anything from the literary to the legal. A true translator at heart, Teresa is no stranger to travelling and working in different countries: she has already spent six months working in Australia and a semester studying in Belgium.

We’re convinced the Cornish north coast will provide just the right breath of fresh air for new ideas, inspiration and a lot of fun. Willkommen liebe Teresa!

Hotel website translation: How to grow international traffic and increase conversion rates

As a modern hotel marketing manager, you have a lot of plates to spin. From creative online campaigns to SEO, from refining the keywords of your AdWord campaign to hiring the right photographer that will deliver that perfect snapshot of your new spa, your work is never done. All your efforts are geared toward raising awareness, driving traffic to your website and getting those rooms filled. Is a hotel website translation just one of those things that keeps being pushed down your to-do list?

In Cornwall, domestic tourism accounts for 90% of all tourism, so it’s easy to ignore the 10% that is made up by overseas visitors. Or maybe not? Over recent years, the number of Cornish hotels that are specifically targeting German and French visitors has steadily increased. Why? Because French are the largest foreign visitor group to the Southwest, followed closely by Germans, who are in turn the biggest spenders. So although they may not be as numerous as your British customers, they are certainly the high-value customers you want to be staying at your hotel. Translating your hotel website is an important first step in reaching out to those valuable overseas visitors. Here’s why:


It’s quite simple: Local search engines favour websites in the local language. Most people search the web in their mother tongue, so the chances that your English hotel website will show up in German or French search results is pretty slim. Translating your hotel website drastically increases your international visibility.


Once they’ve found your site, it’s important to show your visitors content that’s interesting and relevant to them. Your conference facilities or your wedding packages might not be all that exciting for overseas holiday makers, but in-depth information about the local history, how to get around, where to find that picture postcard fishing village or where to sample the finest local ale will strike a chord. Go that extra mile and provide original and informative content that will keep them hooked and browsing your site.


When it comes to making that final purchase decision, language can really make the difference. A translated website helps to build trust in your hotel, it shows that you care about your overseas visitors. Did you know for example that people are six times less likely to buy from a website that is not presented in their mother tongue? You really don’t want visitors to drop out of your sales funnel because they don’t fully trust your website or because they simply don’t understand the information in front of them.

Translating your website is not only polite, it makes good business sense from an SEO perspective. Find out more about our website translation services or simply give us a call – we’d love to chat to you about your hotel website.