You already have a website in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, etc. Now you want an English/Global site.
What do you do?
Start translating it, right?
Remember, we live with globalization and the Internet, but we have very different ways of communicating. What may concern those in our country or region may be of no interest to someone somewhere else. You are trying to sell your product, make partnerships, and communicate globally. Tell the world what it needs to know.
Don’t Copy Your Local Website
Most companies and organizations make a mistake right at the start.
They copy the exact same site and translate it to English word for word. Same design, same pictures, same layout, same typeface.
This Japanese site did it. What a mess.
So did this Korean site. It could be worse.
And this Brazilian site.
The result for each of these sites is that they have an almost exact visual copy of their Japanese, Korean, and Portuguese websites, but in English. That’s not good. Why?
The problem is that the English is FULL OF MISTAKES! Moreover, it doesn’t look natural.
These days, websites are more similar across languages, thanks to user-friendly website design and content management systems such as WordPress and Drupal. Behind the scenes, they may look the same, the structure may be the same, but what they show the world is not the same. That’s not a completely bad thing. Naturally, a Japanese site should appeal to Japanese readers, a Korean site to Korean readers, a Portuguese site to Brazilian readers.
An English website should, therefore, appeal to English readers. With so many countries “officially” using English, that task is already difficult, but it is very possible to find a balanced use of modern, stylish, and cool English. A good writer and editor can help make this reality.
Make a Plan
First, do you really need to copy every piece of information from your local site onto your Global site? Do people in North America and Europe need to know about your local weather, politics, and regulations? Probably not. Do you have items or services you only sell domestically? If so, does the rest of the world need to know?
Plan it out…
What information do you want the world to know?
What are you trying to sell?
Will international readers know all the small place names and local facts in your company history? Will they care?
What advantages do your products/services have over international competitors?
Simply… you need a plan to talk to the world.
When you have a better idea of what you need from your English global site, see what information on your local site is relevant. You can probably translate some of it. But you will also need some new content. Make arrangements for that. Either write it in your own language and get a good translation (not one by unqualified and non-specialist translators), or try your best in English.
Don’t Forget the Design
As I mentioned, websites now look more similar from country to country. Thanks (or no thanks?) to WordPress, Wix, and other template-based platforms, we are seeing the same approach in different languages. Despite the general design, English is best read in a Web-safe font made for English. It makes native speakers comfortable and helps us read more smoothly. These fonts include Times New Roman, Arial, Tahoma, and Calibri, among so many others. If possible, hire a web designer with some international exposure and sense.
Now Let’s Edit!
Of course, my job as an editor is primarily to edit the language. I will be looking at how appropriate the tone is to the target English reader. I will also be looking at the layout and format. And if you want deluxe, powerful, effective, and modern editing, I’ll optimize it for SEO.
Now you’ve got a better idea of how to make your English global website, it’s time to get to work.