Website redesigns are an ideal time for companies to leverage the best technologies and practices to serve their customers and boost on-site engagement. Savvy companies also use this opportunity to localize their websites for Spanish-speaking U.S. Hispanics.
Here are several best practices you can follow during your redesign to make website localization even easier and more affordable to implement.
Plan for “Word Growth”
When you translate English-language content into Spanish, the resulting localized content will usually take up about 20% more space on the webpage. This common side effect of translation is called “word growth.” Without accounting for it in your website design templates, localized content may create on-site UX inconsistencies that erode the brand experience.
Building pages for responsive design can tackle some of these problems. But it’s also helpful to build fully-dynamic page templates that allow word wrap in text boxes instead of using word overflow, which can send translated content spilling outside its designated space on the page.
Also, be sure to allow enough padding around the image overlay text in your JS, CSS and HTML templates. This preserves some space for word growth when that text gets translated.
Keep Text and Images Separate
Today’s websites lean heavily on visual elements such as images and photography to create an immersive, engaging experience for visitors. But localizing those elements for Spanish-speaking audiences can be challenging.
Untranslated images displayed among your translated content creates an inconsistent and confusing user experience. This mixed-language experience can also signal to your audiences that you aren’t invested in the market or in delivering localized content, which can have a negative impact on brand perception and trust.
Whenever possible, keep text separate from images. Layering text over an image (using a solution such as Scene7/Adobe Dynamic) is a best practice. This makes the text easier for linguists to detect and translate.
Externalized text can also prevent additional graphics work — and costs — for translation teams, and make it much easier to swap out image files whenever needed without having to change or retranslate the text itself.
That isolated text is also easier for search engines to discover and index, which can improve your organic search engine rankings for the important Spanish-language keywords you care about.
Support Multilingual Data in Business Systems
If you’re capturing information from your customers while they’re on your website, it’s important to ensure that your back-end databases and contact management systems can deal with content in Spanish as well as English. Otherwise, that information is useless for future sales and marketing efforts.
Spanish and English are both Latin-based languages, but Spanish also includes a few unique characters as well as a set of diacritics and accent marks that some databases may not accurately capture. Make sure your technology can accommodate these unique characters.
With a few of these best practices in mind, redesigning your website is the perfect opportunity to reshape your online experience for U.S. Hispanic customers and deliver the Spanish-language content they want and deserve.