You managed to translate your website, but the translations soon got outdated. How do you make sure the translations stay up-to-date?
Tips for making a multilingual website more inclusive
Looking to make your multilingual website more inclusive? Check out our four tips.
We've previously blogged about how to build an inclusive website. Inclusivity is important. It's something we should all strive for in our day-to-day lives, and it's no different when it comes to the language we use on our websites.
It’s no secret that the language we use can be both inclusive and exclusive. When we’re conscious about the words we use, we can create a more welcoming space for everyone.
This is especially important for website translation since anyone in the world can access your site. Keep reading for our tips on how to use inclusive language in your website translations.
1. Use gender-neutral pronouns throughout your text
In English, there are gendered pronouns like “he/him/his” and “she/her/hers.” But not everyone identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth, so it’s important to use pronouns that are inclusive of all genders.
One way to do this is to simply avoid using pronouns altogether whenever possible. For example, you could write “The customer service representative was very helpful” instead of “He was very helpful.”
When pronouns are necessary, there are several gender-neutral options available. You can also alternate between gendered pronouns throughout your text to avoid making any one group feel excluded. For example: “When a customer calls our support line, our goal is for them to have a positive experience. We train every employee so that they know how to handle each call efficiently and courteously." In this sentence, the pronoun "them" is used as a default when referring to customers generally, while "they" and "employee" alternate between referring specifically to men or women respectively.
2. Choose your words carefully
Some words or phrases might not mean what you think they mean—especially if you live in one country but are translating for another audience.
It’s always best practice to consult with a native speaker before finalizing any translations. They will be able to tell you whether certain terms might be offensive or confusing in their culture.
3. Explain any cultural references that might get lost in translation
Cultural references can also get lost in translation if they aren't properly explained adequately enough within the context surrounding them. For example: "I'm going out on a limb here," might sound like an innocuous statement in English but could easily translate into something far more offensive depending on how it's said in another language without the proper cultural context included alongside it.
Providing extra information or alternative phrasing where needed can help eliminate these potential risks.
4. Include subtitles or clear descriptions for all images and videos
Don't forget that people from all over consume different types of media! While including images or videos on your website might be second nature to you, consider whether or not someone from another country would understand what's being conveyed. Be sure that whatever visuals you include have subtitles or clear descriptions so that everyone can enjoy and appreciate them fully.
After all - a little extra effort goes a long way when trying to achieve effective communication with others!