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Media translation: How to translate your website images

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If you’re localizing your website and in particular focusing on the content translation stage, it’s important to remember that there’s more to website translation than just the words on your site. 

Yep, that’s right – images, videos, PDFs and other documentation play a key role in creating a truly localized experience for the people visiting your website. 

In fact, not translating this type of “content” can send the wrong message to potential  customers in your new target markets. Unfortunately, this is often perceived as your company not being as invested in providing each customer with the same website experience, instead favouring those in your original language. 

So, let’s take a look at why media translation is so important, our advice for getting it right, and ultimately how you can achieve it with Weglot as your website translation solution. 

Why translate your media content? 

You’ve probably seen us mention personalization in more than one of our recent blog articles and that’s because it really is “king” when it comes to providing a more persuasive offer. In fact, Econsultancy found that 93% of companies see an increase in conversion rates from personalization. 

When you want to engage with new audiences, sell products or services, and raise brand awareness – translating the entirety of your website, down to imagery and video content can help achieve that. 

Translating the words on your website is step one. With this, your website visitors will be able to fully understand what it is you do or offer. Following from this, the next step is to complete the translation process with localized images, replacement videos and PDF documents. 

Do you need media translation? 

In short, the answer is yes. In the same way that you translate your text so that foreign audiences can understand, the same goes for imagery and video content. For example, on your site’s landing page, you may have an explanatory video which shows what your product or service is, and how it works. Of course, if you’re catering to English, French, German, and Spanish speaking markets, it makes sense to have a different language version of this video appear corresponding to the language the visitor is viewing the page in. 

Another reason why you may wish to translate media on your site is to be sensitive and appreciative to cultural nuances. For example, say you’re a global department store operating stores in the Western world and the Middle East. Perhaps you’re displaying some holiday content specific content on your site for what is considered Christmas by many in the Western world. But, for regions where Christmas isn’t generally celebrated, it is advisable to adapt any content such as this to the audience you are targeting. It shows that you’re in touch with your customer base and care about delivering a highly personalized experience.

Image translation best practices 

When it comes to translating your images, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to consider to ensure you’re following best practice recommendations: 

The file itself: If you’re using different, or altered versions of an image for a particular language version of your site, you can start by using a different image URL for each version. Following from this, it’s good practice to localize the filename for image SEO purposes.

Text on an image: If you’ve got text on the image itself, it’s imperative that you translate this so that target audiences can understand. Translatable SVG files greatly facilitate this process. 

Image alt-text: Metadata plays a hugely significant role when it comes to SEO, and for images this is no exception. By translating this metadata you’ll be increasing accessibility to your content.

Image link: Say for example you have an image on your site linking back to another page on your site. This link should be changed based on the language used by visitors to optimize UX. 

Note, for any images on your website, it’s also considered best practice to avoid having text in any images. Keeping your text over an image is an ideal compromise as it allows for the written content to be translated and the image file can be changed accordingly.

How to translate your media with Weglot 

With media translation not only being a key aspect of personalization for your customers, but also positively impacting multilingual SEO, it’s important to use a translation solution that is equipped to translate components beyond text. Fortunately, when using Weglot as your translation solution, you’ll find that it easily facilitates all your media translation needs. 

Firstly, to enable media translation you’ll need to log onto your Weglot dashboard and go to the ‘Settings’ tab. In the tab below, click on ‘General’ which is indicated by the cog icon. Scroll down to ‘Enable Media Translation’, once this is checked click ‘ Save changes’ – you’re now ready to start! 

Translating Media via the Weglot Dashboard 

If you wish to translate your media files from within the Weglot dashboard, go to the “Translations’ tab and click on the language pairing you wish to view. Your translations list will appear as shown below. Now, to translate your media simply filter by media using the filter option in the top right-hand corner. 

What appears below will be a series of media files. If you hover over the URL, you’ll be shown a preview of the image as illustrated below. By default, the translated image will be the same as the original image because the URLs are the same. However, to translate an image so that another appears in a different language version of the site, simply change the URL in the right-hand column. This can either be an image uploaded onto your CMS or any image hosted on the web. 

Once this new URL has been saved, check your website. You will notice that a new image appears when you view your webpage in the translated language. However, to fully optimise your images for SEO purposes, it’s good practice to verify your image alt-text. 

To do this, go back to your translations list and filter by “Meta”. Here, you’ll be able to see the alt text for each of your media files. Scroll down to find the alt-text corresponding to your image and verify that you’re satisfied with the translation. Weglot automatically translates your image alt-text, however it’s best practice to double check to ensure that you’re fully optimised for SEO purposes. 

Translating Media via the Visual Editor Tool

Of course, while translating media from your translations list is one option, we also provide another option to translate your media through our in-context editor. 

To access this tool, which allows you to edit your translations in a live preview of your website – simply go to the translations tab on your Weglot dashboard and click on the ‘Visual Editor’ tab below. 

Once you do this, you’ll be prompted to the visual editor landing page. Click ‘Start Editing’, and you’ll be brought to the homepage of your site. As you scroll through your site, you’ll notice that translatable elements are highlighted as below. To translate an image, simply click on the pencil icon which is located at the top right-hand corner of each highlighted element.

Much similar to how the process is carried out within your translations list, simply change the URL of the translated language. 

Once you click ‘OK’, this image translation is automatically saved. As you are already on your live site, you can simply use the language switcher to change to the other language version of the site and see how the new image looks. It’s important to note that you can also use the Visual Editor to translate the image alt-text in the exact same way.

Note: While we’ve only shown you examples of how to translate images in this article, the same method applies to videos and other media types. Following the same technique, this can be achieved either through the use of the translations list or via the visual editor.

Conclusion 

With 67% of us globally engaged in cross-border e-commerce, businesses operating across borders are now competing against each other more intensely than ever.  With little to distinguish commercial offerings it’s those businesses that go the extra mile who are rewarded. Media translation is a hugely important, but often overlooked aspect of international business today, serving a dual benefit. 

On a practical level, media translation can help your SEO efforts and bring about more traffic and consequential sales. However, on a more customer centric level, media translation sends a message to your international customers that you care about them and want to offer a personalized consumer experience. 

Fortunately, media translation has never been more accessible or simple thanks to intuitive translation and localization solutions like Weglot.

What are you waiting for? Why not try out Weglot’s 10 day free trial and see for yourself how easy media translation can be. 

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