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SLOPPY SITES

Badly written sentences, mistranslations, oversights, and inconsistencies are all too common in localized web sites. Because many web developers don’t speak the languages of the sites they’re developing, mistakes are bound to occur. Examples of common mistakes include the following:

  • Using the wrong icons. For example, the U.S.-style mailbox icon is not a globally recognized icon, nor is the shopping cart.

  • Using the wrong models. Many sites translate every word of text, but fail to use models that reflect the target market. Some cultures are more sensitive to the models a company uses in its advertising and web sites. For example, on a Japanese web site, you’ll want to use Japanese models, not the same American models you used for your U.S. site.

  • Using dated content. Localized sites often are not kept up to date because the initial translation budget is depleted, and no one was ever given the responsibility of keeping the content current.

  • Using untranslated content. A lot of companies don’t go far enough when localizing their site, leaving some of the pages in the source language. Perhaps the obstacle was the budget or design, but in the end, the site looks unfinished. Unless your target audience consists of only bilinguals, this approach is bound to leave people feeling left out.


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