We don’t want to repeat ourselves like an irritating parent but guess what, taking your company global really is a major business decision. After all, you just need to imagine that this huge new market is matched in size by the challenges in communicating with your new customers. And as far communication goes, the challenges include your new customers’ languages, cultures and countries.
Hello Challenge, My Old Friend!
Strangely, your success at brand globalization may depend on localizing your communication into RTL languages and carefully watching out for non-latin alphabets typography. Now, you probably think ‘what more is possible within the scope of website translation, even in right-to-left or non-latin language’? Brace yourselves, because today we’ll talk about how letters are displayed and why it matters.
Successfully translating English into Spanish or French is already challenging, but translating English into Arabic, Hebrew or Urdu is a truly different kind of challenge. RTL or right-to-left languages are written, as the name suggests, from right to left (thanks, captain obvious!). This makes RTL sites, however, very difficult to read as the inversion typically also applies to logo placement, navigation alignment and components, like chat availability.
The biggest challenge remaining for RTL languages is that the majority of English content is in a format that is completely unsupportive to RTL anyway. As you can imagine, it changes the translation process.
In fact, many web developers don’t really get that RTL languages usually require the layout to be reversed from left to right-alignment. Depending on a website’s structure, you either have to separate set of styles for RTL text or find a way to apply RTL text direction to pages universally.
RTL sites can be built from scratch or be a translated version of a traditional, western site. A native look and feel (inverted) are sought after, however, the utility of a translated but not inverted RTL site will be retained.
They are deeply linked with RTL sites, but they can go in multiple directions, too. Since there are a number of languages that don’t use the Latin alphabet, professional translation is strictly required, so it doesn’t look like all of these ‘Lost In Translation’ Chinese T-shirts, just on the website. You wouldn’t like that, right?
Website translation that is correct, clear and thoughtful of your target audience, not text that is put together by a machine, is your real goal with non-latin alphabet languages. Just have in mind that it really improves the credibility of your business while you build relationships and expand your business worldwide.
Deal With Both of Them Like a Boss
As you can see, typography may really be tricky with these types of translation.