Website localization is one of our most popular services. Clients around the world have relied on Tomedes to ensure that their websites resonate with the local audiences they are targeting around the world.
Most recently, a client asked to use our website translation services to convert his English language website into Mandarin Chinese. With a bank of superb Chinese translators on hand for just such requests, we got straight to work.
Tomedes has been translating between English and Mandarin Chinese (as well as other variants of Chinese) for over ten years. You can read an example of a recent Chinese YouTube subtitles translation that we undertook by clicking the link below.
Mandarin is a fascinating language for several reasons. It is spoken by around 70% of Chinese speakers, making in the largest Chinese language by far, with nearly one billion speakers in total. It originated in North China and is spoken widely across the country.
Standard Mandarin is based on the Beijing dialect. There are many local variations of Mandarin and, interestingly, they are not all mutually intelligible (unlike English where local variations can affect spelling, vocabulary and accents, but where speakers of different variations can still understand one another).
For this client, our leading Chinese translator was needed as a result of an event that the client was planning. He was aiming to attract an international clientele, including a significant number of delegates from China. As such, an appropriately localized Mandarin Chinese version of his website was essential.
Delivering a website in a new language is about far more than just translation. Yes, it’s necessary to translate the content – in this case from English to Mandarin Chinese – but that’s only part of the work required.
The other part of the job is localization. For this, an expert localization company (such as Tomedes!) is essential. Localization is the process of transforming a website so that it reads as though it was originally written for the target audience. It incorporates a wide range of factors, from date and currency formats to features such as payment systems.
Localization also needs to take account of imagery. People are naturally inclined to identify with images that they can relate to, so for this client’s site we replaced his stock images of English conference delegates with images of Chinese delegates.
Then there’s the thorny issue of text direction. Chinese writing was traditionally read in vertical columns, starting in the top right and finishing at the bottom left. Thankfully (in terms of this client’s website layout) modern Chinese writing has adopted the western approach of horizontal rows of characters that are read from left to right.
Localization needs to factor in consideration of all of this and more. When converting English to Chinese, localization experts must also be conscious of the content that they are translating. Is there anything in the copy that will be deemed offensive for political reasons? If so, it will need to be amended if the website is to successfully launch in China.
In this client’s case, the original copy had been written with translation in mind, so there was nothing in the text that would be deemed controversial in China. This awareness meant that our localization professional wasn’t faced with any tricky issues in terms of the content, which is always a result!
We completed the website localization in good time. The client was delighted with the result. So much so, in fact, that he began thinking how else our translation services could benefit his event.
We discussed the client’s needs and realised that he could benefit from our marketing translation service. This would prove useful for the PowerPoint presentations that speakers were due to use and the conference brochures that were to be handed out upon arrival.
Although the conference was due to be delivered in English, and this had been made clear in the advertising materials, the client also began thinking about providing interpretation services. The venue he was using had the facilities in place for simultaneous interpretation (the kind of interpretation used at conferences and other events), so he was keen to find out about Tomedes’ interpretation services and how they worked.
The client’s account manager ran through the details of our interpretation service with him and the client is now mulling over the potential for turning his event into a dual language one, with delivery in Mandarin Chinese as well as English.
By providing a flexible and comprehensive range of services, Tomedes is often able to meet more than one language-related need at a time. Whether you need translation, interpretation, content writing or desktop publishing services, we can deliver the language expertise that you need, backed by 24/7 support and outstanding customer service. Why not try us out and see for yourself?
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