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How to make your website translation more readable?


Humans are informavores. We hunt for facts on the Internet. We assess a site quickly, looking for an “information scent”. We move on if there doesn’t seems to be any food around. This is Jakob Nielsen’s idea of information foraging.

Well it means, for the website translator, they must pay attention to readability, too.

There are six guidelines from Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works by Ginny Redish. Let’s check out how to apply the tips.

1. Give people only what they need

On the Les Feuilles Volantes blog, Sara displays much more attitude. She talks about not translating the opening message on French-language brochures since they are typically of little interest to readers.

2. Use “you”

Don’t use the third person when talking to your online audience.
If you are writing for an organization, use “we”.
Using “you” and “we” makes the copy sound much more like a conversation.

3. Use your web users’ words

Do not confuse your readers. Use the words they know.
Try to ground abstract concept nouns and replace them with concrete and understandable words.

4. Use lists to make information easy to grab

Customers would find bulleted lists much easier to read. Try to separate the long lines into readable list.

5. Make links meaningful

Website readers know what links look like. If a word underlined, it is a link. Use the content of the link instead. Throw away “click here” and “more” as link text.

6. Break down walls of words

Keep paragraphs short. Use headings to divide your texts into user-friendly chunks.


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