A great article over at A List Apart about how web designers overlook a fundamental element when designing websites or web applications: the importance of user language as part of a customer’s User Experience (UX).
Translation, especially as part of user interface and user experience design, needs to resonate with the user at the same level as intended with the original design. That means localizing any particular cultural, territorial and/or national nuances into content that gives the user a similar impression. This sort of thing is as far away from “dumb” machine-based translation tools as you can get.
But taking care of UX isn’t just a problem for web designers. It’s something that needs to be factored into account for any company that has an international (or at least cross-territorial) presence which, thanks to the internet, is pretty much any company out there.
If you value your customers – no matter where they’re from – then adapting and presenting your communication in their language is the least you can do.