When it comes to localizing your website’s content from English or any other language into Chinese, you have a variety of options. Each of these solutions comes with its own price tag – and recently, the advent of Generative AI technology such as chatGPT has opened up entirely new possibilities. In this article, we’ll be reviewing the different options available, presenting our findings alongside comments from a native Chinese speaker. Get ready for an insightful journey through the world of website translation!
We have made the experiment. We created an English website introduction text for our new Chinese homepage. Of course, English is the wrong language, so we wanted it to be “localized” and we used a range of different options from human translation over automatic translation over the usage of AIs and of course trans-creation, which is considered the queen of localization of text. Now let’s together find out which method did how well. Now let’s take a look at the different options available and hear what a native Chinese speaker has to say about them.
Let us start by introducing you to our English original copy, written by a copywriter we specifically hired to create engaging English copy. It is full of imagery language, that might be hard to translate.
Immerse yourself in the wonders of digital marketing with Jademond Digital. Take a journey to the heart of China and discover an unprecedented world of possibilities! With our expertise and guidance, you can break through language barriers, cultural canyons, and geographic boundaries - rising to the pinnacle of search engine success. Our team will assist you in creating content that captivates Chinese users; taking them on an enchanting voyage into your brand and products. Harness SEO, SEA / PPC, Ads, Social Media, E-commerce management, and Display Advertising for maximum benefit. Let us open a door into the realm of digital marketing so you can stand tall in a new world of opportunities! Unlock the secrets of success with Jademond Digital.
We used different translation services (Google, Bing, Baidu, Deepl) and native Chinese human translators, and we used not only traditional translation techniques but also turned to trans-creation as a more superior text-localization technique.
What is Trans-Creation of text content? To ensure that content translations from Western languages to Chinese are accurate and effective, transcreation is more often being used rather than translation. By breaking down the original content into its key message, and providing clear instructions for a native Chinese author on the style of the new text they need to create, this process creates an entirely new text with a powerful message and tone. Transcreation eliminates any issues caused by translation errors or awkward sentences that don't make sense in the target language. Therefore, transcreation is much more reliable when it comes to accurately conveying your intended meaning and ensuring it is appropriate for the Chinese audience.
Next, we took the Chinese texts and put them through their paces. Each of them was labeled with a randomly assigned English first name, so that it didn’t become obvious which tool or person had created the copy. We then distributed these 13 texts to 5 different Chinese native speakers who rated each one’s quality without knowing the original source. The aim was to determine which of these Chinese translations had the best quality.
We told our quality raters, that we had written 13 pieces of introductory copy for the home page of our new Chinese company website. We did not tell them, that they are based on an English text and we did not tell them, that some are automatically translated or trans-created and others were done by human. We asked them to rate the copy according to the following criteria, each with a score range of 1-100 (rounded), the criteria are:
2. Attractiveness / Interactivity
3. Relevance (to the audience)
4. Accuracy of wording
5. Personal recommendation
The values were collected and averaged among all quality raters and then we calculated a final score for each document by taking the different values into consideration with these weights:
– Fluency – 20%
– Attractiveness / Interactivity – 30%
– Relevance (to the audience) – 10%
– Accuracy of wording – 20%
– Personal recommendation – 20%
The Chinese text versions (Translated or Trans-Created)
Maybe you would like to guess who write which text? Let us present you the texts in the same order and only with the randomly given English given names, but added with our Chinese quality rater’s comments and ratings:
– Ensure “you (您)” is used consistently throughout to refer to the customer, as this shows respect and is more appropriate in a formal setting. Avoid using both “you (您)” and “you (你)” within the same paragraph.
– “China Central” is not an expression that Chinese people typically use, and it does not read well.
– There is a strong indication of machine translation having been used.
– The content is excellent and provides a great reading experience that is in line with Chinese reading habits.
– 我们 (we) has been used 12 times throughout the text, better using the company name Jademond Digital would create a more professional feel than using only “we”.
– The marketing sense is clearly organized and mechanized but could be made more attractive to potential customers by avoiding overly stereotypical language.
– The overall features of Jademond are presented in a smooth and clear way, although data support such as the number of teams and history could be included to make it more appealing.
– The text is long and does not effectively highlight its key points.
– Fluency: 78
– Attractiveness / Interactivity: 75
– Relevance (to the audience): 80
– Accuracy of wording: 80
– Personal recommendation: 77
What is better: Translation or Transcreation to Chinese?
Did you play along? Did you guess which authors were translating and which were transcreating the content to Mandarin Chinese? Here comes the solution:
Translators (with summarized rating):
– Michael; Rating: 58
– James; Rating: 59
– Olivia; Rating: 61
– David; Rating: 61
– Emily; Rating: 64
– Sophia; Rating: 66
– Christopher; Rating: 67
– Abigail; Rating: 70
Transcreators (with summarized rating):
– Wilhelm; Rating: 77
– Lissy; Rating: 77
– Matthew; Rating: 79
– Gertrude; Rating: 80
– Melanie; Rating: 80
Daniel; Rating: 80
It’s no secret that Chinese texts transcreated by native speakers outperform machine translations and translations from English. But we wanted more than just a hunch; we sought to prove our theory through testing. After seeing the results, there is no doubt in our minds: We will never offer translations – be they generated by machines or humans – to our clients again. Our offers are now exclusive to native Chinese transcreation only! Through this process, we can ensure stunningly good copy that captivates readers and inspires action.