Website Localization

Why do we need a Japanese language presence on the web?

Japan is the world's second largest market and internet usage there is growing by leaps and bounds, both as a conduit for information and as a medium for commerce. But the vast majority of people in Japan can neither speak nor read English. So it doesn't take any deep thinking to see why you would want access to the Japanese market, and why the content you use to reach that market should be in Japanese. JCC has the linguistic, cultural, and technical resources to build a Japanese language web presence for your company that will be noticed.

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Why do Japanese websites look like code or gobbledygook to me?

English and other Roman-letter languages use single-byte character sets, but Japanese and Chinese with their much more complicated pictographic lettering must use double-byte characters. However, the operating systems of most computers in the western world are only set up to display single byte characters, and will display double-byte characters as nonsensical code. If you click on any of the buttons which lead you to our Japanese site, or click here (click "English" button on page to return) you can see this first hand. The major problem in building and maintaining Japanese web content for most companies is simply that Japanese is unreadable on their systems, and even if they have installed a Japanese reader program or Japanese fonts and have someone who can read and write in the language they still have difficulty inputing the characters. JCC is very well-equipped to deal with all of these concerns.

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Why should I send you my HTML files?

Many people call us up and ask us to estimate the cost to translate their website by just looking at the site itself online, but this often doesn't give us enough information to make an accurate estimate, and is certainly not sufficient to translate the site itself. Many sites branch out onto numerous pages, or have a lot of dynamic content, so seeing your actual files makes it much clearer to us exactly how much content we are being asked to estimate and/or to translate. Your HTML files contain all of the original code that we really need to see, and to work around, in translating the content, and having the actual files sent to us is far quicker and more accurate than any other possible process. Even for very large sites we ask our clients to send us a representative sample of their HTML files, and to tell us the total number of such pages we will be expected to work on. Simply put, we can't begin the job of translating your site until we have your HTML files, so sending them to us in the estimation phase makes sense for both you and for us.

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How will my graphics be translated? In what form should the files be sent?

Graphics are truly the hardest thing to deal with in translating websites. The best way for us to receive your graphics is either in a layered form (that is, with the text and the graphic behind it in separate files), or to receive the base graphic file itself (free of text) with the text to be translated specified to us separately. If we have it in either of these forms we then can just translate what's in the English text and lay a new graphic file of Japanese text over the top. Otherwise, we have to go through the laborious process of stripping away the English text pixel by pixel and replacing it with both Japanese text and a background that matches the original graphic as closely as possible to fill in the spaces. Please also be aware that the inclusion of Japanese text in your graphics may cause us to have to re-size the graphic itself, and/or re-space the layout of your pages.

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What else do I need to know about localizing my website into Japanese?

The biggest thing is to be aware that translating your website, or building a Japanese site for you, is not going to be a passive process on your part. We will need the full cooperation of your company and your web people to give you the results you want and deserve. Like all good translation, translating a website well is not something that can be done overnight. In addition to the language, code, and graphics issues involved there are also matters of cultural sensitivity and differing commercial cultures that may necessitate some rewriting of your copy. After all, you didn't write the English site in a day or two either. So please give us enough time to do a thorough and complete job, and in return you should get a website that will expand and enhance your presence to millions of potential customers.


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