If you’re about to commission or embark on some international email design work then here is a fairly concise list of things you may want to consider. Hopefully, this will cover everything and act as a bit of a checklist so you know you have thought of every possible thing that could go wrong (or right), and maybe even take away some of the inevitable fear when you are about to press that send button.
Caveat: Some of these points may be obvious but because I’ve called this a checklist, I want to cover my back. I would rather avoid an angry mob of digital marketers turning up at our studio with pitchforks and burning sticks. Or does that only happen in inappropriately terrifying Disney films? Right. As you were.
Thing’s you’ll have to allow more time for:
- You may be working in different time zones meaning that sign-off may not be immediate.
- The translations themselves may take a bit of time.
- If it’s not an everyday process for the designer you’re working with then it may also take some extra thinking time, tool searching etc.
Flexible/expanding text areas
If you are using English for your primary design then just consider how the length might alter when translated. Is there enough room? Will it fit in header modules and change the size? For example German and French generally use twice as many words as the English language. Responsive buttons will help in terms of the CTA text. This also goes for currencies eg. £100 value = 11994.39 Algerian Dinar.
It might also be worth noting that if you are translating for a language that is read left to right then think about your email layout first so you don’t disrupt it too much at a later stage. Especially if you are trying to keep them consistent in design.
Try to avoid image text
Designing an email with text on an image then realising you have to manually save the image 8 times for each language isn’t fun, so if you can avoid this, do. And even more importantly, if you are outsourcing design, this could help you save some precious monies which you could spend on some other cool stuff *cough cough* hybrid.
Manual link changes
We have functionality that can change links based on ip address location but not everyone is that lucky. If it is going to be a manual job to change links for different versions then you may want to try and keep these to a minimum.
Consider process and QA requirements
The person who is in charge of QA now has multiple emails to check. If you are worried their usual process may not cover everything, alert them to these additional areas or links or even better, create a new checklist for them. It could possibly lead to more work for you but you don’t want to be sending out an ‘oops’ email tomorrow in the 8 different languages do you? Or maybe you do. 😉
Some regions have different content
Probably obvious… but just because you are sending an email in German, may not mean the subscriber is receiving it in Germany eg. Switzerland German vs. Austrian German vs. German. Just incase you were thinking about having specific content based on the language.
Special characters & accents
Grammar is difficult enough in your own language, right? If you aren’t familiar with a language wthat uses accents then remember to check they are in the right place and are used in the right context. Hopefully your translating tool is reliable enough but worth pointing out.
Be aware of any local legal issues
It’s always good to keep in mind any differences in laws surrounding email, for example, some countries require senders to include more than one link to unsubscribe.
I hope this is helpful, if you think I’ve missed something then let me know and I can keep it updated.
If you attended the Completely Email conference some of the above points may be familiar, Elliot and Jacques deck can be found here.