If your company sells overseas or you are looking to enter new foreign markets, it is without doubt that at some point you will require the services of a website translator.

Website translation works with website localisation to translate and adapt your website specifically for your target country, region or area, ensuring that written and visual content fit in with the local cultural outlook.

English use on the internet declined from 51% in 2000 to 29% in 2009, making it vital that businesses looking to trade overseas translate and adapt their websites for an international audience.

In general, a good example of a website that has been localised correctly for the target market will feature browser recognition so visitors can be taken to their dedicated language area and links to the other language version by the name of the language rather than a flag - as languages are often spoken in more than one country.

Your translated website should also, ideally have a unique domain name in the language of your target market. This has become even more important since the first Internationalised Domain Names in non-Latin characters became available earlier this year.

Having hosting in your target country and link popularity with sites hosted in the target market - i.e. links back from French websites to your own site - will also improve the performance of your website in your chosen overseas market.

When considering the process of website translation and localisation you will need to pay particular attention to the colours and images used, in case they are offensive or have another meaning in your target country. For example, in Islamic countries green is used for Holy purposes and in Korea, names written in red means the person is dead.

You will also need to be aware that in different countries there are variations to the way in which date, time, currency and weights and measures are displayed.

If you want to reuse the existing templates for the UK version of your website be prepared to alter them as translating from English to some European languages increases the amount of text. Don't worry about translating passages that are irrelevant to overseas visitors and make sure that the tone and key messages are localised to your target audience.

Once you have chosen a website translator make sure that you are clear about your objectives and remain fully involved throughout the whole process. Check, re-check and proof read final copy and always query things if you are not sure.