‘Companies that are serious about going global must be equally serious about supporting languages. Which languages you support will ultimately be determined by your global strategy… Support 48 or more languages, and your website will communicate with approximately 95% of the world’s internet users – which is the ultimate reason why companies such as Google and Facebook surpassed 48 languages years ago.’
John Yunker, co-founder of Byte Level Research and author of the annual Web Globalization Report Card* (speaking with Multilingual magazine in June 2020)
Last week, our team had an enquiry from a UK company which needed help with its website. The company exports internationally but is really striving for growth in the German market. It’s been running a German website (under a separate domain) for a while, but the results are disappointing.
Translating a website from its original language into the language of an overseas target market is not a recipe for sales success, even if your original site performs well in both driving and converting traffic. There is a lot to consider. Even small businesses nowadays are savvy enough to have at least a basic set of digital strategies in place for a website (whether they are marketing strategies for Search Engine Optimisation to boost organic results or paid Search Engine Advertising strategies to drive traffic and conversions), but many companies still apply a kind of ‘translate and hope’ strategy when it comes to delivering an online experience for their overseas consumers.
Is your team missing the critical details for its international website?
Your company invested in website translation, but there are no results to prove that it’s contributing to business growth. It’s important that your team and your translation service provider treat translated content as an asset that will support the overall sales & marketing strategy for overseas markets. Presumably, the source language website provides engaging content and caters very carefully to searcher intentions to build credibility. This is also what the international website needs, so effective keyword implementation as well as the mix of translation and SEO copywriting are critical.
Get SEO right in the target language, too
Faithful translation of source language SEO keywords is insufficient because these may not be the optimal search terms in the target language, so your provider should use keyword research to identify the best performing search terms. (Consider the following example: the term ‘handy’ generates higher search volumes compared to ‘smartphone’ in German-speaking markets.) Once SEO keywords have been successfully translated and optimised, the content might benefit from a translator who is skilled in SEO copywriting. That is, that they can translate the source text using the target language SEO keywords (adapted for the target market and user behaviour), while still creating fluid and engaging copy. For high-visibility marketing translation such as website translation, some clients ask for this mix of translation and copywriting, which is often referred to as ‘transcreation’.
Investing time into creating a proper digital strategy for an international website will pay dividends. The great news is that your language services provider might be able to help you.
Here’s our checklist for your team, which will help them to deliver an online experience that makes sense to consumers and search engines alike.
#1 Before investing in SEO work for your international site, make sure that your source language website is properly optimised. Check all meta data and that well-performing keywords are properly mapped to each landing page of your website.
#2 Your language service provider should store all multilingual SEO keywords in a terminology database. Having this client-specific database will help your team to maintain consistency across all digital assets.
#3 For the translation process, provide a CMS export of the relevant content, since it’s not only about the number of landing pages and information visible on the front-end, but also the back-end information (which is often neglected as people simply don’t know about the depth of a website).
#4 Should any multimedia assets on the site be translated (infographics, podcasts, videos)?
#5 Discuss the integration features and language support of your Content Management System and whether your provider can set up an interface between its Translation Management System and your CMS.
#6 Once the target language content has been implemented in the CMS and indexed by search engines, results tracking is important. Can your provider report on the relevant set of metrics for the target language?
Speak with our team today if your business requires website translation and International Search Engine Optimisation, or if your business would like a consultation about the current results of its international website.
* And to find out which companies rank in the world ‘Top 25 Global Websites’, visit the Byte Level Research website here: https://bytelevel.com/reportcard2020/
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