Web Translations and Search Engine Optimisation

Web Translations and Search Engine Optimisation

Andrew (pictured right, above) can you tell us a little about how you got into Web Translations and why you believe this is a sector that’s seeing substantial growth at the moment?

I researched the translation sector for 12 months to understand its depth, the size of the market and its longevity. I discovered that this field of business had huge potential for growth and so I made the transition. We often hear the phrase “the world is getting smaller” because of the digital age that we live and work in. The consumerisation of technology has levelled the playing field. Technologies that were once prohibitively expensive and therefore out of reach for all except the largest and most established corporate businesses are now widely available to everyone, Communication and social media are connecting the average person/business to all corners of the globe. This now gives the Sole Trader/SME the opportunity to compete with the corporates via the localisation and translation of their website at a fraction of the cost, opposed to the traditional routes to market which involved flying to countries, having exhibition stands, setting up global offices, all of which are great and still used, however very expensive and time consuming. It’s important to communicate with customers in their mother tongue – online shoppers stay twice as long on a website in their own language, and are also 4 times more likely to make a purchase from that site. Companies that don’t make the effort to localize for foreign markets are simply leaving the door open for their competitors to do so instead.

So if web translation is important can’t a company just use something like Google Translate?

Not if you want to be taken seriously! One thing I’ve learnt is that there’s no short cut around a language barrier. Online translation tools have their place as a quick reference tool, but won’t produce a professional level website localisation that will help you win business, and can’t replace having a fluent linguist on your side when it comes to complex business negotiations or resolving legal issues.

Many people are beginning to feel that English isn’t quite the dominant online language it used to be. Do you think this is true?

This is so true. 10+ years ago Google was only available in America, UK, Australia and Canada (some others) 75% of searches for products and services were done in English. Now Google is available and localised in every country. People search for products and services in their native language which has tipped the scale to 75% of searches now done in languages other than English.

And website landing pages? Why do these work better than simply directing a visitor to the site’s home page?

Landing pages are great for launching new products and services from as it takes the prospect directly to the page that they have searched for, otherwise they land on the businesses home page and try to navigate from there, which in many cases they end up leaving. A specific landing page that focuses on information related to their search helps to keep visitors on your site for longer, and therefore improves conversion of those visitors to customers.

So SEO has a key part to play in effective web translation?

Absolutely. Where 5 or more years ago a localised webpage may have succeeded in attracting traffic just by virtue of having been translated into the relevant language, now it’s important to ensure that your website targets the keywords people actually search for. SEO isn’t the full story, however. We’re finding that a holistic marketing vision that harnesses the potential of several channels is the most assured and cost-effective way for our clients to penetrate international online markets.

What this means is developing a comprehensive eMarketing strategy that encompasses blogging, email marketing and social media to develop traffic from both organic and paid search as well as boost customer retention to deliver a strong return on investment.

And where do you feel web translation is going in the future?

There is so much more to come. Currently 10% of sites are translated and localised and even these have the scope to add more content and languages. The global population continues to grow, products and services are in higher demand and with developing nations becoming more affluent and digitally enabled, particularly in Africa and Asia, the industry will be booming for years to come.

Web Translations, a great name by the way, offers all of these kinds of services?

It certainly gives people a good idea of what we do! We offer language services for 140 languages, including translation, website localisation and multilingual eMarketing. All language work is carried out by native speaking, university degree qualified translators, who have at least 5 years’ experience as professional translators. We match the translator’s skills to the needs of the client to get the best person working on each project, and manage the whole process seamlessly to make it easy for our clients. Our in-house team consists of web developers, SEO specialists, e-marketing and project managers assigned personally to each client’s project.

So could you give us the top 5 things that businesses need to consider when thinking about whether or not web translation is going to produce value for them?

  • Do they want to keep up with competitors, or overtake them?
  • Market research: is there sufficient demand, and who is already operating in that market?
  • What route do they plan to take to market (distributor, agent, direct sales, etc.), and do they have the resources to commit to the expansion long-term?
  • Practicalities such as regulations in-country and shipping costs.
  • Which products/services to focus on when expanding internationally.

We would like to thank Andrew Carter (pictured right, above) for his time in bringing us up to speed with the value of taking web translations seriously. You can find out more about Andrew and his team by visiting Web Translations.