Translating a website might not seem like a particularly tricky task until you actually give it a go yourself. It does not take long to realise there is a lot more involved than translating words from one language into another. In fact, your original content might not be all that effective in other languages, until you adapt it to the unique interests of each target audience.
Then you have to think about the technical aspects of delivering your translations to different users in the most effective way – something that catches out many brands. To make website translation work, you need a strategic approach and here are three strategies that are going to help you out-lingo your competitors.
#1: Localise your content strategy
The biggest website translation mistake brands make is assuming their original content is going to be effective with each audience. If you are serious about your web pages being lead generation tools that add value to your business, then you have to put the effort into crafting content that engages people and encourages them to do business with your brand.
The thing is, audiences in overseas markets are not going to have the same interests as those back home. A sports betting website cannot assume every market favours football as the number one game, much like a recipe site cannot assume everyone is going to be enjoying summer barbeques at the same time of year.
Head to New Zealand in August and you will not see a great deal of football on TV or many BBQ ads, considering it is the height of winter. Rugby and hearty, warming meals are going to be the topics of choice in this part of the world during (what we call) summer.
This is before we even consider markets where English is not the national language (although you will have to consider the country’s native Maori population, which has its own rich language and culture in this case).
#2: Restart keyword research for every market
Next up, you can guarantee most of your competitors are going to take their existing list of keywords and translate them into their target languages. This seems like the obvious way to approach things but people in foreign-speaking markets are not translating keywords from English when they turn to search engines.
This is a poor way to conduct keyword translation.
Instead, they have got their own phrases that are not going to match with the exact translations you come up with.
More to the point, consumers in other markets are going to have different interests and concerns, which means the search terms they are typing could be entirely different. So simply translating your English keywords into foreign languages means you could be targeting the wrong search terms entirely – even if the translations end up being accurate.
Restart keyword research for each target market, pinpoint what they are looking for from a brand like yours and then base your content strategy around this.
#3: Choose the right inbound channels for each market
The whole point of having a website is to generate leads from external sources (search, social media, referrals, etc.) but Google and Facebook are not the top sources of inbound traffic from every market.
For search, this is especially true in Russia and China – two of the world’s largest markets – and other exceptions such as South Korea, where Naver tends to be the first place people turn to for search. Social media usage is even more diverse with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and co. being minor players in various markets outside of Europe.
Translating your website is only going to get you so far if you are trying to bring traffic in from minority sources in your target market.
Simply running your existing page content through a translation process and expecting to get results in foreign markets is going to get underwhelming results. The good news is a lot of your competitors are going to make this mistake and this gives you the opportunity to jump in ahead of them by getting website translation right from start to finish.
Get in touch with our team of dedicated web translation professional to get advice on how to out-lingo your competitors.