How to market your website to foreign-language speakers?
- An immediate exposure to new target demographics, with a consequent increase in sales volume.
- An immediate advantage over competitors who do not translate their content.
- Reusing existing content for SEO purposes. For example, translating your blog to other languages does not require the creating of new content.
- Less competition over paid and unpaid keywords.
- A possible higher CTR for foreign-language keywords, leading to higher Quality Score for those words.
- Better chance of creating a 'buzz' around your product: many products and brands become hits with only one demographic with specific cultural characteristics. Orkut, Google's social network, can serve as an example: it became successful only in Brazil, thanks to its well localized version.
- Increased potential for business co-operation and for finding new partners through affiliate networks.
- If the target language is Chinese - what kind? Is it Mandarin, Cantonese or Shanghainese? What script, simplified or traditional?
- If Portuguese, is the target demographic that of Portugal or of Brazil?
- Spanish - that which is spoken in South America or in Spain (and in either case, which dialect?)
- The assumption that visitors to the website will understand that the translation was done by a computerized algorithm and not by a translator has no basis in reality (except for technology-type websites). New visitors only see a website that was translated poorly.
- A poorly-translated website is immediately suspect of being unprofessional or even of being a scam.
- The quality of the translation (or lack thereof) reflects on the quality of the product.
- Machine translation of a website also pollutes the Internet and the search results on it, if it is not done using a code that dynamically changes the content of a webpage. For example, a "real" post with content generated through machine translation will bring in visitors by means of search engines. These visitors will immediately leave the website, thus increasing its Bounce Rate, not to mention carrying with them a negative impression of the website and its owners.
- The money can be invested in making a quality translation of only the landing page.
- In the short run, a sub-domain can be created, which includes only the homepage. Later, when the budget allows it, the translated content can be expanded.
- A portion of the translation fees can be paid through a profit-sharing agreement with the translator.
- A translator has to be native in the language into which he or she is translating, and if possible, to actually reside in the country targeted by the marketing effort. Every language and culture has their dialects, vernaculars and fine nuances.
- A professional translator - someone who studied translation or linguistics - is always preferable.
- One has to be careful hiring freelance translators from various websites. Often these are fraudsters who sell machine translations as if it was work done by a professional.
- It is advisable to have an independent translator double-check the text, along with additional editing and proofreading. Translation and editing/proofreading by two professional translators results in a better-quality text.
- Ask the potential translator to translate a test sample, and let another translator evaluate it.
- Translation is a slow process. A professional translates 250-300 words per hour. To have your translation project completed on time, demand from a translator a commitment to a deadline, and the ability to check the progress of the project on a daily basis.
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