How to Position Your Website with Translation (I)

In recent years, Okodia, our translation agency, has seen how translation requests for web environments have increased fivefold. Businesspeople, professionals and entrepreneurs who invest time, money and enthusiasm in creating or consolidating virtual businesses, e-learning platforms, collaborative sites, etc. have gradually realized that using machine translation in their projects is not, to say the least, a very good idea.  Many marketing and communication experts advise their clients to get professional SEO translation for their online projects. It goes without saying that as an international translation agency, we certainly think this is a fantastic idea, but do clients know exactly what this type of specialized translation consists in?

What exactly is SEO translation? Are we really aware of how this type of translation affects the international positioning of websites (for good and for bad)? Can SEO translation contribute towards a domain appearing in the coveted list of the top 10 results of the omnipotent search engine that thousands of international consumers use on a daily basis?

Some history

Not too many years ago, a new and perilous trend was all the rage on the Internet: embedding a machine translation engine in websites, which—supposedly—quickly and correctly translated all of the website’s texts to the language chosen by the user. Do you remember? With just one click, your web environment was left completely unconfigured and unapologetically showed the user an appalling “translation” into Swahili, Korean or Mandarin Chinese.

Fortunately, this habit of attempting to communicate with users across the globe using machine translation quickly fizzled out and had a positive outcome: it gave rise to the idea that the Internet was a global means of communication and that websites—professionals, companies—had found a great ally to export and to internationalize.

Overnight, the infamous icons for machine translation into a thousand and one languages disappeared from the web interface. Most of the websites went back to how they were, displaying their texts in one, two or, at most, three languages, which were spoken by the majority of their current or future customers. The time had come to improve the translations of web environments. SEO translation was thus born.

General translation vs. SEO translation

Do you think translating a book is the same as translating a sports article? Is translating an instruction manual for a gantry crane the same as translating a package insert?

If you know a little bit about the translation industry, you’ll know that there are different specialties or disciplines. There are technical, literary, advertising, sports, medical, pharmaceutical translations…as well as SEO translation. There are many differences in the way each of these types of translation is done, but one of them—one of the most important—has to do with the target audience of the translation; that is, the final reader of the content. (CONTINUE READING)