Looking for a website translator?
Many website translators offer different services. Some of my colleagues advertise website translation services, some offer website localization and others provide SEO translations. What do these services have in common and what differentiates them?
Visible and hidden text
If you want your website to be translated, bear in mind that every website has visible and invisible parts. The elements you see when you visit a website include webpage content, navigation texts, images and image captions. Other texts are hidden and don’t appear on the interface of the homepage: the metatexts. These include the title and description of the individual webpages as well as the alternative texts (ALT text) that are stored for each image. The search engines read the metatexts, and this affects how your website ranks in the search engine results. The further up in the search results your homepage is listed, the better your search engine ranking is.
When a website is translated, the visible content of the homepage is transferred into another language. This means that the website translator formulates navigation texts and website statements so that they are well understood in the foreign language. In most cases, they are not adapted to the culture of the target audience, and the metatexts are not normally translated. This translation service focuses on the visible parts of the website.
Localization is a term from software engineering and means: adaptation of software to the linguistic and cultural circumstances of the target group. These are date and time details, currencies, units of measurement as well as images and graphics. A prerequisite of software localization is that the product was developed with internationalization in mind.
Localizing a web presence entails adapting the website content to the culture of the target country: the webpage content is translated taking the cultural differences and preferences of the target audience into account. This can mean that content and images are adapted to the target audience in order to address the audience appropriately. To be successful with your website localization, you need a language partner who brings these issues to your attention. The following examples make clear why localization is important.
A chat option provided on a website only makes sense if the users can contact you in their native language. The same is true for telephone support. Generally, German users will shy away from using a support or chat option in English.
Success stories are a good way of advertising yourself by describing projects that you have undertaken for existing customers. It is important to choose stories that are relevant for your target group. If your enterprise is based in Germany, but you want to have your website translated into British English, you should report on successes that you have achieved for companies operating in Britain or on an international stage. This helps you to better address your English-speaking users.
The success of your company increasingly depends on whether customers can find you on the Internet. To enable customers to find your foreign-language website on the Internet, you must provide your website translator with metatexts and image texts in addition to webpage content, navigation texts and URLs. Consequently, SEO translation goes one step further. Website texts are not only adapted to cultural and linguistic factors, i.e. localized, they are also optimized for search engines. In doing so, the translator takes the search behavior of your potential customers into account so that you achieve a high ranking with your website. This assumes that the website translator does keyword research and incorporates the search terms found into the translation of the visible and invisible parts of the homepage. Read more on the benefits of SEO translation.
Reasons for website translation
Before you have your website translated, think about what you want to achieve with the translation:
- You want to make your offer available to a German- or English-speaking audience.
- You want to address a certain group of customers in the target country.
- You want to generate requests with your foreign website.
The result of these considerations determines which translation service you need. If you only want to have a German or English translation of your website on the Internet, a website translation may be sufficient. But if you wish to acquire new customers with your foreign-language website, you should invest in SEO translation and International SEO
A translation that is optimized for search engines includes the invisible texts of your website. Moreover, the webpage content is optimized to the search behavior of your customers and the search terms they use. This results in your website appearing high up in the search engine results lists. You achieve a high ranking on the Internet and become more visible with your web presence, increasing your prospects of acquiring new customers.
Finding the right website translator
It is important that you find a service provider who offers what you need. Ask your translation partner what exactly they are offering: website translation, website localization or SEO translation. Some colleagues use these terms interchangeably and don’t distinguish one from another.
Read my blog post What characterizes a professional translator? to find out what makes a qualified translator.
I’m a qualified translator for English and German and offer website translation, website localization and SEO translations. Interested in receiving a non-binding quote? Send your texts to email@example.com or phone me on +49 621 12479109.