Imagine your typical website translation project:
- You have a big website to translate from en-GB to de-DE.
- You plan to update the source content regularly and want existing translations to be recycled, taking advantage of the latest translation memory technology.
- You have a thoroughly managed terminology database that can be integrated in the translation environment.
- Your translation team is well prepared and waiting for the go.
“Great, all set! Let’s start translating! "
Then you remember one more thing...
Your Search Engine Optimization service provider created a set of SEO keywords, which have been used in your source content to get better results with Google!
You ask your translation team:
"Could you please translate the list of keywords, first? We will add them to our Terminology Database, so you can use them when translating the content of the website!”
“Well, yes, of course! But…”
SEO keywords are not necessarily terminology you would want to use in your documentation, your marketing material, or even on your product.
Keywords are selected and distributed over your web content to match the words a user is most likely to enter to find a product like yours. They should be treated differently from your regular terminology.
“Yes, we know that, just translate them, we’ll set an attribute in our terminology database, so we know it’s an SEO keyword!”
That’s OK, in a monolingual terminology database.
However, most likely your literally translated keyword does not give you the same results on your translated website. German users might look for a different concept, using a different word to find a product like yours.
So, yes, during the translation of your web content into the target language, your keywords will be translated. But the flow of your translated text might not be as captivating and elegant as the original text is, and it probably does not have the best German keywords in it, either.
To get the desired SEO results with keywords in your target languages, a new analysis is needed: Ask your SEO service provider to create SEO keywords for your target languages.
And, in an additional editorial process after translation, the translated web content should be modified by adding the target keywords to get best search results. This might involve rewriting of content here and there.
A simple example
Your English keyword list suggests you should make use of “travel tips” whenever you can to draw attention to your web content about tourism and transportation.
Your German keyword list suggests you should make use of “Urlaub” (German for vacation) whenever you can.
You decide to add both terms to your Terminology Database and link “travel tips” with “Urlaub”.
"You need advice? We have the best travel tips for you!"
"Sie brauchen Rat? Wir haben den besten Urlaub für Sie!"
This is not a very good translation, it is actually wrong.
How to improve
The better approach is probably to stick to the correct translation of “travel tips” which is “Reiseempfehlungen”, although it might not be a good German keyword.
Then, after translation, in an editorial process, the German keywords are inserted into the text and whenever necessary, the content is rewritten.
"You need a time out? We have the best travel tips for you!"
"Sie brauchen eine Auszeit? Wir haben den besten Reiseempfehlungen für Sie!"
"Sie brauchen Urlaub? Wir haben die besten Reiseziele für Sie!"
You have then to decide whether to adapt your translation memories (TM) with the rewritten sentences.
- If you do that, be aware that in another context, the target segment (not being an exact translation but rewritten) might not be suitable. So I’d recommend doing that only if you use that TM for your website only.
- If you do not, be aware that when analyzing an updated version of your content, the TM will not contain the target keywords and rewritten text.
Last but not least… a keyword is useful for as long as it is typed in by search engine users. Their behavior might change from time to time. So it’s not an easy job to find a balance between updating your content, usage of keywords, and translation.
Get your website translation and SEO keyword localization right the first time!