Today we have another Guest Post, this time from Thomas Chow. Enjoy!

Professional translation services for websites are an important part of maintaining search engine visibility. In addition to allowing potential customers and buyers who speak other languages access your site, good translation is important for ranking high in search engine results. For example, in Google for English-speakers, Korean or Hebrew pages will rank low. Having a translated version of your site available for each language market that you want to target will solve this problem. However, translation for search is about more than just language. Keyword usage and placement have to be correct as well.
SEO Translation vs. Standard Translation
If you are selecting a translation company to translate a document, your primary focus should be on the skill of the translator. You must ask if the translator has experience in both of the relevant languages, as well as seek references and perhaps examples of prior work. While these attributes are important for selecting a translator for search, they are not the only important considerations. For website translation, you must also seek a company that specializes in search engine optimization and understands the ramifications of different word choices on search engine visibility. A company with specialists in translation as well as specialists in SEO is ideal. Just because a translation is technically correct does not mean that it is a good match for valuable keywords or phrases.

Locating Translation Services

The Internet abounds with providers of translation services. To narrow down your choices, select a few websites that have successfully completed translation projects that are similar to your goals for your own website. If your site is in German and you want an English version available, select German sites that have high-ranking English versions of their pages. Another alternative is to hire a translator to complete the translation work, and then an SEO expert to optimize the translated page.  The SEO expert should work primarily in the language to which your site is translated. If you find this to be too expensive, choose a company that bundles translation and optimization services.

The Difference Between Keyword Translating and Website Translating

Website translation is necessary for ensuring that all of a site’s textual content is correctly translated into the second language. Keyword translation is more complicated than website translation, because the correct translation of one of your keywords may result in a word that does not rank well in the alternate-language search engine. Alternatively, you might find that if you have several keywords that are all synonyms for the same thing, after translation all of the keywords are identical. If you are working with English, you should be aware that not all languages have the number of synonyms for individual words as English, and you may need to use secondary SEO methods or different phrases to boost your site’s rank after translation.
Why Not Use a Translation Tool?
Translation tools may seem like a good cost-saving alternative to hiring a qualified and expert translator, but you may find your site suffering from unintended visibility consequences if you use one. Translation software often will not account for words with multiple meanings. Sometimes translation software makes very strange word choices that will be off-putting to readers of the translated page. If your translated text includes nonsense words, Google will likely penalize your site, since often nonsense words appear on spam pages. Most of all, if you use translation software, you will have no way of measuring the quality and accuracy of the finished product.

Author’s Bio: Thomas Chow is part of the operations team at Servio where he is in-charge of translating web content to help people scale their content strategy development

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