As a break from the norm, here's a guest post on the topic of language translation. It's incredibly easy to target your affiliate marketing towards one particular language, most likely your own. Translation isn't something that seems too important but are you culling potential revenue by doing this? Christian Arno discusses this topic further...
Multilingual SEO and Localisation
A single marketing strategy incorporating every market sector and customer demographic of consumer would save businesses a great deal of time and resources. However, the prospect of succeeding with a 'one-size-fits-all' approach isn't particularly great.
Every facet of every campaign, from the newsletters to the websites, must be designed with the end consumer in mind. What looks cool to a marketing guru may miss the mark when it comes to drawing in those with a vested interest in your product or service.
And as though domestic markets weren't difficult enough, with international markets, the waters are even muddier. There is a cacophony of cultural and linguistic complexities to take into account and you must identify with your audience and address them in a language they understand: literally, their native language.
There are over two hundred indigenous languages in the European Union (EU) alone, twenty three of which are official languages of the twenty seven member states. Over 50% of the EU speak English to some degree, but German has plurality in terms of native speakers with 18%, followed by English and Italian with 13%, French with 12% and Spanish with 9%.
But the scheme thickens when you mull over the myriad of dialects that exist within languages. Take French, for example, which is spoken in France, Belgium, Switzerland and, if we want to look beyond Europe, Canada. Whilst there aren't major distinctions between the various French dialects spoken in these countries, from a marketing standpoint, there’s little room for complacency.
For example, 'seventy' in France is soixante-dix, but in Swiss and Belgian French it's septante. And déjeuner is 'lunch' in France, but 'breakfast' in Switzerland and Belgium. Similarly, the French spoken in Canada (Québéquois) also has its differences from the French in Europe. Perhaps the most notable distinction is that Canadian French tends to translate English terms literally, rather than importing the terms directly as Anglicisms. To illustrate this, 'weekend' in France is simply le weekend, whilst in Canada it is fin de semaine (literally 'end of the week').
There are many similar distinctions between French dialects. And there are a number of notable differences between German dialects too. For example, Switzerland avoid the 'ß' (Eszett) symbol, using 'ss' instead. And grammatical gender can be different between countries too, with Switzerland opting, for example, 'das email' rather than 'die email', which is the form used in Germany. You have to look beyond the vernacular of the target market and launch yourself head-first into the culture: localisation is central to succeeding in international markets.
Research has shown that two thirds of marketers in Europe planned to increase their use of SEO
in targeting new customers this year. Search is an important marketing tool in domestic markets, but internationally, there are other issues to consider before launching any SEO
Whilst setting up a foreign language website is a crucial part of any international marketing strategy, you need to think about how you’re going to optimize the content. Whilst it's fine to simply translate the content of the English language website using a suitably qualified translator who is native to the target country, the keywords are a different issue altogether. As a general rule of thumb, keyword translation is a bad idea. Even if the dictionary translation of the phrase is correct, it isn’t necessarily what people use to search for a service or product in a particular country.
In English, for example, 'car insurance' is a high-ranking search term on Google. A not-incorrect translation of this into French would be 'l'assurance automobile', but if you check Google's keyword tool
in French-speaking markets, you can see that web users generally don't use that term at all, and tend to use 'assurance auto' or 'assurance voiture' instead. So by taking just a few minutes to research the correct keywords in a local market, a major SEO
dilemma can be avoided.
Once you have established the correct keywords for your target market, you simply incorporate these into your translated website and you have an organically optimized, foreign language website.
A multilingual SEO
and localization strategy should underpin any international online market campaign, and by using inappropriate grammar, terminology and style, key messages are often lost in translation.
About the author
Christian Arno is founder and Managing Director of UK translation company
and localisation specialists Lingo24.
Launched in 2001, Lingo24
now has over a hundred employees on four continents and clients in over sixty countries. In the past twelve months, they have translated over thirty million words for businesses in every industry sector and their turnover in 2009 is £3.65m GBP
Many thanks to Christian for taking the time to write this article. Please feel free to comment as it would be interesting to read what you think about language translation from an affiliate perspective - a licence to print money or a complete waste of time?
If anyone else fancies giving me a break by writing some content relevant to fellow affiliate marketers, give me a shout :-)
Thank you to all previous commenters.
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