As a localization provider I have talked with many companies who use Google Translate to translate their keywords. Other companies use someone in their office for keyword translation. In either case, I’m afraid this is not the way to run an effective global content marketing campaign.
Why you should use a HUMAN translator
If you are using Google Translate, or another similar machine translation tool, for keyword translation you may be getting a translation with a different meaning or context than you are intending. Google Translate now offers some context clarification for single words, but not for what may be full search terms, or long-tail keywords and phrases.
Google Translate is also not specific to a region; so if you are translating from English into Spanish, you cannot specify Latin American or European Spanish.
Many words have nuanced, or even alternative meanings when used in a specific context. A few examples of single English words with double meanings are: solution, hatch, season, patient, and charge. A human translator — that properly understands the context, and tone — will ensure that your message is communicated effectively.
Why you should use a PROFESSIONAL, human translator
Companies that task a native-speaking staff member to translate their keywords, often think that’s a great solution. A native-speaker will of course understand context, style and tone. But while this is a step above using a machine translation tool, it is still lacking when providing effective localization. The person often doing this translation is likely translating the keywords from the list correctly; but is unlikely to be doing keyword research to see how searches are being performed in a given market. The way something is searched for in Argentina may not be the same as in Mexico or Spain, even though they’re all using the same language.
Why you should use a professional, IN-COUNTRY, human translator!
For example, in English, “coffee shop” is a common phrase which translates into Spanish as “cafeteria”. However in Spain, when someone is looking for a place to drink coffee, the term “café” is searched for far more frequently. A professional translator familiar with the language and the locale, would be able to provide you with the correct, and colloquial, term for your target audience.
For each target market you should do keyword research to effectively localize your keyword list. If you are running a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign you will want to be paying for the terms that the local marketplace is searching for. If not, you will be simply wasting your PPC budget. Furthermore, if your SEO results are not meeting the level you expect in the global market you serve, you may want to evaluate how you are developing your global keywords, and consider a new strategy.
Marketing and SEO for multilingual websites, or for content destined for specific locales (country + language + geography), is more than just translating keywords. Today, companies should work with a combination of owned, earned and bought digital media in order to drive traffic to their localized or translated websites.
In conclusion, to translate keywords effectively…
Localization of any media requires in-country, native speaking, professionals to first write the copy; and also to translate and localize content in order to engage potential customers. Whether you work with a traditional digital marketing agency, or you are one, Quicksilver Translate can serve as an extension of your in-house digital marketing department; to help you successfully deliver your message around the world.