Translating Between Cultures

SEO and translation work hand in hand

If there is one goal that is important for translation services, it’s engaging the audience and being able to relate to them on an intuitive level. Having a strong grasp of the many language services that we offer isn’t just essential for the technical aspects of the written word, but for initiating a direct dialogue between client and provider. This means understanding not only the grammatical and linguistic elements which make up a language, but the colloquialisms and cultural references which make that particular language so distinct. Language is more than just communication; it represents the values and beliefs upon which entire societies are based upon.

Keeping ahead of the game with high-quality content

Having an acute and insightful understanding of language is what drives high content, and keeps it focused. In today’s market, virtually every website, whether non-profit, not-for-profit or profit-oriented will contain marketing material, whether it is written in the primary text of the website itself or through advertising.

Bloggers will want people to keep coming back to their website to read their latest articles, just as social media pages want to keep up the momentum on how many times they are shared, liked, and retweeted, as well as business owners needing site hits to ensure their latest sales offer is reaching the target audience.

Language & SEO

One of the most effective strategies to achieve this is through SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which uses specific keywords and their variations within the text to rank on a search engine like Google. A greater diversity of words relating to the same subject, as long as they remain focused, will help a website get the hits it needs and is very cost-effective. “Crisp, clean, and persuasive written-to-order content” is the mantra of the leaders in the SEO writing industry, where the copywriting profession is becoming increasingly lucrative.

Like much of the online realm, SEO is one of the most constantly evolving areas, observes Justin Weag, Director of SEO & Emerging Technology. A wide shift from link-building towards content marketing has become the norm, involving a greater, more competitive skill-set from employers. When an organization’s most promising draw originates in its content, an adept use of language is a must.

It takes a high level of craft to be able to effectively articulate the values and selling points of a company in a compelling and informative way in any language, and how SEO is approached within each language can be strikingly different. uses the old adage “When in Rome, speak like the Romans” noting that “When we think SEO, we usually think in English. However, what if our clients’ prospects don’t think in English–or don’t even speak English?”

Thinking outside the box

A professional translator is able to address these issues in a variety of ways. In Europe, where multiple languages are being spoken on both a regional and national scale, transitioning between languages even mid-conversation can be seamless. Due to the frequency and commonality of language, companies that are lacking in the linguistic department fall behind in the game.

If the knowledge of a language is common in day-to-day conversation, it most definitely is in the professional field, and an experienced translator not only has a solid grasp of different languages, but they will have an in-depth understanding of the culture and its characteristics.

They will be able to think outside of the box and know the kind of catchphrase which will work for one audience in one language and be able to adapt it succinctly for another. The GITS Blog, an online forum covering programming, translation, and Japan, emphasizes several areas where a translator can improve to boost their skill level, including “Target-language ability, source-language ability, subject expertise, translation ability, soft (people) skills, and sales and marketing skills.” By training extensively and constantly practicing all of these elements, a translator is on their way to staying ahead of the game when it comes to the highly competitive business world, especially in Europe.

A great translator doesn’t just translate – they interpret. Some critics may argue that in literature, a good translation is one that stays close to its source material, or even parallels the original words – but this isn’t always the case.

What is important is capturing the spirit and the ethos of the original piece, even if this means slightly re-contextualizing towards a contemporary audience and understanding how that text can resonate with them. The same can be said for business content – respecting the culture, knowing what will click, and ultimately, making that audience want to come back for more.