How to Localise Keywords: tips and tricks for effective keyword localisation

How to Localise Keywords: 3 Basic Steps

Tips for effective keyword localisation

To localise keywords effectively, follow three basic stages: translation, adaptation, supplementing and testing. If you have a list of well-performing keywords, you need to complete four main tasks to make your list work in other languages:

  1. Translate keywords correctly.
  2. Localise keywords: adapt them to a new region (taking language, cultural and other differences into account)
  3. Search and add new keywords relevant to the local market like trends, events, etc.
  4. Test the new keywords in search engines and add them to the localised texts.

In its online training on digital marketing, Google underlines that you need a proper translation—and localisation—to overcome language barriers and communicate your ideas and offers. To make local feel like ‘you speak their language’, Google strongly advises in favour of using professional services.

Automated translation is rarely 100% fluent and accurate. Free tool might be tempting but Google penalises websites which use Google Translate for their multilingual pages. The reason is simple: they are considered to be low quality content not meeting user needs.

Google’s recommendations can be fully applied to localise keywords. As the cornerstone for both organic traffic and paid online advertising, keywords have two main functions:

  • to ensure correct content indexing by search engines;
  • to encourage user actions with search results.

The closer is a keyword variation to a user’s search query, the higher are the chances that the search engine sees the content as relevant and puts in the first page of search results. Obviously, this means a user is more likely to click your link.

It’s impossible to achieve highly relevant search results if keywords are simply translated. Yes, they will still be relevant and meaningful for a user reading the content. But search engines have different criteria for relevancy.

1. Correct translation

Context is translators’ favourite word. And context is even more important for localising keywords as you should specify the exact word meaning.

How would you translate ‘slicer’, ‘imaging’ or ‘support’? And if I told you these were 3D related terms? When translating keywords, it is vital to explain what they mean in a given context, give links to the pages with the keywords or at least explain what the pages are about.

The translator should understand the tasks that have been set when creating a keyword list. In this case, they might be able to add other variants based on typical local search queries.

2. Keyword adaptation

Ideally, localised keywords should match actual search terms and queries. Depending on a country, region or target audience, these search queries can differ significantly from terms which have been translated directly.

After adaptation, you may get two synonyms in the target language instead of one source word or a long-tail keyword (phrase) if it correlates to terms online users enter when searching.

Next, the list of translated keywords is analysed for search engine relevance. Search term frequency and related variants are the main things to pay attention to. Based on analysis results, you then correct and amend the list.

Tools for keyword analysis:

Google Keyword Planner is the easiest option (requires a Google AdWords account).

Yandex’s Keyword Statistics and Serpstat are Russian online services targeted at the Russian-speaking segment of the web.

3. Testing and diagnostics

The first round of keyword testing takes place during the adaptation. For each keyword, all the above-mentioned tools offer an approximate number of search queries. Please note that does not mean you should neglect testing the final keywords variants in main search systems. This covers keywords both for content creation and social media posting.

Use the SEMrush Keyword Difficulty tool to check competition for the most important keywords. The index (from 1% to 100%) shows you how difficult it is to outperform your competitors for the planned keywords and keyphrases. A low-frequency long tail keyword has more chances of getting to the first search page when it matches the search term.

In search engines, the quality rating for each keyword depends not only on competitors. The relevance and quality of a corresponding landing page is another component. That means localised keywords should be highly relevant to the content of the landing page.

Anywhere else to use keywords?

Meta descriptions

The text summarising a page’s content in search results. Web surfers are more likely to click an offered link if they notice the keywords from their search queries (or closely related terms).

Note: Recently, Google announced that their search engine now supports meta descriptions up to 320 symbols long. Still, many prefer the good old fashioned 160-symbol metas, just to be on the safe side.

Headings

The first thing you notice when you examine search results is a page title or a heading. If a heading matches a keyword or a keyphrase, the search engine sees the content as relevant and shows it higher in search results. If a heading fails to describe the content accurately, the search engine gives fewer points to the page.

Note: A good heading is accurate, engaging and a bit provoking. It communicates the idea behind the target page in a clear and concise way.

URL address

Sometimes, page URLs are localised, too. For Russian language, it means transliteration. If you add a long-tail keyword to your URL, be careful not to make it too long (3 to 5 words max).

Note: According to Google, keywords in URLs do not have a strong impact on your SEO.

Alt tags

Search systems cannot ‘see’ images. Instead, they look for image descriptions in <alt> tags. During localisation, it is better to translate image descriptions and add keywords to them as it makes the page content more relevant to search terms containing matching and related keywords.

Note: An average image description should be not less than 3 to 4 words (250 symbols or more), with only one of them being the keyword.

“If you’re growing into an area that primarily speaks another language you’ll need to translate your site. And it’s probably best to have it done by a native speaker – rather than an automated translation service.

But simply translating content might not be enough. Words and phrases that work in an Italian market may not resonate with a French audience. Localisation is the process that makes locals feel like you “speak their language”.

It seems like a fair bit to think about…but there are many companies and freelancers out there who specialise in exactly this type of work.”

Google Digital Garage

More questions on keyword localisation? Feel free to send them to info @ just-translate.it.com

Social media for small business

Searched and found online: 3 top social networks

Tips and tricks to improve your Google ranking by 2018

This is the third post on online marketing strategies for SMB. The first part covers tools for improving your search ranking. And the second is about building your content strategy.

Next comes content promotion. Here, social  media for small business can be a powerful way to amplify and reinforce your carefully created content.

Nearly every online research begins with search engines. More than a half of potential customers research businesses using social media before making a purchasing decision.

Social media is free and it lets you talk to customers anywhere. So how can you use social media to its advantage?

PLAN AHEAD

To effectively cross-promote your content, you can’t simply post the same message on each social network; you need to tailor it to fit each platform and audience.

When promoting a blog post or a campaign, you may need to address your Facebook fans in a different way than your LinkedIn audience. On Twitter, you have to keep your message short and simple.

Here’s a look at three top social networks with some marketing tips and tricks.

#1 FACEBOOK

Your Page establishes your business’ presence on Facebook, so people can find out about you and connect with you. Commit to your personality: share your knowledge, talk about your experiences, and interact.

10 Facebook tips for your Business Page

1

The cover photo is an area for some promotion of your business, your contest or giveaway. The cover page loads fastest as an sRGB JPG file 851 x 315 pixels and less than 100 kilobytes.

Facebook posts can be up to 10,000 characters but be sure to put the main message into the first 480 characters as only they show up in the feed.

2

Update the Page template to best suit your business (Settings > Edit Page > Edit Template). You can choose Business, Services, Shopping, Venues, Politicians, Restaurants and Cafés, or the Standard template.

Complete your About section as it often the first place your visitors scan after a Google search. It’s your landing page for Facebook. Your short description, the one line pitch, is your value proposition or unique selling point. Add your social links and contacts.

3

Add relevant keywords to your About section for better SEO. Only the first 75 characters will appear on your wall, and they are most valuable for search engines. Include a link to your website in those first 75 characters.

Add relevant keywords to your posts and to captions of your Facebook images.

4

Be responsive to messages and comments but note that you can set you Response Time marker automatically OR manually (Settings > Messaging). To receive private messages in addition to comments, enable the messages feature in Settings > General.

Enable Response Assistant to respond automatically with a customised message (Settings > Messaging).

5

Take advantage of call-to-action buttons available for a Page (the bottom right-hand corner of the cover photo). The buttons make it easier to get in touch with the business.

Add Button to Facebook page

Customise your tabs of the left side bar (Settings > Edit Page > Tabs). Drag and drop tabs to change the order and complete all the information.

5

Make good use of custom Facebook tabs. You create a custom landing page right on your page for almost any purpose.

Here are some ideas:

  • Get more subscribers to your business blog.
  • Promote registration for your upcoming event.
  • Create a library of downloadable offers to generate leads
  • Feature customer testimonials or case studies

Facebook has made this setup process somewhat trickier over the years, but you can use third-party services:

Woobox

woobox
Easy Tab Creator

Easy Tab Creator
Facebook Timeline Contests

facebook timeline contests
ShortStack

shortstack facebook7

Experiment with different post styles and types. Your posts are meant to be marketing tools! Facebook Stories are in-the-moment content clips that appeared only in 2017. Give sneak peeks into industry events, product launches, and behind the scenes content with Facebook Live.

Facebook post formats

If possible, embed your Facebook content into blog posts or other online publications. Click in the upper right-hand corner of your post, copy, and paste.

8

Don’t forget your past successes. Recycle or repost past successful content to save you needed time and energy. Some of your readers did miss the posts that performed well in the past.

To find most popular posts on your Page click on the Insights tab at the top of your Page, and then go to the Posts section on the left hand side. To see which posts were reaching the most users, click Reach in the top menu of the table. To see which posts were getting the most engagement, click Engagement in the top menu of the table. You can sort engagement even further by Post Clicks, Reactions, or Comments & Shares.

9

Have fun and be social. Facebook was created to connect individuals around the world.

Your Facebook insights will tell you when the majority of your fans are online, so you can adjust to the time periods they prefer.

10

Need more ideas?

52 Facebook Marketing Ideas

12 Easy Ways to Find Engaging Facebook Content

#2 LINKEDIN

A professional business network, LinkedIn can be used to share content about your business or industry sector. It’s also useful for networking and establishing closer contacts.

LinkedIn has 3x higher visitor-to-lead conversion rate then Twitter and Facebook. It’s sure a place to increase your marketing presence, build new relationships with customers and form your professional network.

10 LinkedIn tips for your profile and business page

1

The cover photo is one more way to brand yourself. You can connect it to your profession, tell a visual story or share your best contact info but be sure that the image represents you as a person and a professional. The new recommended size is 1584 wide by 396 high (4:1).

On the new user interface only a small piece of your summary is displayed. Concentrate on the first sentence to grab the attention of your visitor. Try “view as” mode for your profile to check the result.

2

Beware of buzzwords when filling out your profile or a business page. Every year, LinkedIn releases a ranking of the 10 buzzwords on profiles which are used so often they become almost meaningless. This year’s adjectives are: specialised, leadership, focused, strategic, experienced, passionate, expert, creative, innovative and certified.

Instead of using buzzwords, add keywords to various sections of your profile including your headline, your summary, or your work experience.

LinkedIn Buzzwords3

LinkedIn is one of the top sites that Google indexes regularly so your SEO is relevant for headline, summary, job titles. Use keywords that people use when they’re searching for the services in your niche. Think in terms of 3-5 words to avoid overstuffing.

Rename images on your profile adding keywords: include a name that will get you discovered online to gain more exposure. Make use of backlinks: add a link to your blog page and consider linking back to your profile page for a higher profile ranking.

4

You can post on your profile, on company page, and in groups. Republish your blog posts on LinkedIn Pulse. (Better wait a couple of weeks after the original publication and think of a new headline though.)

You can also turn your post or presentation into a document on SlideShare as LinkedIn has bought the platform and integrated SlideShare into accounts. Feel free to share your blog content in appropriate groups as well, but use different text and post on different days and times.

5

Share your blog posts in LinkedIn with an image and a link. Keep the description copy to 70 characters and feature a call to action. Everything after 100 characters will be truncated and likely have a negative effect on engagement rates.

If you choose to report key industry news and trends, try to add value and provide key insights and takeaways. Make your text personal and engaging. Your audience consists of individuals, not institutions and entities.

6

Showcase pages on LinkedIn are extensions of a Company Page. They can be used to promote a product or business initiative. In fact, such niche page for targeted segments can serve as a specialised landing page connecting to your website.

You can offer different products or services on the separate pages linking them to your main page. It’s a great way to address various target audiences while continuing your work on brand building.

LinkedIn Showpages7

LinkedIn was created for networking. Get into the habit of following up meetings and conversations with LinkedIn connection requests – it’s a great way of keeping your network up to date and relevant.

The blueprint for writing an undeniable LinkedIn connection requests comes down to four rules. Your request must be: polite, personalized, professional, and (yes, right) praiseful. Some useful tips on writing LinkedIn requests were published by HubSpot and the Muse.

8

Make use of search functions when looking for new customers. Instead of the Advanced Search function, the new version offers a multi-layered search with the support of AND, OR, NOT Boolean phrases.

You can further refine the global search with the filters on the right-hand side of the page and save the search and get regular updates. Here is your LinkedIn search guide.

9

After searching for your ideal clients or partners take advantage of your ability to send up to 15 free messages per month to people that share a LinkedIn Group in common with you.

Your 15 messages are collectively for all of your groups each month. Unsent messages don’t carry over to the next period. The limit includes messages sent directly from groups including messages to your 1st degree connections.

10

If you post articles to LinkedIn Publisher, you can see people who liked or commented on your posts. These people had a positive interaction with your content and have some idea of who you are, so they may be your potential prospects and connections.

#3 TWITTER

In recent years, Twitter has been in a slow decline as its original appeal isn’t as exciting as 11 years ago. Despite that it is still a valid communication tool for reaching almost any type of audience.

Being one of the top social media sites in the world, Twitter is meant for building a dialogue with its real-time, quick-to-read updates. It allows you to listen to people and join in with their conversations.

10 Twitter tips for better promotion

1

In September, Twitter started testing 280 character limit to give posts more space. Nevertheless, it remains at its core a short message service. Avoid aggressive selling, excessive self-promotions and retweets cluttering fan feeds.

If you are eager to try lengthier messages right now, here are some suggestions on using Twitter new 280-character format.

2

You have 160 characters for you bio field on Twitter. Do keep it brief and include links to other websites and pages instead.

Make sure you use http:// at the beginning of your links for these links to be clickable.

3

It was the first social network to introduce hashtags and @ handles for better search and networking. Hashtags make your tweet more searchable and @ handles are used to give credit to or message other Twitter accounts.

Use tags (but not abuse). If you add three or more hashtags in your tweets, they look like spam and are a lot harder to read. Write shorter updates and leave room to include via @YourUsername if someone wants to share your content.

4

The lifespan of a tweet is about less than 20 minutes. If you share your blog posts, do it more than once on different days and at different times. Post your evergreen content every couple of months mixing them with curated content and retweets.

It’s fine to repeat Tweets more than once over a day if they are relevant and timely. Twitter internal data shows B2B audiences are much more likely to engage on Twitter after seeing business’s message for several times.

5

To get more retweets, be sure to include images and links. Avoid posting news without relevant links. You can upload up to four images to any tweet excluding animated GIFs when posting from an event or destination. Just tap on the Camera button and select up to four images.

Twitter even allows you to search for GIF’s while composing a new tweet to enhance your post with visual content. You can also use images to get past character limit if you attach a screenshot with some text or notes.

GIFs on Twitter6

You can now retweet your old tweets if they are relevant again or you feel they have gone unnoticed. Please note that each tweet can be retweeted only once to reduce the clutter in users’ newsfeeds.

Do not forget to promote your best tweets through a Pinned Tweet and stick the compelling content at the top of your page. Rotate the slot every few weeks to keep it relevant.

7

Use lists actively to organize and curate content. Main stream of latest tweets contains too much information. Even basic tools like Tweet Deck can be of great help here.

Some ideas for your lists: influencers, customers, leads/prospects. Feel free to make some of your lists private. Note that anybody can view a public list and users receive notifications when you add them.

Tweet Deck8

Try to maintain consistent communication and include similar keywords you use on your website, if it goes with what you’re tweeting about. Remember that hashtags play the role of keywords for Twitter. Analyze which hashtags bring you the most engagement and optimize your profile by focusing on the more effective ones.

Note that you can tag up to 10 people in a tweet image. This means you can add up to 10 @ handles without affecting your character limit in the original message.

9

Short links are popular on Twitter as they make your message easier to read. Here are some popular sites you can use:

10

Don’t miss a chance to embed tweets into websites as an embedded tweet is intuitive. Anyone logged into Twitter can reply it, retweet, add to favourites.

To embed a tweet tap on the More (…) button below the tweet, select the Embed Tweet option, then copy and paste the embed code into any HTML document.

SOME FINAL NOTES

Keep your name and @ handle consistent across all of your social channels to make you more searchable. Avoid using numbers in your username because it might seem spammy to Google.

Keep your pages regularly updated if you have them. Inactive social media accounts and unanswered queries could seriously harm your business. It just looks as if you don’t care.

If you’re a business with visual products, having a presence on Pinterest and Instagram is crucial. But you should focus your marketing efforts only on 1 to 3 platforms.

The number of followers and likes you have is going to mean less and less. It’s time to look at engagement. Find out what your audience wants to read, teach how to do something, inspire as people want to be inspired.

Good luck!

content strategy for SMB

Searched and found online: follow the content

Part 2. Building a purposeful strategy: tips and checklists

This is the second post on online marketing strategies for SMB. The first part covers tools for improving your search ranking.

You did your SEO homework but still not happy with traffic and conversions?

It’s time to look at the next four steps that help attract and nurture website visitors who found you online.

Compelling content is one of the best free online promotion tools at your disposal. Constant organic traffic is your quest. It means trust and authority among your ideal customers. But developing the right content takes time and effort.

Content serves you in many ways:

  • Improves your search rankings
  • Drives traffic to your website
  • Helps communicate with existing leads

In a nutshell, content is the message your marketing strategy delivers. Good content makes people read, share, and come back for more.

Specify why you create content and what you’re trying to achieve with it. Possible variants include:

Prospecting
Sales support
Marketing and PR
Community creation
Customer Support
Thought Leadership

Determine the goals and use them to build a purposeful content strategy. Give your content focus and clarity.

step 1. Plan: Know your audience

Before you create your content strategy, you need to understand exactly what constitutes high-quality content. An outline prepared by Google lists all necessary indicators.

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it shallow?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page one would bookmark, share, or recommend?

Google receives millions of search queries per minute. There are many people looking for answers. But capturing their attention can be difficult.

 

best content strategy for SMB

Source: Qmee

You are fighting for attention. Instead of attempting to guess what might be preferable for search engines, consider your audience and their genuine interests. This is the first stage of content planning and strategy.

Study your ideal customers and prospects. Explore the ways to reach them and try to find out what they prefer. Identify common buyers for your products and services, the problems they are trying to solve, the information they are searching for.

If your content is a bad fit for your audience, you’ll attract wrong visitors.

step 2. Create: Prepare to convert visitors into leads

To promote your products and services, you should understand the value of your business for your potential customers. Your unique offer is your sweet spot.

Record your editorial plans for the next three months. Add dates and tasks: publish new posts, update social networks, etc. Keep your marketing goals in mind and note SEO best practices.

1. Consider best storytelling practices

Simon Sinek says, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.”

Business storytelling is about creating a link between your business and your prospects and customers.
 
Why are you doing what you’re doing? How are you doing it to get a unique proposition? And only then comes WHAT you are offering. The answers will help you to set the tone for all your content and tell your story in a way that appeals to your audience.
 
I liked the way the Content Marketing course by Hubspot explained storytelling practices. To illustrate three essential story elements — characters, conflict, and resolution — they use a rhyme about a little teapot.

I’m a little teapot short and stout here is my handle, here is my spout. (the character)
When I get all steamed up I just shout. (conflict)
Tip me over and pour me out. (resolution)

Best content practices

Source: HubSpot

The storytelling framework applied to a business:

TOMS is a slip on shoe company that focuses on spreading social good; with every product you purchase, TOMS will donate a pair of shoes to a child in need. They’ve made this a part of their brand identity, by creating a slogan that reinforces who they are and what they’re about, “The One for One Company”.

The company sold over 60 million pairs of shoes.

Use content to create emotional appeal, be consistent, and keep the story clear and concise.

2. Define preferred content types

Content is able to increase visibility.

To optimize content for discovery and conversion, identify types of content and channels you’ll use.

Curation: Listing useful tools or stats adding value and creating useful, ever-green resource
Lists: Not everyone likes them, but lists do work very well. Easy to scan, they also appeal to curiosity
Niche: Detailed posts tend to deliver the right kind of traffic over time
How-to guides: Popular as they provide practical tips for users

Different content types help progress web visitors through every stage of customer relations. Choose content type depending on the stage of the buying cycle.

AWARENESS STAGE: a problem or opportunity is still unidentified

Analyst reports, e-books, blog posts, expert content, whitepapers, educational content

RESEARCH AND EDUCATION STAGE: a problem identified; looking for various solutions

Guidelines, live interactions (webinars), podcasts, videos, comparisons

DECISION AND PURCHASE STAGE: finally, more direct action

Vendor comparison; product comparison; case studies; trial offers; product literature; live demos

The best content is not products-based but solutions-based. It’s all about the customer, not about your business or products. By publishing such content you get:

  • Enhanced potential for onsite activity
  • Better positions in organic search
  • Social signals resulting in links to your content
Types of content by Hubspot

Source: HubSpot

3. Write with a purpose in mind

Figuring out a topic is one of the most important (and hardest) parts of content creation. See which terms attract visitors to your website. You will identify the evergreen content that is already working and get ideas for new content.

Other ways to identify valid topics are:

  • Keyword research
  • Internet forums
  • Popular industry news
  • Potential customer’s goals and challenges.

Topical content related to industry developments helps your savvy audiences make a better marketing or purchasing decision. It’s great for immediate success. Evergreen posts like “how-to” guides enjoy better ranking in search engines for longer periods.

Social media can drive traffic to your blog while specific blog posts could drive traffic to landing pages. All content can drive an action, such as enrollment to get the extra information. Content can drive sales with each piece of content creating interest in one of your products.

If you are not sure what topics to choose, try online tools like Buzzsumo to discover popular and well-liked content and Feedly to track trendy topics and content ideas.

Buzzsumo content ideas
4. Structure content appropriately

Writing for the web differs from academic writing. Your most important points always come first. Before your readers invest their time into your piece of content, they’ll want to know why it’s worth it.

Asking people to think doesn’t work here because web visitors don’t have time to think. Keep your web copy as readable as possible.

The readability of the text depends on how you arrange it. Web surfers don’t read texts but scan them in an F-shaped pattern looking for something to catch their attention. Can you write for scanning web users? Your checklist:

  • Communicate the purpose of your content in the headline
  • Add lists to reduce wordiness and clutter
  • Use short paragraphs (6-8 lines max)
  • Stick to short sentences (12 words on average)
  • Skip unnecessary words (try Hemingway App to get an idea)
  • Beware of jargon and use plain English
  • Avoid the passive tense
  • Resist needless repetition
  • Address your web visitors using the word ‘you’
  • Shorten the text

Is your content neat and conversational? Beware of errors, poor formatting, and weird text.

Best practices: text in sections with descriptive subheadings; visuals for better comprehension; being straight to the point; generous spacing and larger fonts to increase readability.

 

Web content best practices

Source: www2.warwick.ac.uk

5. Repurpose your content
Good content requires time and effort. You can recycle some of the materials to reach new audiences and reappear in search engine results. Remember the rule of seven: A prospect needs to see you message at least seven times before they take action.
 
There are two basic ways to re-purpose content: republish it on other websites with credit to the original author or recycle it into a new form.
 
Republishing best practices according to HubSpot:

– Strive to choose reputable sites for a greater positive effect
– Republish only top performing content
– Wait at least two weeks before republishing
– Update the headline of each republished piece of content
– Add internal links to your post
– Include call-to-action within the post

When recycling your content, be ready to adjust, combine related or unrelated content, and expand to dig deeper into the topic.

You can turn whitepapers into blog posts. And you can recycle a series of blog posts into Instagram posts, videos, a guide and a checklist, a slide deck, an infographic, a webinar or even a podcast.

Think like a publisher.

step 4. Analyse: Assess key metrics and plan next steps

Always track your content and its performance.
 
1. You will know if your marketing efforts are driving sales
2. You will understand where to head next.
3. You will have progress insights for future cases.
 
Don’t waste time and money on channels that don’t drive towards one of your goals. Focus on the main areas to derive actionable insights from your data:

Website metrics. What are the best sources of traffic for your business? Make sure visits arriving from organic search are steadily growing over time.
Engagement: shares, likes, comments, retweets. These are your main feedback signals. What content is working best?
Inbound links. Are they adding to brand awareness? Referral traffic may be indicative of your audience’s awareness of you as a trusted partner.
Lead generation. What activities lead to someone becoming a lead? What is the ratio of leads to customers?

To increase visits to your website, select ten website pages that are driving leads and update their content to be more comprehensive and thorough. Compare the number of visits, the search ranks, and the time-on-page to see if content changes affected these. Use the data to update your goals for the next month, quarter, or year.

CORNERSTONES TO MAKE YOUR CONTENT WORK

Make a content plan and stick with it for six months. A plan backed up by consistent approach gives you the best chance to see positive results of your content efforts. You can use the document to keep track of your long-term marketing initiatives and test your decisions.

Know your audience. Broad content brings you more visitors, but they are less likely to become customers. Keep content educational, not promotional.

Web copy is scanned. Or glanced at. Not read. Your web visitors are hunting for information or products. Will they find it easily at your website? Less is more: they as busy as you are.

Monitor marketing trends and take them into account when creating a content plan. 8 key marketing trends in 2017 according to HubSpot:

  1. Higher importance of testimonials
  2. More focus on user groups
  3. Interactive newsletters
  4. Advocate marketing
  5. Online customer community interaction
  6. Customer satisfaction systems
  7. Cross-sell/upsell campaigns
  8. Referral programs

Your marketing is only as good as your results.

Translation terms

Translation Terms

A short guide for translation buyers

A translation cookbook for those who are unaware of such subtleties and details. By “translation” we mean both the process and its result.

Key terms related to the work of linguists and translators are listed here with some useful links. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

The terms listed below are for general reference only. The list is being constantly updated with new terms and useful links. Feel free to add your ideas, remarks, terms or questions in the comments below or email me. The Russian version of the glossary can be found here.

Use Ctrl+F to search for specific terms.

ADAPTATION

Modifying the source text in order to produce the translation which conforms to the needs of a target language audience (pragmatic adaptation).

Marketing and media materials should be adapted if your purpose is to engage your audience and communicate your message.

Stylistic adaptation helps overcome cultural incompatibilities that stand in the way of communicating the meaning of the original. The translator takes into account stylistic preferences of the client, the target culture, and the tasks the translated text should fulfil.

See also Marketing translation.

AUTOMATED TRANSLATION

See Machine Translation.

BACK TRANSLATION

Translating a text that has already been translated into a foreign language back into the original language, preferably by an independent translator. Sometimes back translation can be used to observe conceptual and cultural correspondence and/or to compare original and translated texts (for example, in transcreation).

BRAND NAME EVALUATION

Analysis of brand names is used to assess a name or a tagline against social, sensory and/or legal criteria of a foreign market. Language and cultural differences may add an unexpected meaning to a well-intended name.

CHECKING (translation)

According to standard translation procedures, the person who translates checks the completed work for omissions, misprints, and errors (proofreads the text). The translator makes the necessary amendments to ensure that the meaning has been conveyed and service specifications are met. But even the best translator needs ‘the second pair of eyes’: an editor and/or a proofreader.

Numerous terms describing the checking process further complicate negotiation of the checking process between the translator and the translation buyer. Apparently, attention should be paid when discussing the checking and revision workflow.

The translation buyer should be clear about the final quality they expect and the services covered by the agreement: translation only (for further revision by in-house experts); translation and editing (the text ready for publication); translation, editing, and proofreading (the text ready for publication with final proofreading of the layout).

See also Editing, Proofreading, Post-Editing, Revision, Standards.

COMPETENCIES (of a translator)

A set of skills that makes it possible for a translator to achieve the most equivalent translation in relation to the original text.

ISO 17100:2015 defines the following professional competencies of translators:

– Translation competence. The ability to address the problems of language content comprehension and to render the target language content
– Linguistic and textual competence. The ability to understand the source and to apply this knowledge when producing translation
– Competence in research, information acquisition, and processing. The ability to efficiently acquire the additional linguistic and specialised knowledge
– Cultural competence. Ability to make use of information on the behavioural standards, up-to-date terminology, value systems, and locale for source and target language cultures
– Technical competence. The knowledge, abilities, and skills required to perform the technical tasks in the translation process
– Domain competence. The ability to understand content produced in the source language and to reproduce it in the target language using the appropriate style and terminology

COMPUTER-AIDED TRANSLATION

(Also computer-assisted translation, CAT) A form of translation in which a human translator uses computer software. (Not to be confused with automated machine translation.) CAT software is only a supplementary tool used to facilitate and support the translation process. CATs do not replace the translator but help them improve quality and efficiency by checking the consistency of terminology and style.

CAT software includes a comprehensive list of tools for:

– Spelling, grammar, formatting checks
– Terminology management
– Words and phrases lookup in databases and translation memory files
– Project management

See also Machine Translation, Translation Memory.

CONTENT CURATION (service)

The process of gathering and sorting information on the web relevant to a particular topic. The information is then arranged and translated if needed to present it in a meaningful way and publish online via corporate blogs, social media accounts, etc. Content curation services can be used both by businesses and end users.

COPYWRITING

Creating original written content for online or traditional printed media. Copies usually contain straightforward or hidden promotion and are used for persuasion in advertising as well as for raising brand awareness in marketing. Not to be confused with the copyright symbol ©.

CORPUS (monolingual)

A structured set of processed texts for checking occurrences or validating linguistic rules. 

Corpora examples:  

– National Russian Corpus: www.ruscorpora.ru
– Corpus of Contemporary American English: corpus.byu.edu/coca
– The British National Corpus: corpus.byu.edu/bnc 

Corpora are also used for creating collocations dictionaries: 

– Free Online Collocations Dictionary by ProWritingAidbit.ly/2EKXkDK 
– The English Collocations Dictionary Onlinewww.ozdic.com 

CORPUS (parallel)

An informational system for context search containing a collection of original electronic texts in two languages. Parallel corpora help to find the translation of words or phrases from Russian or into Russian (although no one guarantees you the accuracy). Some of the popular corpora:

– Linguee: linguee.ru
– Opus: opus.lingfil.uu.se
– Reverso: context.reverso.net
– Glosbe: glosbe.com
– MyMemory: mymemory.translated.net
– TAUS Data Cloud: data-app.taus.net

DESKTOP PUBLISHING (DTP, typesetting)

Creation of page layout from elements: translated and formatted text, headlines, tables, and images. Depending on the original document, DTP is usually carried out in page layout software such as Adobe InDesign or in other packages such as MS Word or PowerPoint. Translated text can expand by as much as 30%, so it is better to let the translator what final document is expected (exactly same layout, possibility to add pages, etc.)

EDITING

Revising and refining the translated text to make it match current language norms and rules as well as to ensure that it is suitable for the purpose.

The editor checks the accuracy and completeness of the translation, spelling, grammar, punctuation, terminology, register, style, and formatting.

Editing services in the source or target language not related with a translation include linguistic editing and specialist editing for technical or scientific texts.

See also Checking translation, Revision.

GLOSSARY (creation)

A list of specialised industry terms with definitions or explanations created for a customer or a project.

Glossaries can be used by both in-house and freelance translators to ensure terminology is used correctly and consistently.

INTERPRETATION

(Also interpreting, 1nt) Facilitating of oral communication between users of different languages.

The interpreter converts oral speech in a source language into oral speech in a target language either simultaneously, listening to the speaker and interpreting in real time, or consecutively when the speaker pauses after completing one or two sentences.

LITERAL TRANSLATION

(Also word-for-word translation). A translation that follows the form and the structure of the original text written in the source language.

As a result, the relationship between component parts of a sentence is lost, and the original meaning may become unintelligible.

LITERARY TRANSLATION

Translation of literary works: poetry, plays, novels, short stories, lyrics, etc.

Characteristics of the genre: an artistic image dominates in the text (means of emotional impact are primary, while information is secondary); stylistic nuances depend on who created the original piece, where and when. The purpose of literary translation is to decode and recreate artistic images and style being as equivalent as possible.

LOCALISATION

(Also L10n) Adaptation of a product, software, or document to language, culture and other demanding realities of a target market (locale).

Often: translation of UI, user guides, and additional software files from one language to another. In this case, localisation is a multi-level process requiring the collaboration of programmers, designers, and translators.

MACHINE TRANSLATION

(Also MT) Also automated translation. Translation of a text by specialised software, with no human involvement. MT systems provide different results for various languages performing sometimes better and sometimes worse.

Machine translation may be acceptable for certain tasks provided that creators of original texts stick to ‘primitivisation’ rules. Examples of MT applications include repeated sentences with a primitive structure, large volumes of not-so-important web content (user generated), etc.

See also Post editing.

MARKETING TRANSLATION (service)

Translation of promotional and advertising content: case studies, blog posts, brochures and media publications, newsletters, promo campaigns, etc. Marketing efforts are based on engagement and conveying the message. Obviously, the marketing translation should sound natural and persuasive, with the focus on the target audience and their current trends.

See also Adaptation, Transcreation.

NATIVE SPEAKER

A person who speaks a particular language as their mother tongue.

The native speaker:

  • Learned the language in their childhood
  • Is able to produce fluent, spontaneous discourse
  • Identifies with or is identified by a language community
  • Speaks without a foreign accent

ORIGINAL

A source text that is to be translated into another language.

POST-EDITING

Examination and correction of a machine-generated translation to achieve an acceptable result and ensure that it complies with the laws of grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.

PROOFREADING (translation)

(1) The final pre-publication revision of a text after it was translated and edited. Or (2) checking of proofs before publishing (EN 15308).

Proofreading involves only one text in the target language and is meant to:

  • Eliminate grammar, spelling, syntax and punctuation mistakes and typos
  • Ensure style, terminology, formatting consistency
  • Ensure proper formatting and compliance with publishing standards.

See also Checking translation, Revision.

PURCHASE ORDER (for translation)

A buyer-generated document that authorises a purchase transaction. A purchase order sets forth the descriptions, prices, payment terms, delivery dates, other associated terms and conditions, and identifies a specific service provider. If no prior contract exists, then it is the acceptance of the order by the service provider that forms a contract between the buyer and the service provider.

When preparing a purchase order for translation services, make sure the following options were discussed and agreed:

– Translation aim and purpose: subject area and the type of a text, target audience
– Translation requirements: source text volume (number of words / symbols / standard pages), target language including regional variation, delivery format
– Process steps included: translation, editing or revision, proofreading or all the mentioned options for publication ready quality
– Payment details including payment method and terms

Some optional elements of a translation purchase order can be found in the Template.

REFERENCE MATERIALS

Materials covering the subject area in question, both in source and target languages: glossaries, style guides, term bases, previous versions of source documents or similar translated documents (including translation memory files), website links.

More often than not, companies choose different terminology for their technical documents and for marketing and reference materials. If the translator is aware of such subtleties, it makes life a lot easier both for the translator and for the reviser/reviewer.

REVISION

1) Self-checking: the translator’s own review processes following the draft translation (e.g. proofreading, spellchecking, terminology verification, finding inaccuracies and inconsistencies).

2) According to EN 15308:

  • Examining a translation for its suitability for the agreed purpose
  • Comparing the source and target texts
  • Recommending corrective measures

EN 15308 introduced two terms: reviser and reviewer. The reviser, who works with two languages, examines a translation for its suitability for the agreed purpose, compares the source and target texts, and recommends corrective measures (or corrects the errors).

The reviewer, who has domain competence, carries out a monolingual review to assess the suitability of the final translation for the agreed purpose.

A whole bunch of tasks can be implied when referring to revision or reviewing depending on a real-life workflow, though, from assessing translation quality to correcting grammatical and stylistic errors.

See also Checking translation.

STANDARD PAGE

One standard page corresponds to approx. 1650 characters with spaces (30 lines x 55 characters) or approx. 210 words (30 x 7).

STANDARDS (in the translation industry)

Reference documents describing criteria, methods, processes, practices, and terms related to translation and translation services.

  • In May 2015, ISO 17000:2015 International Standard (Translation services – Requirements for translation services) was published. In fact, it replaced the European EN 15038 translation-services standard, which went into effect on August 1, 2006, and had no further updates.
  • ISO 12616:2002. Translation-oriented terminography
  • ISO 2384 2384:1977. Documentation – Presentation of translations
  • Programmes and plans for ISO standards covering translation, interpreting and related technology.
  • A complete list of international standards that can be considered applicable to the language industry at large is maintained by GALA.

A list of Russian standards, norms, and reference documents applicable to translation can be found in a publication by the Translation Union of Russia (in Russian).

STYLE GUIDE

A list of defined requirements that reflects the expectations and preferences of a translation customer. A style guide may include recommendations on term usage, preferable style and tone, non-translated words and phrases, etc. More on style guides here.

SUMMARY TRANSLATION

A concise and accurate translation of the text containing the essential content, main facts and figures, from 30% to 50% of the original text size.

An ideal variant for content curation and/or for situations where the turnaround time is very short. You can use summaries of newspaper articles, press releases, and other published materials for corporate blogs and news feeds.

TECHNICAL TRANSLATION (service)

Translation of texts which relate to scientific and technological areas: white papers, patents, technical guides, etc. Characteristics of the genre: information as the main aspect of the text (means of emotional impact are almost absent); the vocabulary with numerous terms, general scientific and technical phrases; highly formalised syntax.

Examples of technical translation fields include medicine, legal, banking and finance, IT, etc.

TRANSLATION TEST

One of the tools used to evaluate the translator’s skills. Depending on the agreement between the contractor and the translator, a test translation can be paid or free. In most cases, tests should not be longer than a few hundred words (100–300 words).

TRANSCREATION

(translation + creation) Creative adaptation of an original message, mainly for advertising and marketing materials—mass media publications, promo campaigns and advertising.

Transcreation is meant to recreate a text/message for a given target audience, while attempting to engage the audience in the same way the original text does. Transcreators successfully combine translation and copywriting skills.

TRANSCRIPTION (service)

Converting speech into a written or electronic text document.

Transcription can be combined with translation (after the text was transcribed or in real time).

TRANSLATION

(Also xl8) Conveying meaning or meanings of a text from one language to another as accurately and fully as possible.

For some useful facts about the translation for translation buyers, feel free to study a guide created by American Translators Association.

TRANSLATION MEMORY

(Also TM) A database file that stores previously made translations as segments, which can be sentences, paragraphs or sentence-like units.

TRANSLATION RATES

Prices for translation depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Source volume
  • Difficulty of the text
  • Formatting and file types (a PowerPoint presentation, a scanned PDF file, etc)
  • Delivery date
  • Special/additional requirements if any

URGENT TRANSLATION

A project that is meant to be done mainly during a weekend or requires the translation of more than 2000 words per day.

VOLUME (of translation)

One of the key factors defining the price tag for a translation project and turnaround time.

Translation is usually charged per word of source or target text, per line (25 lines per page) or per standard page (250 words). The standard page in Russia corresponds to 1,800 characters with spaces.

Microsoft Word automatically counts the number of words in your document and displays them on the status bar. If you don’t see the word count in the status bar, right-click the status bar and click Word Count. However, this option does not always provide 100% accurate result.

To get the accurate statistics for documents including non-Word formats, try FineCount (free version available) or request a project statistics report from the translator’s CAT tool.

translated collateral

Translation and Your Marketing Strategy

Haunted castles of translated collateral

The efficiency of traditional marketing has dropped dramatically. A very low response rate (less than 1%) is considered reasonable for certain marketing channels.

Customers bombarded by advertising have mastered the art of ignoring the noise while companies paying for media placement have accepted ad blindness as unavoidable.

Market players assure that they keep searching for customised ways to spread a word about their offerings and to increase brand awareness. They try to use a wide range of strategies to become closer to their consumers and to engage them. A quarter-inch hole instead of a quarter-inch drill, you know.

A couple of years ago Dell announced massive translation budget cuts. Now, the person responsible for the translation of corporate marketing collateral tells about ‘a polished global message that meets business objectives’. (A highly recommended reading for translators who are still under a delusion that globalised companies are interested in high-quality content or translations.)

If you take a look at Dell’s marketing materials translated into Russian, you’ll see that:

принтеры помогают предприятиям максимизировать эффективность работы и производительность

Could we call it the right balance of quality, velocity, and cost? Hardly. New translations may cost twice as less. Lacking engagement from the target audience, they are worth nothing. You could consider them worth reading only if it’s your job to read them (it would better be a well-paid job, too).

Such translated collateral could possibly enjoy certain interest and engagement: from a marketing team preparing praising reports on doing everything at scale. Or from professional forums where translators discuss the ways things should not be done.

Companies keep complaining that translation service providers do not care about their image ignoring their demands and requirements. Are they actually doing anything to protect their own brands? Do they take translation processes seriously?

They do have a bunch of pressing issues to take care of, from investments into a concept, to content curation, to legal attendance, to content printing / publication.

But the crucial stage is the one that either makes it or breaks it. The latter means time, costs, and efforts were wasted up the line. Does it really matter how much the company has invested in content, design, or printing if the translated collateral resembles a haunted castle? We see an impressive outline void of life or sense.

Too many translation industry players (or LSPs) are unable to turn words into their client’s positive image focusing at optimization and automation. They make their living not on quality and creativity but on sheer volumes.

Part of the Power that would always wish Good…

It looks like business marketing is in serious trouble. Here is a viewpoint with meaningful figures: 80% of executives think their companies deliver a superior experience for customers, only 8% of those customers agree with them.

Many insist that the time has come to be fascinating and interesting, clear and relevant. But nothing changes in press releases and collateral. It’s much easier to continue the usual marketing talk about value-added and industry transforming products than to offer real-world facts and figures.

Technology and product reviews work much better when you are eager to make a difference with your audience and to offer them relevant information. But for the majority of marketers, plain language and simplicity are terra incognita.

Dropping translation for good is not an option. After studying the most visited websites for 8 years, CSA Research concluded that companies offering materials in different languages are in general more successful than the ones that do not care about localisation.

If the company ignores marketing translation, customers might think that it cannot afford the process. Meanwhile, a bad translation emphasises problems with the copy, which is usually far from being perfect. Translators do know a trick or two to avoid that, but sometimes even an experienced translator won’t save the day.

Let’s see how to get translations that work for small and medium companies. We speak about the market players who are interested not in translating at scale, but in translating efficiently in order to make a good return on their marketing investments.

Light at the end of the press release?

What can you do to get high-quality translated collateral without stretching your marketing budget too much?

Set your priorities. Choose materials that are really important for translation or publication.

If the price for complete website localisation seems too high for you, make it a dozen of pages provided they are flawless. The localised variant should be ok with you, with online visitors, and with SEOs (which is not always the same thing).

If a user guide or a press release contains info about realities not relevant for the target country, skip the info or give an abridged variant.

Outline your goals. Good translations help to sell; bad translations have a negative effect on your sales.

When planning marketing budgets, considerable costs are assigned to design, copy, and placement. Too often, translations are overlooked or financed from leftovers.

The eye-pleasing ‘cover’ should contain the content worth of your local customer’s attention. Make sure your budgets make it possible.

Be closer to a real world. If the customer does not believe you, they would hardly buy anything from you. Do you consider it reasonable to invest in translation that does not resonate with your target audience?

The less your content feels like marketing talk, the more persuasive it is. Try translating product reviews, white papers, and case studies instead of marketing copies.

Facts and figures backed by trustworthy sources are your real world.

Adapt collaterals. You cannot translate a marketing copy ‘as is’. Marketing translations need a creative touch.

Ideally, the text is recreated for a given target audience. To serve marketing purposes, the translation needs to flow well and mean well in the target language. Not every English copy is a good fit for the Russian-speaking audience.

Create locally. Your dealers or distributors can create some marketing content locally instead of translating non-relevant news.

Geographically targeted news is more likely to trigger a positive reaction: local installations, case studies, market share growth, customer service news and updates, etc. Look for content, which adds value to your customers’ workflows.

Below you will find three key components for shaping out an efficient translation process.

1 Requirements and demands

For translations at scale, consider preparing your own style guide (take a look at a style guide the European Commission Directorate General for Translation uses) and/or a glossary.

Focus on requirements, issues, and terms relevant to your business or industry; avoid general advice. If you face the same errors and translation challenges regularly, be sure to add them to your style guide.

2 Targeted marketing

The choice of preferable language and style for your marketing copies depends on the target audience. A corporation addressing the market or one human talking to another? Industry-specific terms or descriptions that are clear to everyone?

To answer these questions, you need to identify your target audience: professionals, hobbyists, decision-makers, etc. The basic demographic variables for the marketing industry are age, education, sex, buying / customer preferences.

3 Linguists

Not every translator is able to cope with stylistic nuances and adaptation. Look for translators with experience in marketing and copywriting. Be realistic about in-house translations.

A translator specialising in marketing communications: a) knows a lot about your industry and your target audience; b) has excellent translation skills; c) has excelling copywriting skills.

When cooperating with a professional translator, you get a reliable partner. One project after another, “your translator” gets to learn more about your demands, your products, and your customers. The quality of translations you receive goes even higher affecting your marketing ROI positively.

Translator’s Dream Client

Translator’s Dream Client

Afterthoughts on a Facebook discussion

Depending on the target audience and current business plans, every freelancer has a unique picture of ‘the dream client’.

This post on translator’s dream clients was originally published in Russian following a discussion, which took place in a Facebook group.

Actually, it was an attempt to make a list of features and options a freelancing translator would be happy to see in current and potential customers.

Take it or leave it, if you like. Adapt and use to your best interest.

As differentiated as preferences can be, every freelancer is able to name at least some valuable attributes of potential clients. Ideally, this first stage should be followed by figuring out a more considered approach. But even many seasoned translators do not know what they are searching for. In fact, they would be glad to take any project if proposed.

You may say ‘the dream client’ concept sounds somewhat vague and artificial. But your own checklist can be really helpful in avoiding problem clients who turn out to be not cash but problem generators wasting your time and energy.

Unlike office-bound workers, the freelancer is able to choose people for potential cooperation (to a greater or lesser extent.)  A pool of good—and great—clients is a key to enjoying your everyday tasks, continuous professional development and mental health.

I divided into several categories all features and criteria of ‘the dream client’ mentioned during the discussion. It’s up to you to decide, which of them is of the utmost importance and which will be the last to consider.

FINANCE

  • Good rates. No numbers here as a hot discussion considering ‘reasonable’ and ‘trash’ rates is not our topic.
  • Special rates for rush jobs / overnight work / weekend projects, etc.
  • Regular and accurate payments. Mega bonus: you do not need to calculate and double check your output and invoices.
  • Flexible payment variants. At least several additional options added to a standard bank transfer.
  • Bank expenses covered by the client.

EFFICIENCY

  • Most projects cover one specialization area.
  • Originals ready for translation. ‘No’ to poorly scanned PDFs.
  • Convenient software for handling translations; no strange planning / management systems.
  • Official procedures reduced to a minimum: extra paperwork takes time, and time is money.
  • High quality glossaries if any offered.
  • Proper feedback based on the translation provided.

COMMUNICATIONS AND PR

  • The client has formulated reachable goals; translation priorities and tasks are articulated clearly.
  • Competent contact persons. (Nearly) the same team of project managers.
  • Proper support during the translation process: sample translations if any, clear instructions, reference materials, etc.
  • Emails as a default communication method. Phones are for emergency situations only.
  • Quick replies. Meaningful answers to your questions.
  • You name added to the published translation.

FLEXIBILITY

  • Regular predictable projects leaving you enough time for other clients.
  • Reasonable rates for most projects.
  • Possibility to discuss terms of your agreement.
  • Possibility to put off delivery date in some cases.
  • Possibility to reject a job from time to time.
  • Possibility to regulate your workload (often / less often; large / small projects)

Basically, these are the fundamentals to consider. Feel free to apply your own priorities and accents, add or leave out some points taking into account your preferences and goals. And off we go in search of our ‘dream translation client’.

* * *

If you need more points and ideas to draw your Red Carpet Client, try a great presentation of Marta Stelmaszak (Traduemprende translation conference in Madrid). ‘The Ideal Customer Avatar’ section starts from 56:00.

hiring a marketing translator

Hiring a Marketing Translator

Most important points

Prices

No size fits all when it comes to marketing communications and translations. Each project is unique. Sometimes, straight translation is your best choice. Certain tasks require transcreation and adaptation. Even copywriting may come in handy.

The first step is to be clear on what we’re dealing with. Is your project highly technical or creative? Is it general info, a marketing brochure, or a web copy?

My fees start at 80 Euro per 1000 words. But if you ask for a price offer without sending your project for estimation, the final figure may appear to be higher. Moreover, some jobs are charged by hour (not less than X hours and no more than Y) or by complete project.

To get a final cost breakdown, the translator needs to have a look at the document to:

  • See if the subject suits his or her expertise
  • Count total words
  • Consider file format and software needed
  • Consider delivery time
  • Consider special requirements (if any)

All documents will be treated as confidential, even if you choose another service provider.

Deadlines

No freelancer signs on a project without a deadline. Sometimes, translators can set their own deadlines. Other times the work is time sensitive, so the deadline is set by the client. But be realistic. How long did it take to produce the original?

On average, I translate from 1.500 to 2.500 words per day. A technically challenging text may take additional time, if some background research is required. Projects with special formatting including presentations take longer, too.

If your project is broken up into phases, a deadline is assigned to each phase. In case the scope of work changes, the deadline is also subject to change, and vice versa.

I will do my best to meet your needs, but I believe that rush negatively affects quality of work. I don’t like compromising on quality, so the minimum deadline is 24 hours.

Get involved

If you are ready to spend some time and prepare reference materials, chances are high that you will get exactly what you need. Previously created or localized brochures on the same subject, style guides and glossaries, product photos are more than welcome.

To choose appropriate vocabulary and text style, the translator needs to know as much as possible about the context: what the document is, who created it, what are the purposes and the audience. You need different writing styles to make web site content, catalogue descriptions, or media publications work effectively.

In case you cannot offer any background information or reference materials, that’s not a problem. I have years of experience in my specialisations backed by strong research skills. Any vague terminology will be discussed with you to find best possible solutions.

Single Point of Contact

A lifesaver both for the translator and the client. Limiting project communication to one person, whether you are a soloprenuer or a manager in a big firm, you avoid confusion and double work, save time and energy for all parties involved.

An inquisitive translator is actually good for your project. Some technical details can only be cleared by an in-house expert. May be your company uses different terminology for its in-house technical documentation as opposed to marketing materials? Then we’d better discuss your preferences with a person in charge of translation project.

Ideally, the result is examined by a single well educated person, native in a target language and familiar to your business and technologies. If you plan to have several reviewers, they’d better have clear criteria for correcting ‘mistakes.’ Too often, drawbacks and errors in a final translated version appear after reviews on the client’s side.

Editing & Proofreading

By default, the translator performs a basic check for consistent layout, typos and grammatical errors. If you plan to receive a document ready for publication—printing or upload— be sure to inform the translator. In that case you need an editing service.

Editing includes correction of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and sentence structure errors, checking the text layout as well as graph/table/image layout, and checking for style and pitch. In publishing, it’s typically understood that a document after editing still needs to be proofread. The proofreader reviews spelling and punctuation errors, looks for typos.

For editing and proofreading I charge per hour: fees start at 20€ per hour. If you’re still not sure whether you need an editing or proofreading service, just contact me for a consultation.

Payment & Invoicing

Currently I am based in Kyiv but I deal with customers from all over the world accepting payment via Paypal, Payoneer, Moneybookers, bank transfers, or cheques. Quotes in EUR and USD. A payment schedule and a grace period depend on the project and are discussed individually.

A project order

After the above mentioned points have been clarified, a project order is issued (a legal offer to buy translation services).

A project order includes:

  • Outsourcer’s and service provider’s details
  • The name of the file(s) included in the project
  • Source and target languages
  • Project volume: characters / words / lines / pages or hours devoted to the service
  • Original source file format and project delivery / target format
  • Delivery deadline: date and time (including time zone)
  • Software required (if any)
  • Rate: per source or target character / word / line / page or per hour
  • Rate total and currency
  • Primary payment method
  • Payment deadline: the date and time limit for the outsourcer’s payment
  • Further terms and conditions for the project and the business relationship (e.g. non-disclosure agreement)
  • Additional information / requirements: useful URL(s), formatting guidelines, etc.

Services agreement

American Translators Association offers a sample of Translation Services Agreement with a comprehensive outline of contract clauses, terms, and conditions; includes compensation and payment, delivery, quality assurance, ownership of translation, confidentiality, non-inducement/non-solicitation, indemnification, dispute resolution.

translation agency or a freelance translator

Provider vs Freelancer

A translation agency or a freelance translator? Finding your match.

For companies in search of translation, the market supports numerous variants, from freelance experts to small boutique type translation agencies, to multinational language service providers.

Some companies prefer in-house translators, which is another viable choice.

The good news is there is enough room in the translation industry for all of them. From freelancers who had left their office careers to work less to LSPs operating millions of words in dozens of languages. If positioning their services correctly, all of them feel more or less comfortable.

But what is the right variant for a client? The differences between freelancers and agencies are significant, but the answer depends on your needs. Still there’s no clear-cut approach.

When searching for a service partner for today and tomorrow, how to choose between a tranlsation agency or a freelance translator? Being aware of their capabilities and limitations, you are much more likely to make a good investment into the long-term mutually beneficial relationship. I’m going to ignore the hobbyists in this discussion. When I say ‘freelancer,’ I mean the pros who do this stuff day in and day out.

AGENCY: ADVANTAGES

Availability

An agency is ready to take virtually every project claiming to follow established procedures under a clear chain of command. Apart from higher overhead, it also means on-demand availability and broader choice of services (see the next point).

Services

When dealing with larger projects, agencies are better equipped to meet varying client needs and tough technical requirements. Usually, they offer a variety of translation/localization/asset management and other services.

Turnaround

Most agencies have an impressive translator base. An agency is geared to assemble a team and meet the most challenging deadlines for your translation project. It will also arrange text standardization and reviewing if needed.

AGENCY: DISADVANTAGES

Price Tag

In general, translation agencies are viewed as expensive, especially in comparison to language students willing to do the same job for 1/10 of the cost. Like any business, they have overhead costs to cover and will typically have several specialists involved on one project. But higher prices do not necessarily mean they work with well paid, experienced translators.

Reliability

When asking for a full-package multilingual service, you have to control the qualifications of the person who will actually do the job. Too many agencies accept any translation project willingly and worry about finding a suitable translator later. In that case, you cannot control their hiring decisions. Moreover, an agency can’t guarantee the same translator for your project each time.

Communication

The hiring process for freelancers may only consist of a few emails back and forth. If you need a project done by tomorrow, it may be your best bet. Larger agencies have complex communication processes and structures, making everything slower.

YOU DEFINITELY NEED AN AGENCY IF…

Companies hire agencies because they are perceived as having almost superpowers. And they do have some:

  • Dealing with high-volume projects and/or challenging deadlines.
  • Offering all-in-one service packages to manage all your language-oriented tasks.
  • Being able to manage of all the aspects of marketing communications.
  • Choosing most suitable translators for clients who don’t know the target language of their translation job.
  • Providing additional services like desktop publishing, video subtitling, web editing, audio recording, etc.

While not being immediate experts of your product, agencies may even have the tools and drive to dig deeper than your staff employees.

FREELANCER: ADVANTAGES

Expertise

Most seasoned freelancers are passionate at what they do, so they take on projects only if they are qualified enough to provide the necessary result. Freelancers may also be an option if you need to find an expert in your specific niche. Be prepared to spend some time finding that person, though.

Transparency

No extra layers to be found between the end client and the translator. You hire a freelancer you liked and tested; you get the job done by that freelancer. One point of contact ensures direct and quick communication: you work more closely with the linguist, allowing the project to move along faster. And you can be sure that your documents remain highly confidential.

Price Tag

Freelancers may be the best option for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs if cost is among key factors. Why not pay a translator directly for outstanding work and cut out the overhead ending up with cheaper services? Thanks to lower overhead, you’ll be offered lower prices, although rates can vary greatly.

FREELANCER: DISADVANTAGES

Experience

Professionals tend to specialise in a couple of areas. It can be difficult to find one freelancer to meet all of your translation needs: legal, finance, marketing, localization, user guides, etc. Very few have all the skills (or teams) for large-volume complex projects involving translation and editing in multiple languages.

Turnaround

Many freelancers have a busy schedule and don’t work with subcontractors. If you have a looming deadline, most freelance translators will politely decline without being able to schedule days in advance.

Reliability

Use freelance job sites with caution: you may end with the jack of all trades. Dedicated websites are preferable. And don’t be tempted to choose a service provider just by their price tag. Young freelancers get work by offering low prices with little to no experience.

YOU’LL ENJOY WORKING WITH A FREELANCER IF…

With all the pros and cons, there are certain projects and situations where a freelance translator is a better fit than an agency.

  • I have a tough budget for localising new brochures for my company.
    If you know your absolute limit, your best bet is seeking out a freelance translator and planning on giving him or her as much background and context as possible.
  • We have a conference coming up and need extra translation help.
    Call up that freelancer your buddy always recommends.
  • It’s Tuesday, and I need this translated by Friday.
    Tough situation. You might try calling a freelancer to check their availability.
  • I have most of the marketing materials ready; I just need someone to flesh out the rest.
    Try a freelancer.
  • I need materials to be translated and published online regularly.
    Find a freelancer with expertise in your sphere.

Freelancers are known for their flexibility. When hired wisely and not only based on initial cost, freelancers can be a great add-on to the in-house team. If you require ongoing translation services, your savings and benefits build over time. You get a reliable contact who knows your needs and demands, your style and preferred terminology.

In any case, the first step to choosing between an agency or a freelancer is to define your project. Start with making a list of translation jobs and tasks of your organization. Local start-ups have very different needs from large enterprises. By defining your needs, it will be easier to communicate with a prospective translator (whether they are an agency, boutique firm or freelancer).

language of marketing materials

Writing Plain is Worth it

Some points about the language of marketing materials

Getting bored with the repeated marketing nonsense when looking through similar press releases and marketing copies? Try the all-new Marketing Bullshit Bingo by translatorsanonymous.

I guess you know the principle. Whenever you see one of the buzzwords on your table, check it off and call out “Bingo!”

As soon as you have a row of five in any direction, you can stand up and shout “BULLSHIT!!!” The work involved in creating the text in front of you (including yours if you are in the supply chain) is pretty much a waste of time.

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If this Bingo version does not blind you, feel free to make your own ‘industry-specific’ variant.

You can use:

  • advanced
  • high-performance
  • full-featured
  • scalable
  • integrated
  • optimize
  • leading edge

Please do not forget to include:

  • productivity
  • enable
  • robust
  • leverage

And be sure to add ‘innovative’ and ‘original’. Most companies and most products claim to be innovative. I guess most are not.

Translating the same ready-made phrases again and again, I keep wondering why they do it. Why are they investing in rubbish wasting money for writing, translation, publication, analyzing feedback (if any)?

2

They speak about the increasing popularity of plain language and clear writing. But nothing changes in the language of marketing materials and press releases. It is much easier to offer a new piece of ‘value-added’ and ‘industry transforming’ stuff instead of presenting facts and being specific.

Building a connection with your prospects is far better than simply offering them the information. But can we speak about a connection if the company handles its press releases as disposable messages targeted only at media editors? There is a strong need to understand how your materials can be meaningful and helpful to your target audience.

Steve Jobs once said: “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Killing buzzwords forces you to speak human-to-human, to be simple in a fresh way and to become more flexible. All bad marketing copies are alike. Every good marketing copy is good in its own way. If you seek to be heard, you should think out of the box.

3

If your marketing materials aren’t translated, international markets assume that your company cannot afford it. But when translated, buzzwords become even more hollow and meaningless. Translators do have a couple of tricks to avoid it, but in some cases even creative translation is helpless.

We lose trust from our readers when we use the same clichès and jargon again and again. These words are too general and vague to create a feeling of something worthy. And your local dealers are perfectly aware of the fact.

The Russian written language is sensitive to repetitions and clichés. You need a very experienced translator to transcreate buzzwords into something more meaningful for your target audience. If not, too much of the work is pointless.

The audience does not read buzzwords. They are being scanned and ignored. And if the company’s marketing copy is buzzwords all along, you can be sure it will be ignored, too. Even a perfect translator won’t help. Garbage in, garbage out.

From press releases and brochures to open days and exhibition booths, be more flexible and talk to your customers instead of announcing ‘innovations’ with ‘enhanced interoperability’. Stop recycling the same phrases and ideas. Especially if you are trying to grow your presence in countries with languages other than English.

5 golden rules of marketing translations

Marketing Translations Guide

5 Golden Rules

Marketing texts are all about engagement.

You put together thoughtful sentences and catchy phrases to invoke positive feelings of your readers. You try to create music from words, technical texts in rhyme.

But the result of your efforts might vanish after your materials have been translated for international markets. Words mean little if the message behind them is lost in translation.

Many consumers associate quality of high-tech products and services with the quality of the company’s marketing materials—brochures, product presentations, press releases, websites.

Translation quality is an important decision if you want to capitalize on the rapidly growing Russian-speaking markets.

1. Don’t rely on free/cheap resources

Translation costs are a fraction of investments required for entering a new market or a new industry segment. You may think that you will be saving money, but you will lose in the end.

How much attention do you pay to your marketing strategy? How much do you invest in producing marketing materials? The translation may add to your marketing efforts or ruin them.

If you really want to be effective, you need to follow a content strategy in order to get the results you are looking for. And your most important, mission-critical content is to be handled by professional translators.

2. Stay away from ‘casual’ translations

Half-hearted efforts will waste your money. Moreover, the result can turn offensive for your target audience. A badly translated or confusing copy in an inexpressive language means a possibility of a subconscious negative impulse associated with your company.

Marketing translations require adapting a message to another language while maintaining its style and tone. When compared to usual straight translations, they are much closer to the so-called ‘transcreation’ and sometimes even to copywriting.

Marketing materials are to be recreated for a given target audience instead of just translating existing content. The main task of translation here is to fulfill marketing objectives.

3. Find an expert

Much depends on who owns the marketing budget. If the marketing budget is owned by a local subsidiary, the translation will probably happen locally.

In any case, you need to put the right partner on your side who will help to reach and engage your target audience. And they will bring you a much higher return on your investment.

When speaking about marketing materials for technical companies, the need for niche experts becomes obvious. Every segment of marketing communications has its own nuances. ‘The one size fits all’ concept is outdated.

Your translator / translating company should be familiar with industry-specific terms, concepts, trends. High-quality translation is the second clear criterion.

4. Be open to adapt

The main task of marketing translation is to get the message across by engaging the reader. And sometimes, it means the original should be translated freely.

Russian-speaking readers of technical marketing texts can boast immunity to clichés and buzzwords. You cannot expect a translator to use the usual straight approach when translating words like advanced, value, leverage, optimize, integrated, smart, enjoy, manage, etc.

Don’t look for missing words when evaluating a marketing translation. Look for missing ideas and messages.

If you are committed to a content strategy meaning credible, trustworthy, transparent content that enhances the organization’s strategic goals, you should be open to embrace and adapt.

5. Engage your local offices or dealers

Please do not forget that it is your local office that will work with localized marketing materials. A proper in-country review definitely adds value by refining industry-specific terms and notions. Especially, when we are talking about B2B products and technologies.

An ideal person for an independent evaluation is not ‘a university lecturer’ or ‘a highly skilled linguist’. Rather it should be a reviewer who is knowledgeable about your product and marketing, understands both the source and target language, has the time and desire to contribute to a positive outcome.

Sounds next to impossible, I know. But delivering a perfect marketing translation has always been a challenging quest. And a rewarding one.