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Testing the water with Translations of my website

     
5:45 pm on Oct 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I've wanted to translate my entire site into various languages for ages but the huge cost has put me off doing so for years. My website makes money but is a long way from being able to risk large sums. However, I have a potentially very lucrative private label agreement already set up with an Asian social network and I want to further expand on it with some solid growth in my Asian language traffic...

For a while, I thought about doing some machine translations to test the water, with the logic that it was only a test and no real harm could come from toying... but I never did it. I now have the idea that maybe I should just translante a specific section of my site as a test, maybe even just a few pages of a section, just to see if they generate any significant traffic.

I've come to the conclusion that the best way to SEO those foreign language pages would be to invest in the appropriate TLD for that language/country... for example, the Japanese translation would go under www.example.co.jp or www.example.jp...

If I went down that route, what do you think the minimum number of pages would be that I could translate as a test? What would be the best way to interlink the English pages, already in place and well indexed, with the Asian language pages on their own TLD?...

6:05 am on Oct 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I thought about doing some machine translations to test the water

  1. Don't even bother with the machine translation option. It works terribly with Asian languages.

> SEO

You're on the right track there with the ccTLD option. That has the best results for me.

> minimum number of pages would be that I could translate as a test?

That's hard to say. You'd probably want enough for a landing page, some info pages, and then enough to get the user through your shopping cart.

What would be the best way to interlink the English pages, already in place and well indexed, with the Asian language pages on their own TLD?

Why not just link the pages directly to their translated page? You won't have any duplicate content issues at all with different languages.
5:51 pm on Oct 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks bill...

I wonder, wouldn't interlinking between multiple country domains under the same ownership be a black hat train wreck?

7:36 pm on Oct 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I've just thought of another question. Would I be prudent to use Japanese script in the actual filename. For example...

ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC

Obviously it doesn't display properly here but my server is fully set up for UTF-8, as is my website. What are the issues here (I'm really starting from scratch here). I ask because one of my forum pages has a Thai script filename and Google webmastertools says it's not being indexed due to a redirect error. Is this likely to be the case with static pages?

8:37 pm on Oct 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I would stick to alphanumeric characters. Your server may be setup correctly now, but what if you need to change your hosting provider or otherwise move to a different server?
4:17 am on Oct 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

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wouldn't interlinking between multiple country domains under the same ownership be a black hat train wreck?

Black hat? You're linking to different language versions of your site. That's not black hat at all, and nothing to be concerned about.

Would I be prudent to use Japanese script in the actual filename.

Like LifeinAsia, I stick to alphanumeric characters in my file & folder names as well. Local file names are still problematic for many systems. For example, many Japanese mobile phones cannot input Japanese into the address bar of their internal browsers. Things like that show me to stay away from those naming conventions if you're concerned about the widest possible accessibility.

[edited by: bill at 6:46 am (utc) on Oct. 14, 2009]

6:44 am on Oct 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Interesting comments, and food for thought... Thanks.