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Translation for European languages

Do I need to contact someone from the respective countries?

3:13 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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After following the discussions here, I am thinking of getting the translation done for one of my site in major European languages from a professional instead of using any online tool.

However, what I would like to know is - do I need to contact someone in Germany for getting the translation done in German language or can I get it done here in my country? Is there any difference in the quality of translation if I get it done here?

The reason of getting it done locally is that the translation charges here in India are quite less compared to the ones if I get it done from Germany directly.

Also, what are the various ways to verify the quality of translations you get done from professionals?

Would like to have members opinions regarding this issue.

6:45 pm on Oct 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I am not a native speaker so I would never go into SEO for an english market on my own. If I was in your situation I would contact a german SEO/translator for the german market, just a personal advice.

[edited by: heini at 7:27 pm (utc) on Oct. 23, 2002]

9:50 pm on Oct 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Thanks very much to everyone who has responded via posts and stickymail. All your inputs and suggestions are truly appreciated.

If someone could also let me know the industry standard rates for various languages via stick email, it would be great help. I have searched on the web and found various rates depending on per page and per word basis but am not sure what are the industry norms and which is better - per page or per word.

Thanks in advance.

9:53 pm on Oct 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

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bird :
You always want the translation done by someone who is a native in the respective target language. For technical documents that may not be quite as critical

I was under the impression that technical documents might be more difficult and requires more specific work.

Eric_Jarvis :
Check your sticky.

9:59 pm on Oct 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Also, one question from all who have recommended local SEO - I am not able to understand clearly, how can a local SEO be able to translate better than a native translator. I guess all SEO's are not good in both the source and the target languages - aren't they going to hire a translator again? And as far as keywords are concerned, won't a good translator be able to do that too? But I agree that local SEO can help with directory submissions etc.
11:37 pm on Oct 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

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People referring to local SEOs were actually talking about SEOs local in the target language/country.

So what's the deal with SEO and translation?

For clarification lets start from the basics of web promotion: communcation. Communicating with other people.
How does this communication happen? It's about words, 90% words, plus some pictures, colours and sounds.

When you start to publish and promote a web site, you have two main elements to take care of: the code, which makes sure your web pages can be displayed and viewed by all browsers and visitors.
The second element is the text you want people to read.
In the text lies the very reason why you want to put up the site anyway.
What words to choose? How to phrase what you want people to know, how to convince them to buy a product, how to describe a service you are offering?
If you have writing skills you know how to achieve that in your language and culture.

Now you have a carefully worded web site but - nobody visits it. Your aim to communicate is missed. Why?

Because people interested in your content use different phrases to search for what you offer. At this point you realize your content must meet the communicational behaviour of the people you want to talk to. You go hunting for what words exactly those people interested in your content might use to find it.
Only if you have those parts figured out, when you're in perfect communicational sync with your target audience you might start to optimise for search engines.
If you do not have this lined up SEO will bring you in front the of the wrong eyeballs, or gets you perfect rankings for phrases nobody actually uses.

In short: publishing and promoting a website is all about words.

Now: translations. You want to target an audience from another language and another culture.
What you need to achieve is the exact same sync with how those people communicate with you and what you offer as you have achieved in your own language.
What kind of language do they use to talk about the subject you are dealing with? How would you address them? What is appealing, what's appalling to them?
What kind of words would they use searching for your content?
You will have to identify the right tone, the right level, the right cultural conventions. Most importantly you will have to identify the right words and phrases people would use to find you.

And then you have to implement those words and phrases in your text, your headers, your titles and links. You will have to write your visible and your invisible content anew. You know your topic, you have your messages all lined up, but you need to create new web pages out of it and a new general promotional theme.

A translated web page must not only read like it was written in the target language, it *is* written in the target language. And that goes for the visible text, for the invisible text, for certain code elements and extends to the destilled text snippets used for descriptions in directories, links and other promotional formats.

Thus website translation fundamentally is web promotion. It's not just the basis of SEO. Done consequently it is SEO/SEM.

You might think about seperating the tasks. Let a native translator do a text translation, let a SEO identify a list of key-phrases and words, let a web savvy copywriter go over the text and implement the keywords, put them in the code yourself, let the SEO again do submissions and linking campaigns....

A much more effective solution would be to bundle those tasks, making it an organic process.

But never trust a conventional text translator to get the job of web site translation right. Excellent as he may be, he does only half the job at best.


8:59 am on Oct 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

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A much more effective solution would be to bundle those tasks, making it an organic process.

This sums it up excellent Heini! Your line of reasoning is in my opinion right to the very core of what SEO is all about. Very well presented!

11:26 am on Oct 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Thanks very much, heini and everyone else. You have helped clearing lot of my doubts.


3:10 pm on Nov 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I run a translation/localization company, we work mostly into European languages (Cyrillic too) and I was following this thread with interest. Let me tell you a few things from the localizer’s point of view.

First there is a difference between a translation and localization. Translation is simply putting text into another language, localization includes matters as colors, images etc. which are used in the site to be brought into an appropriate form for the target country/market.

For the selection of a translator we, and any reputable agency for this case, use only native speakers, preferably living in a country where the language is spoken. We use a second native speaker to proofread the translations; this one has to live in the country for which the translation is made.
When translators are hired, they get a test to translate for each subject area they claim to specialize in. 1 or 2 other proofreaders evaluate these tests and the translators receive projects according to the results of the tests.

For the pricing, this varies depending on source and target language, word count, deadlines, subject matter, etc.

How the project is done depends on the specific case and the agreement, so it can be e.g. the customer supplies all the text in a word document and gets back the translations in the same form (fine for static websites in html) or, in another case, the whole website is sent and the translation takes place in the files and the returned files are ready to upload. We sometimes also upload the files directly to the servers and normally, after the files being uploaded (either by us or the customer) we do a QA on the finished product to assure everything is translated in the right way and if the files in a foreign language were assembled by a customer, if the text is placed right.

Since we are a localization company we go a step further from the bare translations, we produce the whole localized version of the website.

So, the procedure for a project would be: the customer approaches us with his requirements and we make an assessment of the website and it’s readiness for localization and give the customer a proposal with mostly a modular approach, so it is up to him to decide which parts of the work he wants to outsource to us and the parts he wants to do in-house. This concerns mainly graphic work for buttons, banners etc. This proposal includes besides pricing as well a schedule for the work to be done, scope of project etc.

The advantages of outsourcing all the steps in the localization process are several as in any outsourcing process, and the ROI on localized versions of a website definitely rectifies the cost of doing it.

I hope this post contains some useful information for you and I will be glad to answer further questions on this topic.

[edited by: heini at 3:26 pm (utc) on Nov. 2, 2002]
[edit reason] sigs go into the profile / thanks! [/edit]

3:42 pm on Nov 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Hi kaleksic, welcome to WebmasterWorld.

Thanks for posting. I totally agree translation and localization are two different beasts but similar in nature.

4:35 pm on Nov 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Welcome kaleksic :)

Heini - If ever I need to translate into english, may I call you? ;)

tbear - Londoner born and bred albeit living in Espaa

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