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Since we also provide search engine optimized translation as part of our services, we have native translators of various languages either in the office or as outsourcers. For more extensive global SEM campaign, however, we tend to collaborate with local SEM companies who are familiar with the local market of the client's products and services for obvious reasons. Good luck!
I always get translations done by a native speaker of the language, and then have the content copy-written by a native copywriter. Simple translation doesn't always suffice. A translator is not often a good copywriter either. You want your content to appeal to the local market, so you can't assume the the marketing-speak in your country will actually appeal to people in other countries when directly translated. Of course there are some elements that will carry over, but unless you're fluently bi-cultural, let a local professional help you.
I run a translation agency in Canada and have a very detailed report available on the latest machine translation development. If you or anyone else is interested, send me a sticky and I will email it to you. In general, machine translation is only good for gisting large quantities of information or used in a controlled language environment.
Bill, I am curious on how you go about finding a local content writer. Do you have a good web resource for that? Thanks in advance.
[edited by: bill at 2:09 am (utc) on Sep. 25, 2004]
[edit reason] TOS #13 [/edit]
For SEO and promotion purposes it's easy enough to get by using automatic translation so long as your original site translation also included a set of keywords and several different sized (and prioritised) descriptions.