If you’ve ever searched Google and ended up on a website where you didn’t speak the language, it’s likely that you moved on to the next search result. Or perhaps you used Google’s translation tool to try and understand it, but found it didn’t deliver the quality content you were looking for.
Now imagine that a foreign visitor lands on your WordPress site and is faced with the same dilemma. Your design is excellent, you’ve got high-value content, and you’ve worked hard for your rankings. But your visitor doesn’t know that, because they can’t read a word of it. Why? Because you haven’t translated the content. The internet has been quietly globalizing for years. Thus, if you want to increase your traffic rapidly, translation services can help you do just that.
Why You Should Translate Your WordPress Site
There are some surprising statistics about worldwide internet usage. For example, did you know that the English language is in the minority for internet usage across the world? China has more users than any other country, with almost one billion citizens accessing the web. India takes the second spot, with about 465 million. The US is in third place, with approximately 312 million web users. The remainder of the planet’s internet users number close to 4 trillion, and only 20 percent of them speak English. If you’re not professionally translating your WordPress site into different languages to capture this traffic, you’re missing out on a massive piece of the pie.
When you translate and optimize your content for different languages, you have the potential to see a significant increase in visitors and start getting queries from all over the world. Seeing your traffic go up by even a small percentage is excellent, but the new global economy offers you the opportunity to increase your traffic substantially, and that’s pretty exciting.
Which Language Should You Translate To First?
The question of which language to translate your WordPress site to first deserves careful thought. Firstly, you need to determine where your traffic is coming from right now. Google Analytics can give you a basic idea, but this type of research is a pretty big undertaking. Enlisting the help of a translation agency with staff who understand how to prepare your site for an international audience is crucial to creating a sound plan. Depending upon the target audience, you may need to recreate your entire WordPress site in the language of these new readers. Alternatively, it may be possible to tweak the copy to fit your new target market.
Translating a website goes beyond merely substituting one language for another. There are many considerations that translators have to account for, such as:
- Which content management system will be used
- Translating domains and subdomains, as well as URL extensions and subfolders
- Choosing the right hosting for the new site
If you are planning to build your website in more than one language, a translation company will help you formulate a comprehensive plan. In some situations, it makes sense to translate your site into several languages at once, as opposed to just one at a time.
How Do You Implement SEO When You Translate Your WordPress Site Into A New Language?
There are no tools currently in use that can completely automate the process of translation. Google Translate and other plugins can help, but you should never rely on them for creating a respectable website in another language. Professional translators have a high degree of knowledge in not only the language, but the local culture and dialect. They also know what is and is not appropriate for your international audience. There are many examples of companies who have suffered embarrassing mistakes because they did not utilize a translation or localization expert to help them cater to a specific region and language.
Just like you want your English site optimized for the best possible results, you will want to do the same for each language you publish it in. Keywords vary all over the world, and Google is not the only search engine. Baidu, for example, is the most popular search engine in China, and it works quite differently to Google. Unless you are a Baidu expert and you know how to optimize your site for this search engine, you’ll need to put a lot of time and study into how to make it work for you. Luckily, some translators are also SEO experts and can ensure that your site gains the exposure and results you are looking for.
Is translating your WordPress site into other languages in your best interest? If you want to leverage the 80 percent of internet users who don’t speak English, it certainly is. If they can’t read your content, they will look elsewhere. As the global marketplace grows, it’s vital to make sure you can cater to customers in other countries to increase both your traffic and your revenue.
Louise Taylor works as head of content at Tomedes, a translation company that serves clients around the world, covering over 90 languages. She holds qualifications in Latin, French, German and Spanish, and has a working knowledge of Portuguese.