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Should I Translate My Blog? [+5 Types of Business That Should]

By Maeva Cifuentes

Photo from Unsplash by Christin Hume

If your customer base is spread out across the globe, you probably have your website copy translated into their languages. Apart from the occasional updates, most of your homepage and about me copy stays static. On the other hand, as a part of your content marketing strategy, your blog is anything but.

Most businesses with an active content strategy update their blog weekly or bi-monthly. When websites with blogs are 434% more likely to rank on search engines than those without one, and businesses that use blogging get 67% more leads than those that don’t, non-bloggers are missing out on a ton of leads and profit.

That said, even the brands that do value content may not really know how to approach it when their website is multilingual. If your clients are coming to learn about your niche, and the blog is in a language they can’t understand, they’ll most likely leave your page. You’ve lost that lead for life.

If you’re reading this, you most likely have:

  • Already invested in a content strategy or at least a content writer
  • Analyzed where your traffic is coming from and found that it is from countries that don’t speak your website’s language
  • Understand the value of blogging for business
  • Debated the value and ROI of translating your blog

We’ve been there. Content is expensive, and adding an extra budget line for professional translation feels painful. Even if you’re writing the content yourself (go you!), regular translation of your posts is a hefty investment. I’ll explain to you why it’s worth it.

If you’ve got a multilingual audience (or if you want one) and you aren’t translating your blog, you’re missing out on a potential 47% more traffic to your website.

You probably don’t need to translate your blog if:

  • You don’t see the value in a content strategy
  • The rest of your website isn’t translated
  • You can only afford machine translation (Google Translate, etc.)
  • You don’t have any traffic from other countries
  • You don’t plan to expand your business internationally
  • Your business is limited to your location (and there’s only one language spoken there)
  • You don’t need to educate your customers about your product or service

Translating your blog is a good idea if:

  • Your competitors have content in several languages
  • Your website is already multilingual
  • You have traffic from other countries and a high bounce rate
  • You understand the value of a quality, data-driven content strategy
  • You’re willing to implement a long-term, high-return strategy

So, you’ve figured out you do want your blog translated. How do you go about it?

If you’re going to use a translation plug-in or machine translation (MT), you’re better off not translating your blog. In the era of content overload (a lot being high quality content), machine-translated blog content fares poorly. Not only does MT mess up the format and is just plain ugly most of the time, it also does not translate your key words right and will mess up your CTA (call-to-action).

A whole new keyword research should be performed in the target language, and whoever is translating it needs to understand SEO and blogging strategies on top of the nuances of your target language and the terminology specific to your sector.

Perhaps the crucial aspect of the quality of your translated blog is best captured in examples from niche industries.

If you work in startups, for instance, you’ll know that many terms in the startup sector stay in English. We don’t know why, but French and Spanish entrepreneurs seem to be too lazy to come up with translations for some of their sector’s vernacular. Or if you’re a law firm with a blog on legal issues, you’ll need a translator that understands the legal system of the target region (noting that legal terminology differs even between same-language countries), you’ll need a translator that understands legal language AND content strategies (if that’s what you need, pleased to meet you!).

It’s tricky to understand these nuances. If you’re going to invest in a blog, you’ll do best to find a language provider that understands your content strategy, sector and your brand. They aren’t just translating the words.

Just like for your monolingual blog, headlines are a major concern for your translated content. Your translator should provide a few different options for a title, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be the same as the title in the original language. Your meta descriptions and tags need to be translated and optimized for the new language as well.

If you really do understand the value of blogging for business (which is significant, if done right), then investing in your multilingual blog is the right choice for you. Your translator should be as involved in your content strategy as your original content writer.

You’ll get out of your multilingual blog strategy what you put into it.

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