If you manage corporate communications for an international company, you understand the benefit of maintaining a corporate blog: increased e-reputation, more traffic to your website, promoting your expertise to new customers are just come of the benefits. But have you ever considered translating your corporate blog to promote your company internationally? What are the real strengths and limitations? What is the best way to proceed? Here are some answers to your questions and a concrete example to give you a clear idea.
What’s the difference between a website and a blog?
Technically there is no difference between a website and a blog. They both contain the same kind of content (text and media). They are both hosted in the same manner and are managed in a content management system (CMS). The main difference between a website and a blog is in the approach to the content. A website is the official face of the company, its calling card so to speak. The pages of a corporate website tend to be updated infrequently, whereas a good blog should be posted to on a daily basis at least. A blog contains posts whereas a website contains pages. Think of a blog as a diary written by the company to promote new ideas and concepts, to showcase new talent and products, to announce company milestones and accomplishments and more.
For example: let’s say that your company manufactures power tools. The website would contain corporate information, technical specifications of the tools and online shopping pages. The blog might contain tips on how to use the power tools, drilling techniques, customers success stories and similar posts.
It is this difference that makes the job of translation different as well. Most companies tend to translate their website but less so the blog. Translating a website is more of a one-and-done effort. Translating a blog on the other hand is more of an ongoing effort. There are also economic considerations. Blogs tend to be very voluminous, much more so than websites. Translation costs can be high.
But there is another key difference between translating website content and blog content: website content is usually written in a more controlled manner which makes it easier to translate. Blog posts tend to be of a more freewheeling nature. They are written in a less structured manner and may require a more creative approach from a linguistic perspective.
Do search engines rank blog content differently than website content?
It is clear that the major search engines rank website pages higher than blog posts. Just search for anything online and you will see that websites are ranked at the top. But if you search for very long tail keywords, more and more blog posts will be shown. Furthermore, blog posts help your website pages search ranking by providing quality internal links. The same holds true for translated blog posts.
What are the advantages of translating your blog?
Having your blog translated into a multilingual blog can be a sizeable investment. As mentioned previously, the amount of content can be large. And using free machine translation may not be advisable due to the creative nature of blog content which may not lend itself well to machine translation.
Translation of your blog can be an effective and essential way to develop your business internationally. Having your business blog translated offers many advantages:
- Increase your visibility with foreign audiences. With translations of your blog posts, you can reach an international audience and gain credibility with them.
- With a regularly updated blog which is optimized for search (SEO), potential customers of the translated language will easily find your business on the web. You will increase your positions on the search engines for more keywords, especially the long tail ones.
- You can develop topics which are adapted to the regulations and laws in target countries and be perceived as an expert in the field.
- Translated blog content will improve your SEO and search engine visibility not only in other languages, but also for your English web pages.
Translate all posts, some posts or create native posts?
Which posts should you translate? And into what languages?
You can have all publications translated regardless of the target country. This is a good solution if you want to give a coherent group image abroad. Another consideration is that quality content will help create a loyal following and readership. In the long term, this will help your company capture new markets in foreign speaking lands.
Another option is to create certain articles specially dedicated to each of your target countries. It’s a winning bet for:
- Respond to the expectations, issues and specific questions of your foreign customers / prospects. They differ according to the target countries.
- Work on a lexical field adapted to the culture and the requests of your audience according to its geographical origin. In France, Europe, Canada or elsewhere, the language, terminology and keywords will not be the same!
- To give the image of a company turned towards its customers. By offering personalized and targeted content depending on the country, you appear as a professional who understands and knows how to support his foreign targets, taking into account their individuality and their specificity.
How to maintain overall consistency?
It is not enough to translate only the content of your blog posts. Make sure you offer a translation into the target languages of all content attached to the articles, whether they are visible or not. This includes the following:
- Contact form
- Social media content page
- CTA (Call To Action) button
- SEO elements (meta description, title, “alt” tag of images…).
By offering total consistency of your blog with the translation of different types of content, you improve the user experience (UX) while promoting you website on the search engines. You thus boost your chances of reaching the target foreign audience and making them want to trust you.
What are the limits to having your business blog translated?
A business blog generates traffic and leads only if the content is relevant and qualitative. This rule also applies to the translation of your blog. The published and translated content must answer the questions of your targets in each country.
If the challenges of the USA market are not the same as those of foreign countries, do not hesitate to develop subjects adapted to the specific concerns of your foreign targets. Thus, you will increase your chances of generating qualified leads and you will gain credibility with them!
Be careful to translate your blog in a reasoned and strategic way: no need to offer translations in all languages. Just offer a blog translated into the languages targeted and covered by your sales forces. A bilingual blog (e.g. German blog and English blog) will suffice if you plan to conquer the German-speaking markets!
Cultural Considerations-an Example
Say you are an event company and you offer your services throughout Europe. It may be helpful to adapt the content of your articles according to the different countries.
For example, your audience in France, the United Kingdom and Germany may wonder about the feasibility of an event due to the risks associated with the weather. You could write an article with the theme: Organization of team building, how to avoid the risk of rain?.
On the other hand, in countries less affected by bad weather, such as Spain, Portugal, or Sicily, this question is neither essential nor relevant. Instead, choose a related, dedicated topic such as What types of team building in a scorching summer?.
Do the big companies translate their blog content?
Many of the big companies are translating their blog content, which is a clear indication that this is good practice. Here are some of the companies that provide blog content in multiple languages:
Machine Translation or Human Translation?
Many content owners choose to translate their blog using free machine translation (like Google Translate). The advantage of this is that it is cheap. But by the very nature of blog content, it may need some adjustment so that the messages are not lost in translation. Very often, marketing information which is valid in one country may not be valid for others. At the very minimum, you should review any machine translated blog content to make sure that it is suitable for use in the intended countries.
A better option is to use a professional translation service to translate key blog content. And to adapt the copy for use in the markets you are targeting.
If you have a WordPress blog, you can download and install the GTS Translation WordPress plugin to translate all or parts of your blog. The plugin has an integrated API which publishes your content seamlessly within the WordPress CMS.
Translating blog content is a good idea, but it is not cheap. Companies that do not have large budgets for this activity should consider providing tailored blog posts in different languages. Each translated blog post should be culturally tailored to meet the needs of the audience in the target countries. Using machine translation solutions like plugins and automatic language switchers is tempting, but may not get you good results.