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Should You Translate Your Blog?

If your company has a goal to reach a non-English-speaking market, you may have considered whether or not you should translate your content marketing blog posts in order to reach your new target demographic. There are many options available for blog translation, but not all of them may fit your company’s specific needs. Before all else, it’s important to understand whether or not it makes sense for your company to translate your blog posts. So how do you know whether or not you should translate your blog? And if you decide to pursue it, what are some things you should consider as you begin?

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What are the benefits of translating your blog?

Translating your blog can have several benefits when it comes to reaching non-English speaking markets, both domestically and abroad. These benefits include: 

  • Increasing organic search traffic

  • Enhancing your reputation and building trust with non-English speaking visitors

  • Helping more people by disseminating information to a wider range of visitors 

  • Growing sales as you convert your new site visitors into fans and paying customers

Blog posts are a great way to reach new audiences if you write them consistently and with a genuine desire to help. When you choose to translate your content, you essentially add new and valuable content to the web for those searching for answers and solutions. This can help increase your SEO ranking when handled correctly. And if your content is translated well, you’ll build loyal customers as they learn to trust and engage with your brand.

Are there disadvantages to translating your blog? Why doesn’t everyone do it?

While translating your blog can certainly bring you new customers and sales, it is important to note that there are some disadvantages to consider, such as:

  • Unlike a typical website translation, blog translations are not one-and-done projects until you decide to revamp the website.

  • Depending on how many blog posts you’d like to translate, costs can increase quickly.

  • Your Return on Investment (ROI) is unknown at first, so taking the leap without knowing what your ROI will be can create some uncertainty when it comes to budgeting.

A well-maintained blog is regularly updated, so having the posts professional translated is an ongoing project. Knowing whether or not your company is ready to tackle a project like this will help you determine if making this move is the right step for your company. Just remember that content marketing is incredibly valuable right now, as more and more people are searching the web for information before they make a purchasing decision.

When should you consider making the investment to translate your blog?

Thankfully, there are a few things you can consider that will help you determine whether or not you should look into translating your blog for a non-English-speaking audience. Here are some things to ask yourself:

  • Does your current blog bring in revenue? If so, your chances of seeing increased revenue from translated content is higher, since you know your content is already crafted in a way that results in sales from current customers.

  • Are you pursuing these target markets in other ways already? If you have marketing materials, advertisements, social media posts, and a website already translated and localized for these markets, you are already building their trust. The blog may be a great way to then expand on that relationship.

  • Do you have the budget for an ongoing translation project? If the answer is no, see the Options section below. There may be another fit that’s right for your company if this is your only hesitation. 

Whom should you target?

Perhaps it seems to go without saying, but you do not need to translate your blog into various languages if it will not benefit you. Consider which languages will make the most sense for your company and your ROI and go from there.

  • If your website is already translated, focus on those languages for your blog content translations. If it is not already translated, it doesn’t have to be out of your budget. If your current non-English-speaking site visitors can also access your blog in their native language, you can more easily grow your site traffic organically. 

  • Determine which languages your target market speaks. If you want to grow your Canadian customer base, for example, you may wish to focus on producing content in Canadian French.

  • Use Google Analytics to find out where your foreign website traffic is coming from for your current blog posts. You may be losing many of these visitors without a translation available, and if you are not already targeting these languages, it may be worth looking into. Lost visitors mean lost revenue.

What are your blog translation options? Do you have to translate every post to be effective?

There are many options for what to consider when it comes to translating your blog. It does not have to be all or nothing. Here are a few options for translation that you can keep in mind before making a final decision.

  • If your blog is wildly popular and already bringing in substantial revenue from your English-speaking visitors, it may be prudent to translate each blog post as you write them, as well as some of your most popular or recent content. What does well in English may not have the same impact in other languages, but it’s still quite possible that a great amount of your content is appealing to non-English-speaking readers and customers.

  • If your blog is “hit or miss,” you may decide to take a “wait and see” approach by just translating a few of your best-performing blogs. Bear in mind this approach will not work if your blog posts are time-sensitive in nature.

  • You can also decide in advance what content you’d like to have translated based on what type of information you want to make available to your multilingual target market. If there are blog posts that won’t be as relevant to this customer base, plan to keep those English and only translate the posts that cater to specific target audiences.

What else should you consider before taking the steps to translate your blog?

If you decide that translating your content marketing blog posts is the next right step for your company, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before hitting publish on your translated content to ensure you maximize your SEO strategy and outreach.

  • Translate the tags for foreign-language posts. Even the best translation won’t show up as often in a search result if your tags are not translated into terms your target market is actively searching. They won’t be searching for these keywords in English; they’ll be searching for them in their primary language. The tags you use should reflect this as well.

  • If you link to other blog posts or sites, make sure the links you use lead to the translated version whenever possible. If you are linking to another blog post on your own website, for example, it would be helpful to translate the blog post you are linking to. That way, your readers have a seamless experience when browsing your website and topics. If you link to an outside source that you cannot find in your target reader’s language, it may be helpful to let your reader know (in parentheses) that the page you’re linking to is in English so they can decide whether or not to click away from your blog to follow the link. 

  • Translate the name of any images you include in your post. Naming your image files something relevant to your blog topic helps your blog show up more often in search results. These image names should be translated to reap the same benefits when you add them to your translated blog as well. 

  • Recreate infographics to include translated text. If you create an infographic for your English-speaking audience, make sure the text of the infographic is translated, too, so that your non-English-speaking readers will be able to read what you’ve created (and share it with their friends/colleagues!).  

Why it’s important to use a qualified translation agency and avoid automatic translation tools

It can be tempting to install a plugin that translates your website content automatically. After all, it’s free and instantaneous. But these translations are typically laden with errors, which can be detrimental for your brand. Here are a few reasons to always use a qualified translation professional instead of automatic translation tools:

  • Automatic translations create mistakes. These tools translate copy quite literally. If a word has multiple meanings, or you are using colloquialisms or figures of speech, your content is almost guaranteed to be mistranslated. Native speakers will be turned off by incorrect or unnatural sounding language, which means you will repel the audience you were hoping to attract. A competent agency will employ a translation team that makes sure to capture the meaning and nuances of your content, as it was originally intended to be read.

  • Machine translation errors could have potentially disastrous results. Depending on the type of information you want translated, there could even be legal ramifications if something is translated erroneously. This is far less likely to occur if you use a professional translation agency. In fact, agencies and professionals should carry Errors & Omissions Insurance to cover these rare instances. This helps to protect you if something is incorrectly translated and causes damage to your company, brand or customers.

  • Freshly translated content is not considered duplicate content, so it’s helpful with SEO! However, pages built with machine translation or automatic translation could negatively impact your site’s SEO. Google has actually covered this topic, saying that auto-generated content is usually removed from their indexes entirely. It’s just not worth the risk to lose SEO potential by automatically translating these pages.

“In general, when we determine that a page contains only auto-generated content, we may remove it from our index...This may sound a bit harsh, but auto-generated content that is created for search engines is a really bad idea and a waste of our resources.”

No matter your decision, we are here to answer any questions you may have about the process of translating your blog content in a way that is beneficial and unique to your company’s needs. And if you have already had some of your posts translated, we’d love to hear about your experience. Let us know in the comments!