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Tips for smoothly translating international SEM content

Published: December 9, 2014

Author: Andrew Mera

In the world of online marketing, managing localized content can be a long process with multiple revisions, back and forths, cultural differences, and time zone changes. When expanding your search efforts, here are some tips that can help you streamline the process when working with online content in multiple languages:

1. Local Insights: Before you start expanding to any markets, do your research first!

– If your company has offices in the country you are targeting, ask the country manager what are the cultural dos and don’ts and what marketing efforts your counterpart is doing in that region.

– If you are working with a large agency, ask them to provide you with information on the country and culture. Big agencies do have local offices with teams that execute online marketing campaigns and have a good understand of their market.

– Ask your vendors. It is often the case that vendors that you work with can provide you with direction and insights when trying to expand to other markets. In some cases, they do have local offices and understand what type of creative works, what type of inventory is available, and what search terms people look for.

2. Ads vs. Adverts: Do not assume that if multiple countries speak the same language, you can use the same translation. For instance, Spanish from Mexico and Spanish from Argentina, although similar, does have slight variations and interpretations within local syntax. It is recommended to get country-specific translations; that way the message that you are presenting is tailored to the local market and thus gets better results.

3. Verify translated content: That is correct: verify the quality of the translations. Whether you are translating ad copy or keywords, you need to ensure that the translations look natural to a native speaker. This is what you can do to spot check localized content:

– Gengo is a service that offers translation services with high-quality results. Gengo has a rigorous testing process for anyone who wants to become a translator, and when you submit a translation request, you can specify what type of tone you want in the copy: friendly vs. professional.

– Vendor Support: Vendors that have presence in other markets can help with translations. Check with them if they offer this service and at what cost.

– Search Engine Support: In some cases, translations services are offered by search engines, but check with your rep to see if this is something they can provide.

– Local office support: If your company has a local office in the market you are targeting, ask them to review the translated copy and keywords.

4. Make sure that you use local images for display ads: For display ads, there is nothing harmful with using standard images; however, if you want your banner ads to have the biggest impact, it is recommended to use images of local people who represent the culture of the market you are targeting.

– Messaging can be the same, but culture tailed imagery can deliver better results.

To summarize, there are several avenues that you can take when working and implementing localized translations, but if you follow the steps above, you should be in good shape. Key things to keep in mind are to leverage the internal and external resources that you have available, work with you vendors as they can provide insights and support, reach out to your country counterparts, and leverage your agencies.
Good luck!

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