Website Translation

4 Things Your Website Translation Might Be Missing

It may not seem obvious at first glance, but website translation often requires a great deal more attention than standard document translation.

There are many benefits to translating a website, but it’s a more complicated process than regular document translation and directly impacts your search engine rankings. For example, users looking for terms in French may not see your site if there are English elements that didn’t get translated.

Here are some of the most common things website translations miss:

1) File Names and Links

Many people know that search engines take file names and links into account when determining your rank. But few realize that the same thing applies when localizing a site and using a foreign language. Foreign keywords are searched as-is, meaning that search engines do not translate English keywords in your file names to another language.

So if you want to maximize your French keyword rankings, for example, change that “car-rental.html” file name to “location-de-voitures.html”. This file renaming also applies to any images that have keyword relevance. Not only will this allow visitors to the translated site to navigate more effectively, but it can also help to improve your rankings.

2) Metadata

If your site has been previously optimized for English-language searches and is directly translated into another language, your metadata may be forgotten. As mentioned before, search engines can be very literal when it comes to foreign language search criteria.

It’s best practice during website translation to also translate all of your title, keyword and description tags. Your search rank will thank you for it.

3) Alt-text

Alt-text is the text that pops up when you hover your mouse over an image. It may seem like a minor thing, but not only does alt-text contribute to your ranking—it is used by accessibility software and read aloud to the visually impaired.

By including translations of your alt-text, you enable a better user experience for all of your visitors, no matter what language they speak or how they access the site.

4) Image Text

Image text refers to images that have text written on them. Page and section headers may be some of the more obvious examples, and thus easily caught, but even minor image text (like a “submit” button on a form) needs to be translated.

And of course, when you do translate the image, make sure you translate the image’s file name and the link it points to. It gives both your users and the search engine crawlers an easier time when you keep everything consistent.

In the highly competitive world of search rankings, choosing to translate your keywords may be the difference between page 1 and page 10.

Also keep in mind that the website translation process typically involves the creation of many new pages — as well as the links to these pages. An experienced translation company will be able to maintain consistency throughout the course of the project, so you don’t inadvertently end up creating dead-end links on the translated website.

Do you need help with your website translation and localization efforts? Let’s get in touch!