A poorly lit shop window display won’t get new customers flocking through the front door – they’ll just walk on by without a second glance.
The same is true online, where third-rate content will soon have visitors clicking elsewhere. After all, if this is how a business chooses to present its wares to the world, do I really want to buy them?
Internationally minded businesses with websites in English often fall at this hurdle. Just because your neighbour’s cousin once spent a summer selling ice cream in Milton Keynes doesn’t mean he’s the right person to let loose on your website copy. Bad Simple English may sound fine to non-native ears but it’s a real turnoff for English-speaking readers.
What you need is a seasoned language professional like me. A partner skilled in producing culturally adapted, SEO-optimised English translations and copywriting that will engage readers and show your products in the best possible light.
And that will get those customers flocking through the front door.
Bad Simple English may be the traditional way for tourists to ask directions to the beach in very loud voices but it’s not how you reach potential customers in English-speaking markets.
Having an experienced professional translator with copywriting skills in your corner is the best way to make your English content really work. And to set it apart from the tired old bilge churned out by machine translation and cut-price translation agencies.
Over the past twenty years, I’ve been the partner of choice for many longstanding customers, translating from German and French into my native English. While most of my translation work is in business, marketing, finance, insurance and law, I also have a firm reputation as the go-to guy for art translation, screenplays and anything else that calls for a creative touch.
Gone are the days when the three most important factors for entrepreneurs to consider were “location, location and location”.
In the online era, content is king. And, to take this analogy one step further, SEO is the king’s cloaked advisor, steering the royal fortunes with a mixture of strategic foresight and the occasional magic flourish.
Search Engine Optimisation – SEO to its friends – is the art of tailoring your content so it will be ranked higher by search engines whenever users summon the gods of Google. Successful SEO is the online equivalent of a prime location with excellent visibility and plenty of customer footfall.
While some customers hire me to write their SEO-optimised English copy directly in English, others need translations that match the SEO clout of their French and German content. As well as localising and culturally adapting* the English version, this involves researching and integrating keywords that will allow your SEO to really strut its stuff.
(*This process is often termed “transcreation” but I’ve always felt that it’s part and parcel of any good translation, SEO-optimised or otherwise)
Creativity is always central to the translation process, even when the prose is as dry as a bone and the subject matter as dull as a wet weekend in Wigan*.
However, when it comes to translating taglines, culturally specific references and – horror of horrors! – inventive word play, it takes all the skill of a multilingual copywriter to pack a similar punch in the target language.
So drop me a line if your advertising copy needs to have the same sparkle in English as in the original French or German. And it always does.
(*Apologies to Wigan but I do love a bit of alliteration!)
Art translation – like art itself – has a unique kind of creativity at its core. In fact, most translators will run a mile at the thought of an art expert in full flow.
Not me, though. I’ll put on the kettle, make a cup of tea and get happily stuck in. To my mind, bringing the intricacies of the art world to a wider audience is one of the most satisfying challenges a translator can have. Especially if you add a biscuit or two.
Googling an exciting new product and finding yourself knee-deep in the same old dull, lifeless copy is like tucking into a salad and discovering that a slug has beaten you to it.
Language matters. The right words matter. And the loving attention to detail that you invest in your product or service should be reflected in the language used to market it.
If your business has its sights set on an international market, you’ll probably need a constant supply of fresh, dynamic English content. Teaming up with a native-speaker copywriter means that your web content will be written directly in your customers’ own language, striking the right cultural chords and pressing all the right emotional buttons.
My customers usually brief me in German or French, which allows them to convey exactly what they are looking for. It also means that their newly minted content is of the same high quality as any previous translations I have done for them and has the same style and terminological consistency. And consumers love consistency too.
Contrary to popular opinion, SEO-optimised copy should be geared towards readers, not search engines. As important as they are, keywords still take a back seat to good old-fashioned readability.
In other words, effective SEO web copy is all about weaving keywords into organic content that appeals to readers first and search engine algorithms a close second.
I’m the partner of choice if you need regular copy to oil the wheels of your SEO machine. Or if you want to find the keywords that will make your web content the toast of search engines everywhere.