Which translation company finished 2017 at the top of Google?

In our second Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) report for the search term ‘translation services’ we already see some changes since November in terms of the top 20 rankings – illustrating the sometimes very hit and miss nature of search engine results…if you’re not constantly on top of your website.

But first – did you know that the volume and interest in searches using the term ‘translation services’ has pretty much halved since 2004?

Look at the graph below from Google Trends.

Google Trends Graph for Search on 'Translation Services'

In 2004, people were using the keywords ‘translation services’ a lot more than they do now.

Do you know why? Think about it.

Well, just one reason could be that buyers have matured in terms of what they now search for online when it comes to language, translation, localization, etc. services.

Alternative Translation Search Terms

So rather than once upon a time just thinking ‘translation services’ when they needed something, the buyers are now more interested in finding ‘certified translators’ or ‘medical translations’.

On the right you can see examples Google Trends itself says are popular in its search engine.

There will of course be more reasons for the drop in searches using ‘translation services’ over time…but we can’t teach you everything!

Anyway back to the top translation websites online.

Top 5 Websites Ranking for ‘Translation Services’ on Google.com (Dec. 2017)

Headlines:

Morningside and Gengo break into the top 5! Congratulations to both companies!

Last month’s #5,  www.translationservices24.com, have dropped to 6th and last month’s #4, www.freetranslation.com, have dramatically crashed out out of the top 20! 

Morningside Translations

 

 

#5: www.morningtrans.com/services/translations

 

 

Gengo Translation

 

#4: www.gengo.com

 

 

 

#2 Translation Services Nov 2017

 

 

#3: www.onehourtranslation.com

 

 

#2 Translation Services 2017

 

 

#2: www.gts-translation.com

 

 

#1 Translation Services Dec 2017

 

 

#1: www.translation-services-usa.com

 

 

..and how about over in the UK?

Top 5 Websites Ranking for ‘Translation Services’ on Google.co.uk (Dec. 2017)

Headlines:

Global Voices jump up to #4 from their previous position of 7th. London Translations slip down to 6th.

#5 Translation Services UK Nov 2017

 

#5: www.wolfestone.co.uk

 

 

 

#4 Global Voices Translation Services

 

 

#4: www.globalvoices.co.uk

 

 

#3 Translation Services UK Dec 2017

 

 

#3: www.languageconnect.net

 

 

#2 Capita Translation Services Dec '17

 

#2: www.capitatranslationinterpreting.com/translation-services

 

 

#1 Translation Services Dec 2017

 

 

#1: www.translationservices24.com/

 

 

Download your copy of our ‘Translation Services’ SERPs report for free!

Ready to dig into the details?

For now, we’re giving the report away for free. 

Simply click here: Translation Services Google SERPs December 2017 to grab a copy.

It is a simple, clean Excel file giving you all the data from the 16 SEO metrics mentioned in our first report in November 2017.

Do you know we can provide SEO Audits as well as SEO Workshops designed specifically for LSPs and translation agencies?
We can give you all the tools, insights and skills to get your website ranking high in your local search engines.

The substantial and shifting demands confronting LSPs have been subject of much debate and discussion within the  translation & localization industry.

As we confront the challenges of our rapidly evolving industry, do translation companies have the necessary skills needed to not only manage demand now but be prepared for what may lay further down the line?

To try and understand, capture and contextualize the key concerns of LSPs and translation companies, our in-house reporter, Jess, went out and did some digging.

Changing Client Demands are Redefining the Skills LSPs Need in Translators and in-House Staff

Within the localization & translation industry, the skills needed by project management and sales staff have changed dramatically.

In addition to the core skills which complement translation work, it seems, LSPs and agencies are now in far greater need of both specific technical and soft skills in the people they employ – skills which it seems are not readily available in the available staff pool.

Technical Skills

Technical Skills in Translation

Let’s turn our attention first to technical skills. Dawn Wall, client services provider at Prestige Network, explains: “One area we look at is technical expertise including competency in using translation memory tools, Microsoft Office and machine translation.”

It’s not just CAT tools and office software that’s important. As the industries of the translation industry client base become equally and progressively more reliant on the latest tech, they increasingly depend on their suppliers to be able to accommodate their technical tools.

For those working to translate websites and code, this knowledge is particularly pressing.

Head of global production at Translate Media, Mercedes Vanilla explains:

“These days, translation agencies, especially those like us focusing on ecommerce, are dealing with exports from websites so most times you will have XML, HTML and multilingual XLIFS files to work with. It is important for translators to know how these files are processed and how to deal with different aspects, such as inline HTML tags.”

The skills shortage in this area is outlined clearly by Vanilla, who adds: “One of the main services that we offer today is editing machine translation. It is hard to find translators with the experience required to do it properly. This is quickly changing but still a service difficult to source, especially with non-European languages.”

Passion and Dedication

Passion for Languages

While not necessarily a skill, passion for the job at hand is particularly important due to the highly demanding nature of the translation industry.

Scar de Courcier, Director of Bohemiacademia, manages a team of freelance translators and believes passion for the job is essential.

“I’m looking for people who really care about doing a good job. So beyond being able to speak and write a language, I want someone who will bother to check over their work for mistakes and typos. Essentially someone who’s a bit of a perfectionist and wants to be sure they’ve done a great job.”

“It’s important people are interested in something. I don’t really care what, but if people have a passion they can somehow link in to their work, it tends to make them better at freelancing.”

Annette Lawlor, founder of L10N People Global, a recruitment agency specializing in localization, also believes this is an important trait.

“If someone has passion for language and travel then they’ll find their place in the industry.”

Adaptability

Adaptability in Translation

Adaptable staff are better placed to take on any changes in the industry, or work with new clients.

Adaptability can often be a good replacement for other skills because these employees are likely to embrace change and work hard to skill-up when necessary.

Jacob Stempniewicz of Andovar needs his staff to adapt quickly but, like others, he places considerable importance on technical skills:

The translation industry is evolving rapidly. The main trends are automation, machine learning, machine translation and standardization across languages and locales. Andovar – and other LSPs I’m sure – are looking for staff who can help us be part of these trends and not be left behind. On one hand, we are looking for candidates with relevant experience but on the other, candidates with an interest and ability to learn quickly.

Because of the ever-changing roles within the industry, staff are being asked to take on a lot more than perhaps they once were.

Lawlor adds: “There are lots of different hats that have to be worn so people have to be very well rounded in terms of their skills; they need to have the ability to negotiate internally with different departments, as well as externally with clients, and also have a strong focus on digital. It’s very fast-paced compared to when we started 12 years ago, so you have to be able to work at that pace.”

Emotional Intelligence and Creativity

EI & Creativity in Translation

Emotionally intelligent, creative people tend to be very good at responding to new situations, while managing client expectations.

These kinds of people are usually great at communication and take others’ needs into consideration within their work.

Although these competencies can be assessed during the face to face interview of back office staff, the global spread of translators, coupled with the need for remote interviews in most cases, makes these skills harder for translation companies to find, as the interview process is often only done over the phone.

De Courcier understands this problem within her business: “A lot of these things are difficult to work out beforehand, especially if you’re hiring internationally so can’t do face-to-face interviews. The way I do it is to send new freelancers one or two smaller pieces of work to begin with and if those go well, I’ll send them more projects. Generally, that works quite well, but it is hard to find people who have exactly the qualities you require; it was much easier when I was managing a department of a large company and interviewing ‘normally’.”

One might assume that soft skills are abundant alongside the industry and technical skills required to take on a role with an LSP but that’s not the case, as Stempniewicz explains:

“Soft skills such as people skills, emotional intelligence and creativity are very important as they are applicable to a range of job roles, so employees with these qualities can adapt quickly and learn new skills as required by the changing circumstances. However, they tend to be in short supply.”

Think Ahead

Andovar, Bohemiacademia, L10N People Global, Prestige Network and Translate Media are in no way alone in the recruitment challenges they face.

In fact, their contributions to this piece, epitomize the way in which translation companies need to transform their approach to recruitment.Cutting the Mustard in Translation

What may have worked previously, won’t cut the mustard in today’s environment.

Companies that flourish will do so on the back of innovative recruitment procedures, a readiness to understand industry change within the context of the recruitment pool and the enthusiasm to fundamentally change the way they think and do things.

A huge thank you to all those who helped us understand some of the different viewpoints in the industry. Your contribution is highly valued and appreciated.

8 ways to move your online content into awesome street.

In an industry centred on language and words, it will come to no surprise to those in translation & localization that subtle changes in how you write and present your website’s content can have a big impact on areas such as lead generation, SEO, social shares, PR and brand image.

We help clients who are not so confident in writing their own materials with website copywriting – as part of this we always audit content according to our own in-house criteria.

Based on some of these criteria, we have shared 14 things to think about when writing content for your website, whether a landing page, blog page or service overview.

1. Write for your audience

Perhaps the most important of all, yet most ignored, is to really understand who your audience are. Once you do this you can then write your content and bring your website’s goals in line with what your business needs.

If you use your website to sell to literally anyone who searches for the term “translation services” in Google.com your needs are going to be vastly different to a specialist Single Language Vendor, say in Malta or Estonia who is only interested in finding clients from the top 100 LSPs.

Every good translation agency or LSP should have a typical client profile which generalises on who most of your clients are, what they think, feel and do. Once you get this your whole sales position not just your website content gets tighter in terms of focus and drive.
Write content that addresses questions, needs and interests of your audience.

2. Important information at top

People need to be hooked in quickly when it comes to reading a website page so make sure you can say everything you need to at the top of your page, blog or article.

Summarise key points at the start but don’t give too much away too much detail as to make the rest of the page a repetition of your opening sentence. This technique is used by all good journalists whether in print or online; check any newspaper or web page from the most popular news site in your country and you will see the same pattern – catchy header, overview, summary points and then it goes into more detail eventually releasing certain key facts towards the end.

For websites keeping people on your pages for as long as possible is important for SEO. Having a high bounce rate, i.e. the rate or percentage of visitors who leave from the page without looking at others, is bad as it shows people are not engaging with your website. A low bounce rate on the other hand is great news as it shows people are sticking around and reading.

3. Format your text & page for scanners

It is proven that people skim and scan when it comes to reading a website page. Try it yourself. Open a browser, go visit a website you have never visited before and pay close attention to what your eyes do.

Most people tend to follow very similar patterns when it comes to reading a web page – our eyes look for the information our brain wants us to find. So, when writing your website it is key to make sure you clearly present your information to the reader. Now do you see why it’s so important to know your audience?

This can be done in a number of ways including using graphics, headers & titles, large fonts, short paragraphs, short sentences, white space and even strategically places summaries with bullet points or numbered lists.

Just make it easy for the reader – lots of text in chunky paragraphs tends to be a turn off for many people. Chop it up and avoid monotony.

4. Use keywords strategically

If you want your website or a particular web page to be found in search engines then you need to use the keywords people will be searching for to help them find your content.

Say, for example, you have researched and put together a fantastic blog about translation in life sciences. You want to bring in traffic via search engines and social media from people interested in both life sciences and of course translation. If your title, headers and content don’t contain the keywords these people will be putting into search engines, like “translation service life sciences” or “life sciences translation challenges”, then it will be much harder for people to find you.

Each and every page of a website should have its own unique keyword set. Make sure when you are writing the content for the page that you don’t overdo it and “stuff” in keywords – your content should read naturally however it is important to slip in keywords every paragraph to help search engines present your website/page better to its users.

5. Be careful with translation & localization jargon

Depending on who the audience you may or may not want to think twice about using jargon and terminology from the industry.

If you are selling primarily to people in translation & localization then, yes, of course it makes sense to use terminology, acronyms and similar in your website content as this is the language these people speak. However, be aware that just because you call something one thing, an agency in another country may not necessarily call it the same thing, so tread with care.

When writing for non-industry readers then you really need to keep your language simple and straightforward. Avoid complicated concepts and don’t speak to them as if they attend LocWorld or GALA on an annual basis.

Depending on the context it may actually be necessary to use a reader’s own ‘language’, say if you had a web page selling legal translations to lawyers you would want to use terminology that makes them feel comfortable in your knowledge and experience of their world.

6. Copy text ethically and responsibly

Copying text is a serious no-no for all sorts of moral, ethical and legal reasons however when it comes to websites, it’s really bad practice. If you outsource your copywriting it is highly recommended to always check for plagiarism.

Search engines know exactly where a source text comes from and are now able to penalise websites or pages if they use plagiarised text. This can lead to a website or page being de-indexed, i.e. not showing up at all in search engine results pages.

This is not to say however that you can’t copy any text. If for example on every single service page or blog page you wanted a small sales paragraph, you won’t be penalised for it as long as it is not too much.

Usually SEO experts say that every page should be at least 60% different which leaves plenty of room for using key pieces of text again and again. You can also copy text from other website pages, but just make sure you clearly show what is their original text and you reference and/or link to it.

7. Include links to your internal pages

To help a search engine understand your website better and to keep readers on your website, it is good practice to always include links from your content to other pages on your website.

If for example you have published a blog in which you mention the word “translation”, you should hyperlink that word to your main translation landing page. Similarly, you should also try and add what are called “deep links”, i.e. where you link to pages much lower down in importance in your website’s hierarchy. This may be to a quiz, a special offer, an old blog post or anything else – as long as it is deep in your site it also helps remind search engines of content in different places.

Again, make sure you do this by using keywords in the link. So if you are going to link to an old blog post with tips about technical translation, don’t link to it like this, “….read more about technical translation here.” It should be “….read more about technical translation.”

8. Think about your Call to Actions

Always think about what you want your readers to do once they finish on a website page, a blog or landing page. Should they be filling in a form, going to another page, downloading something, taking a quiz or do you simply want them to fill in a form?

Whatever you want the reader to do, you need to encourage them with the right directions. These are known as Call to Actions and can be anything as simple as sentence with some instructions or graphics.

If your company could do with some support when it comes to writing for an online audience, we are currently running our Business Boosting Blogging training course as well as our excellent copywriting for LSPs service.

What does it take to be a leader?

Successful leadership in the translation & localization industry requires far more than good man-management skills, planning and a technical understanding of how to get a translation done on time.

You also need to be able to point people in the right direction.

A dynamic and demanding industry, the leaders of today’s translation & localization companies need to be talented, tuned-in and tenacious. 

So, what does it take to make it at the top?

Here is a coffee break snapshot of some of the key leadership skills needed in today’s LSP, LSC or translation agency.

1) Technical Translation Know-How

A holistic and comprehensive understanding of the technical side of translation is critical. This understanding ensures that the leader can anticipate essentials such as changes in technology and trends and drive the business in the right direction.

It is important to stress however, that this understanding needn’t extend to the execution of the finer details of process as a good leader will understand the resources needed and ensure the right people are recruited accordingly.

As such, although the leader should have a good understanding, in principle, of areas such as CAT tools, it is not necessary that they are qualified to generate outputs or build the tool’s memory.

In this vein, a successful leader will keep abreast of the changes happening within the industry.

This is an industry which has seen some of the most rapid technological growth and change over the last decade and these changes will persist in taking translation companies into ever new domains as it continues to evolve.

2) Ingenious Resource Engagement

With the evolution of the industry and the demands placed on it, good translation & localization leaders recognise the need to engage a fluid and diverse pool of qualified and innovative resources to help take their company forward.

By giving permanent teams the opportunity to engage freelance (excluding BAU freelancers such as translators and freelancers) and project specific resources as and when needed, the translation company leader can considerably innovate upon their offerings by embarking on new ideas, developments and technologies.

There’s a huge pool of talent out there who can potentially add considerable value to the business, such as developers, editors, video producers, computer programmers, designers, illustrators.

3) Inspirational Leadership Qualities

An inspirational leader, will create a strong sense of direction for employees. They will establish a clear vision for future goals and galvanise the team towards delivering them.

Although the volumes of day to day transactions are necessary and critical to core working, teams lead by an inspirational leader will also have a strong sense of what the company wants to deliver in the long term, the way in which these plans sit within broader industry growth and commitment to their own role in making this happen.

4) Emotionally Intelligent Management

Translation & localization industry leaders come from vastly diverse backgrounds; some have evolved into leadership roles having previously worked as independent translators.

Although the experience of this background is incredibly valuable, many of these individuals have not been presented with the same training opportunities afforded to leadership peers with experience working in corporate environments where training engagement on subjects as Emotional Intelligence are typically very high.

Although many people have a natural tendency towards emotional intelligence, it is not always the case and training plays an important role in helping individuals to develop a positive and productive understanding.

Within the workplace, whether training has been taken or not, we all have a clear (and typically shared) understanding of the leadership tendencies we’d rather avoid. However, we have probably all had occasions in which we have slipped into these behaviours.

This may, for example, involve appearing to lack empathy, being overly task or people focused, raising our voices, showing anger or being overly authoritarian.

Since the translation & localization industry is typically seasonal, we may also have become excessively vocal and misdirected in respect to transaction and financial turnover during ‘trough’ periods.

An emotionally intelligent leader however, keeps their temper and emotions strongly in check, engages positively with employees, listens, acts on beneficial suggestions or ideas, helps people to feel empowered and affords absolute respect.

They communicate positively with team members, appreciate the skills and expertise which they bring to the business and ensure a commitment to ethical practice. Such leadership is proven to create a healthy and productive work environment which benefits and drives the business.

5) Broad Business Understanding

A strong  leader will also have a robust understanding of the business. They will understand the balance sheet, financial performance, financial targets coupled with team performance and BAU metrics relating to areas such as repeat business, client segmentation, client values, service performance, complaints and compliance.

The leader ensures team members have responsibility for monitoring and communicating these metrics and they keep a regular and constant ‘eye on the ball’; ensuring that poor or unexpected performance is quickly confronted and managed.

These activities ensure that the business is healthy and that no nasty surprises arise which could otherwise compromise company well-being.

Although not exhaustive, these areas are some of the key skills considered to be some of the most valuable.

As the industry and demands continue to evolve, so too will the role of leader.

How to Get Your Translation Website SEO-Friendly

Bringing in new business through your website is becoming increasingly important for LSPs and translation agencies.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about making sure your website is presented in the best possible way not only to your website visitors but also to the spiders that search engines use to analyse your website.

Feed the Spiders

Search engine spiders crawl through a website gathering vital information that it feeds back to the engine. This then gets pumped through an algorithm which eventually results in your website getting a ranking in the SERPs – search engine ranking pages – in other words, the websites that come up when you do a search in say, Yahoo or Bing.SEO Training for Translation Websites

If a website isn’t ‘spider-friendly’ it can have varying impacts on the success of your website in SERPs.

It is common to assume that web developers, designers or agencies know what they are doing when it comes to structuring a website for SEO – some do, many don’t.

Designers and developers tend to think ‘front-end’; SEOs start with the back-end, i.e. all the important, hidden, structural stuff that spiders want to see.

To help readers who want to grow their LSP and translation websites, we have listed seven of the most common SEO-sins that are going to keep a website from ranking highly in search engines such as Google.

Create a Keyword Hit List

A website needs a keyword list. This is basically a list of all the keywords you think people will search for and that you want your website ranking for. It is important to prioritise these with a core set of keywords followed by a sub-set.

So for example your core keywords may be something like ‘translation company’, ‘translation services’ or ‘localization agency’. Your sub-set of keywords then will contain things like your languages (‘Spanish translation company’, ‘French translation services’, etc), sectors (‘life sciences translation company’, ‘legal translation agency’) or even your location(s) (‘translation company London’, ‘translation service Singapore’, etc).

You can create as many or as little variations as you want but what is important is to have a list that you use. Once a list of target keywords has been established, you must give each page on your website its own keyword. Everything on that page and behind it – text, images, meta information, URLs, etc. – must also use the same keyword(s) or variations of.

Further reading: How to Do Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

Top tip! If you want to see what some of the industry leaders do with their keyword lists, then head on over to our November 2017 Translation Services SERPs Report and download the excel sheet. In there we show you exactly what and how the top 20 ‘translation services’ companies use keywords to dominate Google.

Populate all your Page Headers & Titles

Every website page has what is called a Page Header as well as a Page Title. Your website may employ H1 tags, or header tags, which would replace the need for Headers. The Page Title is the text a browser shows.

For example, if you look at our website home page you can see we have set the Title to ‘Accensus : The Training Company for the Translation & Localization Industry’ – just hover your mouse over the words that appear at the top of the browser/tab.

The Page Header can be the same as the Title, if you set it that way, however, it is best to have different Header and Title to allow you to cover more variations of your keywords.

So, you might have the Title on your homepage as ‘Translation Services in Dublin, Ireland’ and your Header as ‘Irish Translation Company Specialising in Business Services’. This way you have covered 5 keywords – translation services, Dublin, Ireland, Irish, translation company, business’.

Again looking at our website home page you can see we made the page Header, ‘A Niche Training Company Setting the Translation & Localization Industry Alight’.

Further reading: Guide to Title Tags, Meta Data and Headers

Top tip! Also have a look at the data from our November Google SERPs results [link above]. This shows you what headers and titles the top 20 ‘translation services’ companies are using to help them get listed at the top of Google.

Use Keywords in Your Images

So simple, yet so very often ignored. All your graphics, buttons, CTAs and images need to be given proper file names. The names need to have the keywords in them suitable for the page on which it is displayed.

Before you save and upload any images to your website look at what keywords in the file name. When a spider comes to web page and sees the image on the page called “professional-translators-Zurich-office.jpg” it contains much more information than “upload_657576aa_small.jpg”.

Naming your images correctly feeds those spiders valuable information. Also make sure you give every image an alt tag. This is a description of the image which should have a slight variation on the image name, for example, ‘Team of Professional Translation Staff in Zurich Office’.

Further reading: The basics of using ALT Tag text for SEO

Link to Your Most Important Pages

To a certain extent spiders rely on you to tell them which are your most important pages and what they are about. Linking to your most important pages outside of the normal navigation system helps search engines form a picture of where you see the value in your site.

Make sure you link to important pages from blogs posts and internal pages. It is also important when you link to the pages to use your keywords in the actual link. So you would not want to write, “…have a look at our English copywriting services here.” Rather, you would write, “…have a look at our English copywriting services.” You are then confirming to the search engine what the page is about.

Try varying this throughout the website, so you may also use ‘English translators’, ‘Professional English translation services’, ‘English translation’, etc which all help add keywords to a page’s identity within the spider’s mind.

Further reading: The Seven Commandments of Internal Linking that Will Improve Content Marketing SEO

Structure your URLs Correctly

Messy URLs have a nasty habit of damaging websites. If you come across a URL which says ‘www.translation.co/index/category-21/123.php’ as opposed to one that says ‘www.translation.co/services/Chinese-language’, which one says more about the page?

Well a spider looks at it exactly in the same way. You have to make sure the URLs of your website are a) readable to a human being and b) that you use your keywords in the URL structure.

Further reading: Understanding SEO Friendly URL Syntax Practices

Create Consistent Content

Fresh, current and consistent content is so important for a website. A website that is launched and left updated will soon be dropped by search engines.

Search engines will rank websites with more frequent content higher than those that don’t’ so it’s crucial you have a content plan. Blogs are an easy way of adding content quickly and inexpensively.

Always make sure you link off to internal pages within your content using a rich list of keyword. So a perfect example is this blog you are reading right now – we are writing it to create relevant content to link off to the SEO Report (which we did above), our SEO Audit Service and our Blogging for Business pages. You need to do the same – create content around which you link off to your services, other blogs, etc.

Further reading: The 10 Types of Content That Work Best for SEO

Get a Place Listing

Search engines now place a lot of emphasis on providing local search results; the idea being if you are searching for ‘translation services’ in the UK, you don’t want a company in Australia and vice-versa.

To ensure you get ranked for local searches make sure you get place listings on Google My Business, Bing Places and similar websites such as local directories. The more places you can add a business listing with your address, telephone number and website, the more you will appear in local searches. Search engines want to know you are a legitimate business and this helps its spiders assess your credibility.

Further reading: Local SEO in 2017: 5 simple ways to dominate local search

Go check your website straight away! Are you committing any of these sins? Then stop today!