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Translate or not translate…that is the question

We are always banging on about the importance of translation for businesses looking to tap into international markets. And we’re not going deviate from that standpoint really…except to say that sometimes a straightforward translation isn’t enough.

Take search engine optimisation (SEO), for example. When determining the keywords to use on a translated website, there can be a temptation to simply translate the English keywords into the target tongue, assuming that the results will be the same…but this isn’t necessarily the case.

Car Insurance, for example, is a straightforward phrase that is a well-established key Google search term in the English speaking world – for those seeking to buy car insurance online. Translated literally into French, it is ‘L’assurance automobile’, which is, as it happens, an accurate translation.

But if you research the key search terms used locally in French-speaking countries, people actually use ‘assurance automobile’ and, even more common, is ‘assurance auto’ or ‘assurance voiture’.

So translation isn’t always enough. When optimising web content for foreign markets, it’s always best to use native-speaking translators who live in the country for which the translation is intended, who can research the most accurate key search terms and ensure a company’s website isn’t just translated, but properly localised too.


Lingo24 is a global translation company, with interests in marketing, e-commerce, product management and many other areas that are of relevance to our clients. We share news on our company performance, innovative technology solutions, exciting new hires and guest posts from some of our translators.

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