Most companies that do business internationally translate their website into different languages. Many translated websites have a translation widget which is used as a language switcher to select the desired language. Some translation widgets make use of country flags; some translation widgets list the website languages. Using flags in the translation widget may be problematic as some languages are used in multiple countries. Spanish, for example, is used in a few dozen countries. Which flag should be used, Mexico, Argentina, Spain? German and French are also used in multiple countries. Using language names may be preferable.
But the entire approach of language switching in a translation widget is overrated. The most effective form of delivery for a translated website is when the translated website content comes up in foreign language search engines. So if someone in France is looking for your service and finds your company, your content is served in French. People in France search in French-not in English; so chances are that they will not find your English website and then use the translation widget to switch to French.
That’s why many of the translation widgets being offered online, like those by Google and Microsoft, are not effective. Those translation widgets use machine translation to translate your website on-the-fly and do not cache the content on any physical server. So the translated content is not indexed by any search engines. Only website content that is translated and hosted can be indexed by search engines. And only website content that is hosted can be optimized for search engines using SEO.
If your website was created using the WordPress CMS, you can use the free GTS Translation plugin to translate your website. All translated is hosted on your server and can also be post-edited for human quality translation. If your website is not on WordPress, GTS can provide you with human translation of your website content which will help you with SEO of your translated web content. For more information, please contact us at [email protected] or call one of our offices.