Hello fellow translators!
How do you feel when someone says:
“It was so dumb how they translated that movie name! It was “Underworld” and they translated in Brazil as “Anjos da Noite” (Night Angels in English). It`s so different and for no reason!”
Some of you probably would let escape a faint smile on a situation like this. Why? Well, you know better. There is something called localization, that is a whole study of how you should adapt a certain text (or title) to a certain culture because the apparent direct translation just doesn`t have the same effect and/or recognition.
The movie “SAW” was translated as “Jogos Mortais” (lethal games) in Portuguese, and “The Hangover” was translated to “Se beber, nao case” (If You Drink, Don’t Get Married).
What if I told you, who let that faint smile escape during the example comment or thought that title changes are not unreasonable, already know a lot about the value of one of the most technological, and even hardest, areas of the internet? One that you can and should directly benefit from by following the next posts on this blog? One that big agencies profit big bucks (it`s a monthly service) and that you could offer as well?
The name of this whole field is SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. And, with confidence, I can say that your already familiar localization services share the exact same nature as SEO but applied to the internet. This means that, the art and craft of a whole technological field that some people don`t use by not understanding and by not having the confidence to approach, you, translators, will be able to use in the future to your benefit because you are already familiar with the concept in a way that other fields don`t.
Isn`t that cool? You are special and have something in common with the technological world. I`m already happy for you!
Many translation agencies offer services called “Multilanguage SEO” and they get paid big bucks (it`s super expensive to require and it`s also a monthly service). That means they do that localization service, but dedicated to the internet!
Using Google Trends to elaborate more
For example, in the same way you try to figure out how the translated words “Love” and “Amor” will be received In Brazil for a client in the United States who want to make business there, SEO tries to see how it will be searched and if it will appeal to more or less the same number of people. For example, a lot of people search for “Love” in United States, so let`s use again our so loved free tool Google Trends!
Now, let`s use this same program to check a little comparison about the worlds “Love” and “Amor” in the United States!
Because “Amor” is a Portuguese word we just don`t expect any meaningful number to come out of it. But let`s make this search anyway, just to see how it would look like!
Excellent! As expected, the blue line representing “Love” trend much more in comparison to “Amor” in the United States because “Love” it`s a word in English and we are searching in an English speaking country!
Now we need to head to Brazil to then check how “Amor” trends in Brazil if we are going to use the word “Amor”!
As expected, “Amor” trends higher in Brazil because it`s a Portuguese speaking country!
The fun and interesting part of that search it`s not just confirming that a word when searched in a country that speak that language rank higher, but to notice that “Love” is searched considerably more in Brazil than the word “Amor” is searched in the United States. It`s actually so high, that it possible could rank higher than even a good number of ACTUALLY PORTUGUESE WORDS.
About the previous research, we could somewhat confirm that translating from “Love” to “Amor” doesn`t raise any special flag.
Blowing your mind
There is a word called “Paixão” (in Portuguese) or “Passion” (in English). We now are going to do our introductory SEO search through Google Trends to see if we should focus this particular website around the word Passion (let`s assume that we are trying to adapt this website from English to Portuguese). Like before, let`s compare those 2 in United States then in Brazil:
Again, as expected the Portuguese word in Brazil is stronger than the English word in Brazil, and the English word in United States in stronger than the English word in Brazil. But “Paixão”, even in Brazi,l look soooo strange and curious. It`s highly inconsistent that year and donsn`t look really good compared to how “Passion” trends in the United States.
Let`s now stop a minute to think what we can do to assist our client having the best online presence as possible and experience a real life flash back to the moment we said:
“notice that “Love” is searched considerably more in Brazil than the word “Amor” is searched in the United States. It`s actually so high, that it possible could rank higher than even a good number of ACTUALLY PORTUGUESE WORDS. “
Prepare yourself. This is a point of no return. If you find what will come next interesting, subscribe and share this blog post.
Let`s add, just as a matter of curiosity, “Paixão”, “Passion” and “Love” in a single search and compare those three in Brazil.
The word “Love”, in terms of trendiness, just murdered the other two. Even in Brazil, a Portuguese speaking country. That`s how powerful it is when we talk about trend potential.
Now see how interesting the conclusion will be, assuming that no other research is made and that only using Google Trends it`s enough for this particular client and to achieve those particular goals. You were hired in this example to do a very simple Multilingual SEO research and established that “Love” should be translated to “Amor” and also established that, instead of translating “Passion” to “Paixão” in certain particular areas of the website, that maybe the website could be slightly adapted to integrate the word “Love” as an adaptation to “Passion” in the Portuguese version. Of course, in practical work you would need to partner with a SEO specialist and work together to check a number of words and a bunch of other technical stuff, but assuming that in our universe that`s all you need, you nailed it!
For example, instead of the name of the website signature Pet be “Paixão”, now, because of your efforts, it`s called “Love” and it`s a success.
For a similar reason, series from Netflix like: “Dark”, are not translated to: “Escuridão” (the direct translation) and remain in its English form because appeal better to Brazilian users!
How interesting was that adventure where, instead of actually translating the word “Passion”, we used a simple SEO related tool to figure out that maybe we should adapt the way the website will use the word “Passion” in certain contexts as actually the world “Love” (assuming that the word “Amor” would not fit or feel too repetitive).
If you invest in knowing a little bit more about Multilinguistic SEO you will start to feel a little more confident to partner with a SEO specialist and start working towards offering this awesome service for your clients. Your efforts combined (the specialist and you as a translator) will help your clients to have stronger keywords and will help to use them in a better way, what I will explain in other blog posts that will address how SEO affect profits and how it can be used to your benefit as well. Of course, SEO has many (many(many(many))) technical aspects that would, once again repeating, require you to have a specialized partner to correctly apply it and research it, but I don`t feel that you and SEO are complete strangers to each other anymore and this might be what you need to start developing interest in the field.
We started talking about movie names and you ended discovering you knew more about SEO than you expected going on a little adventure with me, using a free tool that was introduced in this very same blog. So my message for you is:
Understanding technology is really not that complex. You just need someone to translate it for you!
Thank you for reading!
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OBS: Previously I said we would talk about how to have a professional email account! Sorry for posting something else instead! We will talk about this subject soon! We are just gathering the best material to provide you with a high quality post!