In the wake of my recent talk with a colleague on the topic ‘do we really need quality translation of landings/banners?’, I’ve decided to write an article to set the record straight on this subject and share my opinion on translations.
So, do we need a human translation or Google Translate will do? To answer this, let’s first look into what we actually do here. As a rule, we advertise a certain product, service or subscription. In most cases, we try to do our best to convert a user, who has visited our landing/seen our banner, into a customer. To do that, we should focus on attracting visitors to our page and make them interested in our offer. Can we make visitors stay if we use a clumsy translation full of mistakes? Well, actually, here I can make a pause and joke a bit, saying ‘sometimes yes’ as, in my experience, there were some clumsy translations with awesome CTR. Why?
Because sometimes stupid looking landings make visitors laugh and they click, expecting to see more funny stuff. It doesn’t work in most cases, though, but it’s possible that a visitor can convert. However, it’s rather an exception from the rules, not a rule at all. It’s easier to put ourselves in visitors’ shoes and think: ‘Would I click such a landing? Would I click a landing where the text isn’t funny, but rather confusing for me due to Google Translation or a great number of mistakes? The answer is no.’ That’s when everything falls into its place. So, we come to a simple conclusion: in most cases, Google Translate is our enemy, not a friend. Without a doubt, sometimes Google Translate can still help: there are similar languages that belong to the same group and sometimes, but not always, they are easily translated with the help of the machine translation, but you never know for sure whether the translation provided by Google is correct.
Always think of ROI and possible ways of investing $$$ in it. A mere $5 translation on Fiverr can help you earn thousands, that’s the point.
There are several ways of getting landings/banners in a desired language:
1. Use the services dedicated to ordering from freelance translators, and I’ll tell about some of them below.
2. Spy on competitors and borrow their successful landings/banners. There are some nuances here: a) keep in mind that a translation can still be clumsy and, by means of additional expenses and buying a better quality translation, we can polish up the creative content and get a better result. b) also don’t forget that if you’ve found a very good landing with great traffic, it might be the result of cloaker’s work, so the spying tool displays you a mere white page and you don’t see that very good landing with great traffic.
Ok, we’ve got the main idea, now let’s now move to details. For example, you’ve found a landing in a spying tool, it has accumulated much traffic, so it’s definitely good and you want to take this landing at once and test it. Ok. However, we understand that even if a landing’s good and brings profit, and we translate it correctly to make sure it’s really the best = we’ll get more money. Here’s the question:
How to check if the translation is correct?
For me ‘googling’ is the most convenient way. A text was translated by freelancers or I translated it myself, then I look for similar phrases in Google to understand whether people talk this way. Do they use nouns and verbs in a particular order, did they ask similar questions? If the phrases I see in Google are not exactly the same but similar ones, I can use them. I rarely use such a method now, but when I was at the start of my affiliate career it suited me quite well for the purpose of translating short phrases and allowed escaping greater expenses on translations.
Surely, proofreading would suit here. There are many translation services on the web and some proofreading services as well, which are used to check the ready translation. In most cases, such a service is worth from 15 to 50% of the translation cost, so sometimes it can be quite expensive if we translate a flog, for example, a big text landing for sweepstakes, etc.
A hint: if you work with such languages as Yiddish, Hebrew, Arabian, Thai, Chinese… in short, all languages, in which the Latin alphabet is not used, it’s better to provide written copies and screenshots to translators so they’ll be aware of how your text actually looks like in case you’ve taken it somewhere in a spying tool. In such languages, if you don’t know them, it’s easy to make a mistake that might change the meaning completely and that is, certainly, not desirable.
Where can a text be translated?
There are some services that I’m using at the moment. I’ll start with the most popular and inexpensive one — Fiverr. In short, freelancers from all over the world have gathered in this marketplace for only one purpose – to get $5 for their certain service. Such task is called a ‘gig’ there. There is a wide spectrum of services, from SEO/SMM to text translations and copywriting. You can have any small task done there for $5, and you can also create your custom gig and get many offers from freelancers that are free at the moment.
I think you’ve already guessed how Fiverr can be useful for us. Choose the Writing & Translation section, then go to Translation and look for a suitable freelancer. You can also create your own gig and describe what you need in detail – price, due date, etc. Here I’ll share some advice on how to choose a freelancer on this platform (they are called sellers there) if you don’t have your favorites yet. As you’ve probably understood, it’s rather an informal labor market and there are certain peculiarities about it. There are irresponsible translators, lazy ones or just incompetent guys. That’s why you need to test a little bit and choose people with the optimum quality of performing tasks in order to create your own staff of constant translators on Fiverr.
1. Look at ratings, feedback, photos (I always try to choose real people with real photos; it’s good when there are several photos and those pics are not a clipart of a nice-looking girl/guy from stock. Such an approach decreases the possibility of meeting a reseller or just an odd person hiding their personality)
2. Always choose a native speaker. Sometimes we need slang or the real language that residents of a target geo are using now. The same language can vary extremely in different countries. Choose a translator from the country you’re going to work with.
3. Choose translators in accordance with your audience. If you’re going to run a game related campaign for 16-year-olds, a 60+ translator isn’t likely to suit you.
4. Always check your text for mistakes, especially if you’re translating from a language that isn’t your mother tongue. Translators won’t think whether you made a mistake or not, they’ll just translate it as it’s stated in the source text.
5. If your text is a peculiar one, tell about it to a translator as some of them refuse to work with adult texts or some aggressive angles. If you discuss it in advance, you won’t lose time on finding another translator when the chosen one refuses.
6. Talk to audience using its language. Don’t be shy to give orders to a translator depending on your needs. For example, if you’re working with a young audience, write a note in a comment: ‘translate informally, use slang but stick to the main text’ as youngsters won’t respond to your official text. Vice versa, if you’re working with mature, middle-aged audience, avoid slang, make the text sound more formal, write it in a business language if needed.
7. Use proofreading. If it’s the first time you work with a translator, do a gut check of them. This is an investment. The person, who has translated a text well and flawlessly for you once, will save much of your time on searching and choosing performers for next orders.
8. Use several variants of a translation, assign the same text to different translators and split test. It’s not necessary and there’s a point in doing that only if you have a ready team and you want to improve it or if you need to compare different translators and evaluate the quality of their translation. Sometimes it can be very helpful as different people have a different view and translate differently as well. Some use much slang, some write in other words – all that can bring extra advantages and improve the result.
Pros of the service:
1. Really cheap. Here you can translate from 200 to 1000 words depending on the language and the translator’s price list just for $5. You can translate a pack of landings/banners/expressions in one gig.
2. If you have a list of reliable guys, you can constantly work and get translations on a due day. I strongly recommend checking every translator in the beginning and make lists of reliable ones in order to address them in future.
3. It’s convenient and simple. You don’t need to find a salaried translator and look through marketplaces and freelance websites, just choose, press a couple of buttons, and it’s done!
Cons of the service:
1. It takes much time. In general, I haven’t managed to get the same speed from Fiverr as from onehourtranslation yet. If I don’t need an urgent translation I use Fiverr, but when I can’t wait I’d rather spend more money. Well, there are translators that promise to make work done fast, but even they can have problems. There was the following situation:
Human factor. We were waiting for the work for two days already, but the translator had some problems that she didn’t even tell us about.
2. There are irresponsible workers. For example, there are people who will translate your text using Google Translate, but for $5.
3. In the beginning you have to spend some time choosing translators.
Let’s slowly move from cons of Fiverr to the service that can partially compensate these cons — onehourtranslation.
These days I mostly use onehourtranslation because of the speed of translation and proofreading.
• speed, I had my texts translated in just half an hour if I needed a translation into popular languages (English, French, German, etc.) It may not be so with rarer languages, for example, of some Eastern European countries – once they spent a day on translation, though I think it’s rather an exception because 90% of my projects were ready in an hour or two. That’s great if you urgently need to start running something, but you haven’t got a translation.
• it’s convenient to use, the interface is perfect, everything’s clear at a glance. Moreover, you can add proofreading at once and even choose an expertise for your translation (technical, medical, and so on will cost more, by the way):
Perhaps, these are all the pros, and I’d wish to say that the quality of translation is always high there, but, unfortunately, it isn’t always so. It’s the luck of the draw. OHT is a human translation service and there can be irresponsible translators. Sometimes I hear complaints from colleagues that they spotted translations similar to the Google Translate, so the human factor is present there as well, and, as they say, shit happens! Well, you can surely write a complaint, start a dispute, but that’s secondary for us when the translation was needed yesterday.
• price. For novices prices may seem savage in comparison with Fiverr both for translation and proofreading.
• if you liked someone’s work and want to use that person’s services, you need to add the translator to your ‘team’. In order to be able to do that, you should choose the MyTeam package and pay a monthly fee, you can’t choose translators for free. OHT offer this feature as an advantage, but, in my opinion, it’s rather a drawback and it would be much more convenient if there were a FREE possibility of choosing, taking into consideration the chance of a low-quality translation.
• I also consider the possibility of buying a low-quality translation a drawback because that happens, the chance is low but still… So, that means that you have to keep in mind that you’ll need proofreading if you want to be 100% sure in the quality of the translation, and we usually want to know that, so…
To sum it up, I’d like to say that I use both the services: Fiverr when I want to see my translation done in 2-3 days and OHT when I need to start testing something now. Anyway, I personally find using professional human translations more profitable because a well-translated landing on a ready bond will be paid off with a 90% possibility.
And, finally, I’ll tell you about one more marketplace that’s also worth checking.
Two popular services, Odesk and Elance, have merged into one and now it’s known as Upwork. Nowadays, it’s a very big and popular project, which is quite like a common freelance marketplace with some convenient goodies that can be of a great use for us. Here, same as on Fiverr, we can find any worker to fit our taste, from a novice to an expert.
Everything’s similar to a common freelance marketplace: you describe what you want in detail and choose the freelancer qualification. You can also choose some additional requirements, including a freelancer’s region (it’s convenient as we’re looking for a native speaker).
You can set a fixed price for a project or a payment per hour basis. Choose languages, upload the text requiring a translation and post the project. The peculiarities of choosing and the workflow itself resemble Fiverr, so I won’t write in detail how and what to do. I think if you’ve ever worked with freelancers, you understand everything already.
That’s all, friends. I’ll note that there are many similar services on the web, and I’ve just described the ones that I’m familiar with and that my colleagues and I use. Choose any service that suits your needs, work with trusted workers and wish you great ROI.