Web localization: Writing for people or for machines that people use

Web localization, or for instance, any kind of localization has been since its birth marked by the idea of adapting texts and products to a locale, language and how the local culture influences it. People who would most of the times use a search engine to finally land in the localized web.

The advent of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become at the past years one of the key elements of building of good-performing website: from the code to the texts and what words we choose when writing our content.

So that begs the question that if SEO is so important for web content to perform well, how much should it be taken into account during translation?  We know that more and more words and phrasings that are not entirely natural to the locale are used in website translation. It is as easy as to take a look at clothing webshop and think how often  those words are used in the given culture to refer to that clothing.

There is no shadow of doubt that trends in internet (not in real life or as internet reads IRL) are influencing the way webs are translated, and there is of course no doubt that SEO is playing a big role.

Even though we rarely talk about how search engines affect our understanding of good translation and instead we go on and on how to make the visitors feel at home, a website first of all needs to fulfill its main purpose: get visitors. Thus is becoming crucial to understand how our translations, how way cherry-pick our words, expressions, and formats will not only affect the visitor but the search engine bots that many times act as interpreters between us and, our final target, the visitor. This is a question and the answer is still in its infancy, though we know something our localized websites have to please both the visitors and the search engines.

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