On June 30th, the ATA’s Japanese Language Division (JLD) hosted a webinar titled “The Challenges of Websites and Online Marketing Translation Targeting the Japanese Market, and How to Succeed” featuring Motoko Hunt as the speaker.
Ms. Hunt started the webinar off with statistics on the nature of internet activities, specifically, the percentage of interactions that start in a search engine. I was blown away to learn that 76% of Japanese internet activities begins like that. The statistics highlighted the importance of having proper SEO keywords to bring more traffic to a website.
During the presentation, Ms. Hunt also shared examples of different ways one can do research to find the best SEO keywords for the product or website. I appreciated the examples she gave with searching for wedding gifts using variations such as 結婚お礼 and ウエディングギフト. While most of the results of the search were the same, there was a slight difference in the order of the results. This shows that changing the keywords can make a website go from second place on a result page to first place.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, Ms. Hunt emphasized that just translating the content is not enough, because it is not optimized. To truly maximize the effectiveness of SEO keywords, the content must be localized. Ms. Hunt made the point that when translating into Japanese, often keywords are omitted, moved, or even translated with a less popular word or spelling. Her example of “conditioner” being translated as コンディショナー versus リンス greatly showcased the difference between translating and localizing. Furthermore, as a student, I was thrilled to hear a professional talk about how a website is only truly localized if the links take the viewer to a localized page and how the <alt> tags on images also must be translated.
The webinar was filled with easily overlooked, but highly important information that is crucial to the work that we do. Ms. Hunt put forth this knowledge in a simple way with relevant examples which illustrated her points perfectly. Thank you for the wonderful presentation.