Learn a language, help your writing, improve your prospects

The Guardian recently reported that “there is increasing demand around the world for [website] translations into English…particularly inside businesses”.

This is an interesting and exciting prospect for me, as a web copywriter living in Spain, learning Spanish and hoping to gain clients here.

Increase credibility and improve search results

As well as needing help translating content into English in the first place, many companies have websites with English (‘the language of business’) pages that, while understandable, could be better.

I already offer help in this area, and have rewritten the English pages for a local Spanish web agency. It recognised that to attract the substantial English businesses in our locality, well-written web pages provided credibility and would help it to appear in relevant search results.

Write appropriately for your readership

But learning a language doesn’t just mean adding another service to your offering; it can help to make you a better writer. John Clifford, Quality Manager at corporate web agency Investis, has a diploma in French translation from the Chartered Institute of Linguists (IoL). He thinks that:

“What [translation exams] assess as much as anything is your ability to write clearly and correctly in the appropriate register for the readership in your mother tongue…so it’s a highly relevant qualification for a copywriter even if most of the work you do is original authoring rather than translating.”

Understand the need for clear and simple content

Another benefit is understanding the need to write simply and clearly in whatever language you speak. Websites are global, which means a large proportion of a site’s potential audience will speak a first language other than the one it’s written in.

If you can empathise with the challenges of understanding and navigating a website written in another tongue, it can only bring greater awareness to your writing.

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