Celebrating the European Day of Languages in Leeds


Join us and other members of the Leeds language community in celebrating the European Day of Languages on 26 September.

For a list of events happening in the Leeds area, visit

At Web-Translations, we are excited to be participating in some of the events:

Francesca has been interviewed on video as part of a career advice programme for sixth-form students, Jennifer will be presenting at the Language Showcase on the 26th, and Jasmine will be attending the Business Breakfast on the 27th.

Please stop by and say hello!

Google’s new Expanded Text Ads: what we understand so far

With the new-format Google ads running alongside standard text ads for nearly a month, we’ve noticed some quirks, understood a bit more, and most importantly – seen the benefits.

Google announced the change back in May, and launched the new Extended Text Ads (ETAs) at the end of July.

Advertisers have until 26 October to create old-style standard text ads (STAs); after this only ETAs can be created. Google hasn’t given an end-date for running STAs, but it’s in your best interests to make new ads. We recommend you start by running both sorts of ads simultaneously; if your ETAs don’t perform as well as your old ads, tweak them until you are comfortable removing the old ads.

The Google guide to expanded text ads is helpful, as is the Google blog post from the day of the launch.

More Content
The old-style character limit rule of 25/35/35 no longer applies. ETAs have 2 headlines and a description, and the fields will allow 30 characters in each headline + 80 characters in the description. However, the new format is based on the pixel width of a letter instead of the number of characters, so it is highly possible that your ad might be truncated, even if it is approved by Google. Google has recommended the combined number of characters in the headline should be kept to 33 to ensure the headlines are are not truncated, but this seems like a wasted opportunity if you might be able to use 60 characters… The ad preview is not entirely reliable, either. It seems the only way to know your ad displays 100% correctly is to actually see the ad running, which isn’t very helpful.

Overall, you can make longer ads, which give you more of an opportunity to convince someone to click on your ad.

The lack of a set character limit is making translating the ads more tricky; each ad needs to be checked in the editor/preview, and tweaked as necessary.

Longer Display URL
Previously the display URL as a field with 35 characters, but the new version combines the domain from the Final URL field with 2 fields of 15 characters each, separated by / characters, which will allow the display URL to take someone deeper into your site, but possibly not to a specific product, which you may have been able to do before.

Google says the new format is to help advertisers ‘succeed in this mobile-first world’. With an iPhone 6, I noticed that the entire first screen is taken up with sponsored ads, requiring me to scroll down to see the organic search results.

Improved CTR
At Web-Translations, we have seen higher CTRs for our primary keywords with the new ETAs. Perhaps our competitors haven’t all started using the ETAs, but whatever the reason, the ads are performing better for us. The data below is based on English-language ads from 2016.  ETA data is only from the month of August; we expect these figures will drop in the coming months as more companies move to ETAs.


keyword Standard Text Ad
Extended Text Ad
professional translation 2.41% 3.43%
translation services uk 2.19% 3.23%
professional website translation 3.26% 5.36%

Mistaken identity: the importance of checking your references…


Following Andrea Leadsom’s withdrawal from the leadership race, it was announced yesterday that Theresa May will take over from David Cameron as PM later this week. The news was soon trending on Twitter, with Brits across the country documenting their reactions.

Amidst the ranting, raving and jokes lay one subtle spelling error that caused a stir: Teresa May (without the ‘h’) actually refers to a UK Glamour Model, not the next Prime Minister. It is evident that Teresa uses Twitter as a marketing tool to good effect; as such, we hope that the added publicity was positive rather than negative. Nevertheless, it must have quite bemusing to suddenly find yourself involved in such a public discussion! We noticed this morning that Theresa (with an ‘h’) had now taken over as a trending topic; it seems that the general public did eventually check their spelling. (more…)

Poochas gracias!

Fran and Jasmine enjoyed meeting all of the lovely guide dogs

Fran and Jasmine enjoyed meeting the lovely guide dogs

Thank you to Gateley solicitors for inviting us to your Guide Dogs for the Blind event.

Well done on your fundraising efforts – we hope that the dog named ‘Gateley’ has a long and productive life as a companion.

Brexit: what does the future hold for exporters?

Last Friday the nation woke up to the news that the public had voted by a slim majority to leave the European Union. The shock waves were felt across the world instantaneously: the pound dropped to its lowest level in 30 years, the stock markets were in chaos and the political and social repercussions of a resounding ‘no’ to the European project raised questions for other member state governments.

Watching the political situation unfold over the past ten days has not always made for pleasant reading, and – as is customary for such an uncertain time – it would seem that almost everybody has put their two cents in. As an office we have strong links to Europe both through our multilingual projects team and international freelancer and client networks. As such, we couldn’t help but wonder what the future might hold for us as a translation company, and for the exporters we translate for.

As a translation company, we are not altogether worried for now. We work with a wide range of European and non-European languages, and recognise that the need for language services prevails even whilst trade lines are re-drawn. The languages we work with the most are those which are most widely used in eBusiness; these trends do shift, but not over night. A remote workforce also makes most translation companies less susceptible to economic uncertainties at home than others. So, to exporters. What will the next few months be like? (more…)

A sad day for Britain


To all of our European translators and clients – we are disappointed that the UK voted to leave the EU. We are proud to call ourselves European, and as a company we supported the “Stronger In Europe” campaign. You may have seen our name in The Times this week. The letter to the editor, including the list of signatories, is available on the Stronger In website.

“Britishness” is in demand around the globe

“Our research shows that 70% of British business do not consider exporting” – UK Trade & Investment (UKTI)

Why not? It’s so easy to have your website translated, allowing you to trade internationally. Different currencies don’t pose a problem, either. In Olden Times (the 90s!), businesses were required to make a substantial investment in order to explore a new market. Now you can test the waters quickly and cheaply.

At Web-Translations, we offer Microsite and Website localisation packages to help you launch globally. For as little as £395 exc VAT, you can create an international online presence.

“Britishness” is in demand around the globe…export to profit from it. British exports amount to £24.9bn, according to the Sunday Times*, however these numbers are in decline based on the previous year. Theories as to why confidence in the export sector has dropped include uncertainly about the EU referendum, preventing companies from starting new export plans, and lack of government support, as well as an economic slowdown in China.

If your business needs support, the UKTI may be able to guide you about foreign legislation, which products you’re allowed to sell, and what you need to include on product labelling, etc. If they can’t help you, they know who will. If a Brexit is the concern, consider localising for a range of countries, including those outside the EU.

Localising your website is the key to exporting successfully, and unlocking the potential of foreign markets.

*29.05.16 / Business section page 9

Buy Yorkshire 2016

Jenn and Jasmine_edited

In May, we exhibited for the first time at the Buy Yorkshire conference held at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. As a Yorkshire-based company, we are proud of what the region has to offer, and were eager to take part in an event focused on the idea that “we are stronger together”.

At Web-Translations, we have no sales team, so we rounded up everyone from our MD to our Vendor Manager to come and talk about what we do at Web-Translations. In hindsight, we realise that a Sales Executive would be a great asset to the team – so if you’re interested in working with us, please contact us! We are a friendly bunch and don’t bite.

Over 5,000 people came to the conference, whether it was to see what Nigel Farage had to say, or to stock up on sweets at the Clear Workplace stand (@Clear Workplace: thank you – they were delicious, especially the gummy snake!). We enjoyed chatting with visitors and exhibitors, and we learnt a good deal about what local businesses are planning for the rest of 2016.

With over 20 seminars and workshops, there was plenty to keep delegates busy, so we would like to thank everyone who took the time to speak with us. Thank you also to the Yorkshire Mafia – it was a brilliant event!

Boost your multilingual SEO with hreflang tags

Multilingual website? Make sure you use hreflang tags to indicate to Google what language a page is in; proper usage of these tags can improve search engine positioning for your multilingual sites.

You can also mark content for a particular country.

The tags should only be used when the same content is available in more than one language. All of the languages available should be listed together as a complete set in the header. For example, on a French page you would not have only:


but instead:


Make sure that the pages you are tying together have the same content – although in different languages of course. Confusing Google with mis-matched sets of pages will hurt rather than help.

We use the WPML WordPress plugin, which adds the tags automatically so as to avoid any mis-matching. It also allows manual locale selection.

For more info on how WPML handles the hreflang tag, and for general information on how to use Google’s Webmaster tools to check that everything is working correctly, please read WPML’s developer information article on hreflang tags.

‘Czechia self’: what’s in a name?

Czech flag

By 9am this morning, the Czech Republic was trending in the UK, as news that the country’s parliament is discussing changing its name to ‘Czechia’ hit our media.

Proponents of the name change put forward a range of compelling arguments. For starters, ‘Czech Republic’ is a political term, reflecting constitutional changes brought about by the splitting of Czechoslovakia into two countries in 1993. Secondly, the length of ‘Czech Republic’ means that the shortened ‘Czech’ is already used for some sports team kits and other product branding; ‘Czech’, however, is a reference to the country’s people rather than its geographical location. Thirdly, other countries refer to the Czech Republic using a variety of unofficial shortened versions, which results in confusion. (more…)

Come visit us at Buy Yorkshire 2016!

buy yorkshire 2016

Web-Translations will to be exhibiting at Buy Yorkshire 2016 on 17th and 18th May at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

Come visit us at Stand 151 in the Royal Armouries Hall.

Buy Yorkshire is a terrific multi-format platform for innovation, conversation, business education, connecting and building better business relationships.

It’s a huge event built on a simple idea… that We are Stronger Together. When people come together to share ideas and build relationships, in meaningful numbers, we can really make difference to our own businesses and to our wider community…

Top 5 Twitter techniques


Is there a formula for writing a perfect tweet?

Composing a 140-character tweet, which must entice despite its brevity, requires some thought for anyone wishing to use Twitter as a marketing tool. Here are our top tips:


Why do we think that language affects personality?


One of the major misconceptions about languages and translation is the presumed presence of direct equivalents. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked ‘what’s the German word for …?’ and had to answer ‘well, there isn’t one’ or ‘How would you say … in German?’ ‘you wouldn’t – at least not in that context’.

Indeed, for anyone who speaks two languages it often becomes glaringly apparent that their two chosen vernaculars don’t allow them to express themselves in exactly the same way. Generally, this is a great thing; how dull would things be without variety? Yet this observation lends weight to a rather controversial argument: that languages may actually shape the way we see the world and the way we interact with it. (more…)

So, what do the Projects Team do?

The translation industry is extremely varied in nature. Huge multinational language service providers are contrasted with agencies home to less than 10 full time members of staff. Translators, reviewers and terminologists may work in-house, or freelance anywhere in the world. With skills required for various roles within the industry overlapping, very few people seem to wear just one professional hat. With this in mind, we created the following infographic to explain the various stages our Projects Team go through every day. We think this shows what a varied range of skills the job requires! (more…)

The number of languages on the internet is rising

Former German chancellor Willy Brandt is cited to have said that ‘Sie verkaufen und ich kaufe, sprechen wir Deutsch. Aber Sie kaufen und ich verkaufe, dann sprechen wir Ihre Sprache’ (If you’re selling and I’m buying, we’ll speak in German. But if you’re buying and I’m selling, then we’ll speak your language). You’d be hard pressed to claim that Brandt was alone in this sentiment; the positive effect that multilingualism can have upon a company’s global impact is something posited by the translation industry as a reason for our very existence. Yet there are some who would suggest that in the age of global communication, multilingualism online is becoming less paramount. Some would even go as far as to suggest that English is becoming the lingua franca of the web, rendering other languages as obsolete. We feel this couldn’t be further from the truth. (more…)

Nordic Noir: warming Brits up to the prospect of subtitled TV?

As an office of linguists, the recent TV viewing schedule has been a dream come true. We’re hooked on Channel 4’s Cold War spy drama Deutschland ’83, and can’t wait to see what happens next on French political thriller Spin. Thanks to creepy drama Les Revenants, French language productions have been making waves in the online streaming world too, whilst Colombian Spanish has found a wider audience with Netflix original series Narcos, tracking the life of Pablo Escobar.

Amazing foreign language productions are nothing new, but the reception they are getting in Britain is certainly something worth talking about. Famed as a nation who can’t (or won’t) learn languages to any reasonable level, imported TV shows and films have traditionally had a hard time making waves on this side of the Channel.

Perhaps we’re finally seeing a turning of the tide. But why? (more…)

Piano craze


Last year, Leeds-based Besbrode Pianos’ website “went into meltdown with enquiries from potential buyers in just one country”.

Their sales have more than trebled since then, all due to interest from the world’s biggest emerging market…


‘Most Valuable Translator 2015’ – The results are in!

2016 is already proving to be a busy one for the Web-Translations office. After a well-earned Christmas break, our Projects Team have now been hard at work for just over two weeks. We took some down time today to finally decide upon our Most Valuable Translators for 2015; each of us had a tough fight on our hands!

We’re extremely grateful to our network of linguists, whose extensive talents allow us to offer translation services across a wide range of industries. We’re lucky to work with a huge number of truly valuable translators; our MVT awards showcase just some of these. (more…)

One does not simply rely upon automated translation: users left wondering what Google are Tolkien about.

Google Translate caused a bit of a stir this week when some temporary irregularities with its Ukrainian into Russian translation functionality were revealed. For a short period of time, the word ‘Russia’ was translated as ‘Mordor’ – the evil region of Middle Earth controlled by Sauron in The Lord of the Rings. Other mistranslations included ‘Occupant’ for ‘Russian’ and ‘Sad little horse’ for Russian diplomat Sergei Lavrov.

Whether you want to look at these mistranslations in isolation or in unison, they are undeniably politically charged. Google claim this to be the work of a bug in some of their algorithms; we consider here in a little more detail how this could be done. (more…)

The return of ‘Most Valuable Translator’!

Most-Value-Translator-2015We’ve had the Grammys, the Oscars and the Emmys, but before 2015 draws to a close, there is one more awards ceremony left to look out for… that’s right: after a short hiatus the Web-Translations ‘Most Valuable Translator’ awards are back! Here in the Projects team, we recognise the importance of our freelancer network to the continued success of our business; we’re lucky to work with some truly talented linguists! We value each and every freelancer that we collaborate with, but take the festive period as a time to give some recognition to those people that we felt really went the extra mile for us in 2015. Voting will take place over the next week; stay tuned for the results!

Get in touch

How can we help?

By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies. For more information, read our Privacy Policy

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.