Reasons why you should consider translating your website
Being born in an English-speaking country can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, English is undoubtedly the common language of the business world, the most widely spoken second language and the official language of some of the world’s largest countries in terms of economic potential and 20 of the world’s most important organizations. On the other hand, this omnipresence prevents many native English speakers from even considering the integration of an additional language into their working environment.
Failure to translate content, be it technical, commercial or purely informative, can cost your company a real fortune. No company can afford to neglect the potential that such an important market can bring.
Although it is true that English is one of the most widely spoken languages, choosing not to translate its content into Spanish, German or Chinese, to name a few may be one of the biggest business mistakes you can make. Unfortunately, many companies will end up learning this the hard way.
According to a recent EuroBarometer study, English is considerably less popular than we would like to believe. For example, it is the second language of only 39% of French, 35% of Italians and 23% of Spaniards. These figures may not be alarming if it were not for the fact that these are the countries with the greatest affinity for English. This situation worsens drastically if the countries we are talking about are Russia, China or Brazil, for example.
As a result of globalization, working with international clients and partners is becoming increasingly important. Although English is quite widespread, many people whose mother tongue is not English prefer to familiarize themselves with products and services, or simply interact with companies in their own language.
Most companies choose to outsource translation services to agencies rather than to do it in-house, recognizing that these companies are often efficient and inexpensive. For many companies it is not a difficult decision as external agencies or freelancers offer a variety of service packages and are usually much cheaper than recruiting and training new staff or devoting internal resources to translation.
In a shrinking world thanks to Internet and shared content, most of these are in English, specifically 55% of the content on the network of networks is in that language, but it is not enough:
- Only 26% of the population with Internet access are native English speakers,
- 70% of consumers are more likely to buy if the website is displayed in their own language,
- 90% of Europeans choose to read the website in their own language, if available.
But what languages should my website and/or documentation be translated into?
Well, this question really doesn’t have an easy answer because it depends on a number of factors, including the following:
- The main international markets in which your company operates or plans to operate,
- Analytical data generated by your website traffic across countries and its link to final sales/contracting results, including, but not limited to, social networking data, visits, website SEO, etc.
- Your budget allocated to the translation process.
With this information in hand, one might ask oneself why should I invest in translating my website into several languages? Well, I can think of some good reasons for this and I am sure that, if you look at each case in particular, you can find other equally valid reasons, but I will now indicate those which I personally consider to be the most strategic, from a purely business point of view:
Presence in foreign markets
If your company already operates in foreign markets or plans to do so soon, it makes a special sense to provide information about products or services in the language(s) of current or potential customers worldwide.
Sustainable enterprises are based on the concepts of income and profits. If your company’s growth rate becomes stagnant in your home market, going to foreign markets where your product or service may be a good option can help you continue to grow your business.
What does the competition do?
Competitive advantage is a powerful force in decision-making. If your competition does not have a multilingual website, translating your own will help you differentiate yourself and stay ahead of the competition. If your competition has a multilingual website, then you don’t want them to take advantage of it, do you?
Reinforcement of the brand
First impressions count: people will judge your company according to what they find when they access your website (since it is your window to the world). Adapting the message and look of the website to different cultures will help you build trust in your brand, building your reputation globally.
It is mandatory
In certain sectors, international companies need to comply with national regulations that require them to have information on their products or services in the local language. Typical examples include Health and Safety Services and Manufacturing.
International goods movement
If your online store or company agrees to ship items to other countries, translating your website can make a difference. Providing information in different languages, including adapting to appropriate measures and currencies, can improve confidence and boost sales.
The effect of Social Media on trademarks
In the world of Social Media and digitisation impact your brand may have a multitude of followers and potential customers around the world before you even consider becoming “global”. Offering information in the language of those followers will allow you to take advantage of that benefit in “social marketing”.
Analyse your website data and check where visitors live and in what language they are browsing your website. What was the outcome with that audience? Does it offer the level of customization they demand?
Improved conversion rates
If you receive visits from users with languages other than those offered by your website, translating it into those languages could help improve conversion rates. This is especially true for acquisitions of significant value, which tend to require further investigation prior to purchase.
User experience and web positioning
A personalized user experience on your website, including having it in different languages, establishes a subjective connection with your global audience. In this way, they will spend more time there and return more regularly. In addition, this will also benefit the SEO of your website.
If your company has offices and work centres in other countries, the translation of technical, financial, organizational, etc. documentation results in improved working conditions and business performance.
Companies that still believe that the rest of the world will adapt to content in English (or a single language) should be prepared to lose, or at least cease to earn millions of euros each year. It’s only a matter of time before translating each of a company’s texts into Spanish, Italian or Chinese becomes a business obligation. Now is the time to get ahead of this future trend and be one of the leaders of the vanguard.
- On 25/01/2018