Is translation of your website optional? Unless every single one of your customers and prospects understands your language fluently and uses the same currency, the answer is probably “no.” Translation is mission-critical for many firms that do business across borders or target customers within their own domestic multicultural market.
Nine Ways to Benefit from Translating Your Website
Research repeatedly shows that website translation enables firms to expand their customer base and increase revenue. The process includes translating content into various languages, along with adapting your site to meet local business laws and practices related to currency, payment, fulfillment, and regulatory issues.
1. Translation gives you access to more customers. Many people simply won’t buy your products unless you market to them in their language. A study by Common Sense Advisory showed that 72.1% of international consumers spend most or all of their time on sites in their own language. The 13 languages that allow you to reach 90% of the world’s online wallet are English, Japanese, German, Spanish, French, Simplified Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Korean, Arabic, Russian, and Swedish. And each language you add allows you to reach more customers wherever it’s spoken.
2. Translation unlocks global revenue from those customers. Overall economic growth has stalled in North American and Western European markets. As a result, companies headquartered in those regions often find it to be a requirement, rather than an option, to offer additional translated versions of their products and services. Nowadays, they often need to act fast to capture customers with rising incomes in emerging and frontier markets before their local and regional competitors do so.
3. Translation enhances your existing market presence – even at home. Do you own 100% of any market that you’re already in today? Doubtful. But you can penetrate deeper into the markets in which you’re already present by adding more languages. Even just one language – such as Spanish or Chinese in the United States, Polish in the United Kingdom, or Turkish in Germany – can help you reach customers in the locations in which you’re already spending marketing dollars, making that money go even further.
4. Translation costs very little. Your investment in translated websites will be insignificant compared to the international revenue it will enable. After all, the average cost per word to create original content is 65 cents, while the average cost per word for translated content is only 10 cents. Your financial and purchasing teams will be on-board once they recognize that millions of dollars of additional income can be generated through a very minimal investment.
5. Translation doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re concerned about losing control of your web content as it moves into other languages, rest assured that you can easily outsource the function to professional language service providers. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel – plenty of companies (including the competition) have already learned the most painful lessons on your behalf.
6. Translation makes it easier to win against competitors. You can leverage your investment in global markets based on a defensive or offensive strategy. Either way, the goal is to prevent challengers from dominating markets that could have a negative effect on sales, revenue, or overall brand perception in other markets, including the one at home.
7. Translation provides your brand with a consistent voice. Over the last decade especially, firms have learned that consistent branding with local flavor represents a corporate asset with a hard dollar value. Research shows that a minimum of 16 languages are now required if you want to be among the best at remaining competitive online around the world.
8. Translation allows you to protect and enhance your global reputation. If your organization is not set up to implement every product or service launch around the world, then you risk relinquishing control to your customers. With machine translation readily available for many languages, people buy, write reviews, and provide feedback on your offerings whether or not you officially launch in their market.
9. Translation is often required by local markets anyway. You may be barred from selling your product or service unless it has been translated, along with your website, in countries that have language compliance laws such as Belgium and Canada. Similar rules often apply for regulated industries such as energy, financial services, life sciences, telecommunications, and utilities. Even if you’re not in a regulated field, you may be required to translate in order to support customers who are.
English may be the language of business, but it’s often not the language of your local prospects and customers. The demand for language directions such as Chinese to Zulu and Turkish to Chinese is increasing as new trading agreements are established. According to the International Monetary Fund, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) alone will account for as much as 61% of global growth over the next three years. Currently, these five countries comprise 42% of the world’s population and 18% of its GDP. And right behind them are Indonesia, Mexico, and Turkey as fast-growing economies with middle classes whose purse strings are loosening and whose wallets are expanding. Now is the time to put your international business strategy in order, supported by an appropriate translation plan for your website, to allow your team to support local prospects and customers according to their expectations.