Should You Translate Your Website?

According to Internet World Stats, English is the most used language on the internet. Many businesses realize this and believe that there must not be a large demand for localization of their online content. Even if companies do accept that their business could benefit from web page translation, many assume that the cost far outweighs the competitive advantage and return on investment. But what if I told you that according to research by the Common Sense Advisory, 70 percent of internet users are not native English speakers, and more importantly, 75 percent of internet users do not make important purchasing decisions if the product description is in a language they do not speak?

Despite the overwhelming evidence that customers prefer to visit websites that are written in their native language, less than 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies translate their content into a different language. This is a shocking statistic for those who understand how affordable translation of web content has become today.

Whether a company is unsure of how to translate a website or is wary of what a localization project will cost, there are many reasons why companies do not jump at the chance to translate their websites. Some websites may have thousands of pages, and the company could also have an abundance of collateral that is needed to support the marketing and sales process, so figuring out the need for translation of this content can be a daunting task. This is where companies need to take steps to show the ROI of the localization process, and bring to light the benefits of translation for all involved or ultimately show that it is not worth the cost.

Rewards of Investing in Website Translation

Let’s take a look at some research about the benefits and costs of translation for organizations. The Common Sense Advisory found that companies tend to have a very small budget for localization. Typically, companies are willing to spend less than 1% of total investment in Marketing and Research & Development, even with staffing and technology costs included. According to this study, Fortune 500 companies that raised their budget for translation were 1.5 times more likely to report a growth in total revenue.

Companies that do translate their content often collect a return that is substantially larger than their investment. When companies fail to localize their websites, they miss out on revenue from potential markets that do not have access to their brand because of the language barrier. Internet Retailer reported that since Israeli e-retailer Under.me translated their website into German, conversions for their German customers increased from a rate of 1 to 2 percent. The French version of their website boosted the conversion rate in France from 0.67 percent to 1 percent.

A multitude of large corporations realize that translation of content can increase revenue exponentially. Microsoft now makes a large portion of revenue off of their territories outside of the U.S. after translating their products into over 90 foreign languages, while Apple has translated content in 40.

Research is key

There is proof that there are audiences out there for localized collateral and websites, and companies need to start researching to identify the next steps. Important things to consider include where the target markets are located, what channels are best used to connect with them, and what resources are needed to make the push through these channels.

A significant amount of budgeting and preparation should take place when looking for opportunities abroad. For some companies, it is necessary to configure an entry strategy involving advanced analytics and tools. For others, it could be as simple as figuring out where the highest demand is based on traffic to a website or quantities of current shipments to certain countries. Once a strategy is in place, companies can then begin to push into a new market through localization of a website, internal documentation, customer support, and more, all while keeping the brand message consistent. Throughout the process, this strategy can be tweaked and altered depending on the level of success along the way.

There are countless opportunities in the world for companies to take advantage of, but it is up to each one to locate their next major audience and start communicating online in the new target’s language.

About Global LT

Global LT, formerly Langua Tutor, was founded in 1979 and for over 35 years, our mission has been to empower corporate employees to live and work successfully anywhere in the world with our language and cultural training, translation and interpretation services as well as expatriate destination and global workforce talent development programs.

Headquartered in Troy, Michigan, with representatives in Boston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, London and Shanghai, Global LT employs over 100 corporate employees worldwide, with a dedicated network of over 2000 teachers, translators, trainers and specialists who deliver our services.

Please fill out a contact form for more information or call + 1.248.786.0999.

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