Think Global, Translate to Local

This image shows all the world

Does your company have a website in other languages than your own? If not, maybe you should think about all the benefits that translation of your website to other commonly used languages would bring. Having websites in both your native language and in English is a good start, but is it enough? You never know who might visit your website or want to contact you from other countries. Becoming at least somewhat international does not hurt now. In fact, it is important, even if you plan to focus mostly on local markets.

You might think having a website translation into English is enough since almost everyone speaks English. Well, you would be wrong, since only around 28% of the 3 billion internet users speak and understand English. Even though 55% of the content on the Internet is in English. According to Common Sense Advisory 72% of consumers spend most of their time online browsing sites that are in their own language. These people also said that to buy your products you should have a website available in their language. The European Commission’s analytical report shows that 90 % of people from Europe like to use websites in their native language. But 42% of these people said that they never buy from sites that are not available in their mother tongue.

Benefits of multilingual websites

Translated websites and online shops are much better for building trust between the product/service provider and the customer. Than places with a limited language selection. Multilingual websites should include in your business strategy. Customers want to be sure of what they are buying. So, using a language that they may not understand makes them uncertain and possibly turns them away from your website.

Having your website available in many languages is also a cost-effective way to market your company. When people from other countries visit a nearby area they will most likely check websites of local companies. And choose the place that has a website available in their own language. This may lead to new customers, especially if they plan to stay longer in the area. If you run a restaurant in the area where travellers visit often and your website is available in their language. They are more likely to check your place of business and maybe even buy something. Most importantly, your company will have way more visibility in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. But keep in mind that these search engines do not default in countries like China, Japan and France.

So, having websites available in many languages gives a higher chance of being found in other search engines also.

Which languages translation to focus on?

The reason for English being the most common language on websites is that the Internet started on that language. Now people everywhere around the world have access to the Internet. There are much higher markets available for other languages also. Which languages should you think then? 85% of the users in Common Sense Advisory and the European Commission’s studies speak one of these 10 languages. English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, German, French or Malay. There are around 7000 languages in the world, but only 23 of them account for half of the world’s population.

So, if you are a small or medium-sized company, you should only target around 3-5 foreign countries. For example, if you are a Finnish company you should probably focus on Swedish, Russian and English languages. Also, to Finnish unless you plan to market your company on a wider scope.

The data collecting services, like Google Analytics, can be used to collect. And then analyze data about who and from where people visit your website. You can focus on the specific countries from which most of the people that visit your website come from. But what if you do not know anyone who can communicate in the required languages? This is something you should consider when hiring people. To make sure you have customer service and help desk available in those languages. If you do not have an online store, you need someone who is able to speak fluent English. In addition to the other required languages, for making sales happen.

This image shows the translation in different language of word "hello"

No time or people for translation your websites? Here are some tips for you!

There are several ways to proceed, but also essential elements that you should take into account. You can hire a professional translator, buy services from companies that provide the necessary language. Or to hire employees that can speak and understand those languages. Having at least a couple of multilingual employee is a big benefit with foreign customers.

Of course, there is always the option of a free translation from Google. But that does not send a good impression to your target audience. In a lot of cases, the translation via Google Translate contain errors or misspelt sentences. It will give an unprofessional impression to customers if they realize that your business is using the most common tool.

Human translations are always a better option. Since automatic software has not yet reached the point of being able to understand all nuances of languages. The vocabulary of this translation software is also still lacking, but there have been some improvements over the years. There are plenty of freelancers and companies that offer translation services for reasonable prices.

How to create a website with multiple languages translation

When choosing between website builders, pick the one that suits your needs best, and offers enough for you to easily combine different language options in one site, while maintaining the outlook and all information regardless of the website-visitors’ country of origin.

After all, it is important to remember why we make websites at all. It is because we want the right people to find us, we want them to find whatever it is that they are looking for, and most importantly we want them to do what we want them to do. For example, we want them to see what we have on offer, to buy our products from online stores or to find the company’s address and contact information.

Once your company has a website and an online store, get them translated to other common languages in order to expand your potential customer base. Also, try to focus on multilingual people when you hire new personnel. This will help you in the long run to get more customers, sales and most importantly visibility around the world. When people can understand your website they are more likely to buy and even recommend you to their friends and family. It is time to secure your foothold on the Internet and build multilingual websites.

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