Trying to make your business or brand known internationally is not that simple as you may think. Part of the job to make your big entrance in the international market is translating your business’ website, but it’s much more than just a translation.
English reaches only approximately 25% of global internet users. But, 61.3% percent of websites are written in English. Thus, 6 out of 10 companies are not communicating efficiently with 40% of international users. This is a huge opportunity for smart marketers!
In 2020, the market research “can’t read, won’t buy” by CSA Research demonstrated the huge importance of having a multilingual website, by using representative samples from 29 countries around the world.
This study showed that:
-40% of prospects won’t buy in another language that’s not their own.
-65% of them prefer content in their native language.
On a total of 2,430 online consumers from 8 different countries, 56.2% said that having information in their own language is more important than price.
Some examples of business who enjoyed big returns by adding multilingual content to their online strategy are:
-Net Media Planet, which reported a +70% increase in the conversion rate after localizing their site and paid ads.
Many decision-makers in the Western world think that English is enough to communicate effectively with everyone. However, that’s not true for companies in other areas, like Asia, where the main language is not English. Even in Latin America!
Knowing that, a multilingual website can help you target your audience better. As its name refers, a multilingual site hosts more languages than the default one, allowing users to access information about your products and services in their native tongue. It will suggest that you have a real presence in that area.
When you decide that you want multilingual content , then you should consider that…
-Localization is better than just translation.
-Quality translation is better than a poor one.
You need quality translation because otherwise your content will look amateurish, compared to something written by a native speaker.
Reading a website or content that’s full of errors, or that doesn’t make sense, will backfire, decreasing the possibilities of sales and conversions.
The translation should be localized for the target market. If you want to enter Germany, your words will be more convincing if you mention German cities, food, and holidays, rather than generic ones. And using the German that natives speak, with their typical slang and words. Not standard sentences generated sic et simpliciter by a machine translation.
Automatic translation is easy, fast, and cheap. But it does not provide the quality of human translation. It will contain errors that humans don’t make. In some cases, it won’t make sense!
adding professional editing to machine translation may be enough, positioning you halfway between quality localization, the higher end, and machine translation, the lower end.
Using a native speaker will make sure that your services and products are presented with the same attention that you put in their management.
A very important aspect where machine translation can’t match human quality is SEO. Doing SEO is an art by itself, and choosing the right keywords to improve site traffic is fundamental. But they will vary, depending on the language.
Another reason to prefer professional translations is the number of variations that each word can have when translating it. Taking as example the word “jump rope” in Spanish.
This search term has many different Spanish translations, which vary depending on the location: the Spanish from Spain is different from the Spanish from Mexico. Machine translation may produce meaningless or funny expressions.
By doing a multilingual website we are not only translating a language, we are virtually changing the location of our business, presenting ourselves as a local company. This is what improves positioning and conversions in the global market.
Having presented the key reasons to translate and localize your website, what about the possible errors? These are some bad practices that will lower your results:
- Relying solely on machine translation.
- Giving the job non-native speakers of the target language.
- Translating just some pages of the website, not the entire content.
- Not caring about the SEO of the translated content.