By Susanne Evens of AAA Translation:
Going global is not an act of good will – it is a smart and necessary business strategy.
Establishing a global web presence provides one of the most affordable means of tapping into the international marketplace. An information-rich, well published web site sells your products and services to potential clients around the world 24/7. In addition, multilingual content optimizes the effectiveness of your site by communicating with your customers in their language, and it doesn’t cost the world!
Studies show that all Internet users are just like the rest of us: they rely heavily on websites in their native language to perform most tasks. What does this mean for businesses with websites trying to reach these markets? Something many companies are not paying enough attention to: localization.
In order to reach non-English speaking markets, businesses need to have websites that speak to their target audience in their language. As German Chancellor Willy Brandt once said, “If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying from you, dann müssen Sie in meine Sprache sprechen.” (Translation: then you must speak my language.)
The value of web content, especially multi-lingual content, has never been as great as it is today. It is the medium through which your customers interact with you on the web. Whether it is booking a train ticket, sending a request for quote or comparing product features, your customers don’t see your physical presence, just your content.
· If your website exists in only one language, then millions of potential customers may never hear about your business.
· There are more than a billion Internet users around the globe, but only a third of these users are native English speakers.
· International website visitors are three times more likely to explore a website and make a purchase if the website is provided in their native language (Forrester Research).
· Going global online is an affordable undertaking – small businesses may only need a summary of their products/services in a foreign language.
Which Countries? Which Languages?
When choosing which countries and languages to support, look at where you may have existing international relationships, where potential demand exists for your products/services internationally and the Internet’s top users. These are the top 10 translated languages on the worldwide web:
· Portuguese (Brazil)
Finding You Online
More than half of the traffic to major “.com” sites originates from foreign countries. First, through in-language content and effective international search engine optimization (SEO), these users need to be able to find your site quickly. Second, once they land on your site, they need to be able to navigate – quickly and easily – in their own language. If they can’t read your site in their own language immediately, they will leave, and you will lose a potential customer. You have three seconds to capture their interest!!
Don’t Go It Alone
When creating a global web presence, it’s critical to seek help from professionals. Seek qualified experts who understand localized language translation, know the cultural minefields you need to avoid and can help you with currency considerations and more. Remember that people will notice a poorly-translated or culturally insensitive website, but a successful global site will be “invisible.”
About the author:
Susanne Evens of AAA Translation®, offers comprehensive global services nationally and internationally, including translation and interpreting services in 150 languages.