It’s quite understandable if you should choose to concentrate in using English when communicating with overseas clients and customers. However, despite the fact that English is still a preferred international language it’s not necessarily the best language to use all the time. It is far better to consider exactly who you are trying to get your message across to and get that message translated professionally. This is true just as much for legal documents as it is of your business website.
The more your need is to sell goods and products overseas then the greater the need for converting your message into the languages, dialects, idioms and colloquialisms of your target market.
Even in Europe, where English is more widely spoken and understood than ever, nearly 50% of Internet users report that they never use English sites. They are more comfortable browsing and using sites in their own language.
Beyond Europe, a report from Common Sense Advisory advises that businesses that wish to have a global presence need to plan on having their main web pages translated into 12 major world languages to reach 80% of the world’s population.
Steps you Need to Take to Get Your Message Across
1. Identify Which Languages are Key to Your Target Market
This is only commonsense and part of any good business plan. Even when you are devising a business plan for your own national market, one of the key steps is identifying the market. What are you selling? Who are you selling your products to? What socio-economic group are they? What age and gender are they most likely to be?
The only change is that you now need to think where in the world does your market exist. When you have worked out where the potential customers are, then you can soon decide on the languages you need to focus on. Translation does cost money, so you do need to limit your translation needs according to where it is going to be of most value to you.
2. Decide What You Need to Translate Into the Selected Languages
Assuming that it is you business website that is going to be the main focus of your international presence, you need to select which part of it should have a multilingual strategy. You will certainly want to translate your home page (landing page), your main product description pages, pricing and freight and / or mail estimators. As you start to build international customers you may also need to translate your help centre which will allow customers to ask questions about your products and provide a more personalised customer service.
One way to increase your search performance on global search engines is to translate your blog (you do have one, don’t you?) The blog has the dual function of educating and informing your customers about your products, but it increases your online presence.
3. Be Serious About Translation
It may be tempting to consider shortcuts when it comes to translation, but it is likely that any unprofessional translation will make your business seem as unprofessional as the translation itself and will be avoided or its message discarded by those who struggle to read it. The lesson is to use a professional translation agency using native language translators to help make over your website.