Translating your website to win new business

So you are looking to expand into new markets overseas? As you look further afield, your website plays a vital part in winning new customers. However to fully maximise those opportunities, you cannot expect that your well-tended English language website will have the same impact in new markets.

To quote Willy Brandt, former Chancellor of Europe’s most successful exporting nation, Germany, “If I’m selling to you, I speak your language. If I’m buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen[then you have to speak German].”

In the global market, customers expect to be able to research, buy and use the products and services they need in their own language, and it makes good business sense to enable this.

Although translating your website may at first seem daunting, the facts speak for themselves:
Businesses are three times more likely to buy when addressed in their native language.
Customer service costs drop when instructions are shown in the user’s native language.
Visitors stay twice as long on websites with content in their native tongue.
(Source: Forrester Research)

As this research shows, translating your website will pay dividends. But to achieve the best results, it is vital to partner with a translation company experienced in handling the technical and cultural issues that go hand in hand with website localisation.

Localisation refers to the process of adapting the website and its content for a new market. This includes translation and localisation of all marketing content to take account of local values, cultural sensitivities and consumer behaviour. The outcome is an effective website with copy that looks and reads as though it was developed in the local market.

Issues to consider

To maximise opportunities in a new market, the foreign language content of your website must be up to the task. However there are a number of points to consider before getting started; let’s just look at a few:

  • What is the scope of the project? How far should translation go? Does it just require translation of key pages or should it cover translation of all elements of the existing site? What about downloads, blogs, bulletin boards and newsletters? How many languages should be included?
  • How can you ensure that the copy is properly localised to be both accurate and idiomatically correct for your target market?
  • How should you manage content updates and translation?
  • Does the existing website architecture support content in multiple languages? Does the content management system have a plug-in for translation?
  • How will translation affect SEO? SEO is very language specific. Whilst certain English words and phrases might be perfect keywords for the UK market, there is no guarantee that a direct translation of these will have the same impact in another country
  • How will the company handle an overseas enquiry received via the website?

If you’re looking to expand into a new market overseas and have any questions about how to approach communication requirements with new markets, please contact a member of our team on + 44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email info@comtectranslations.com.

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