There is no doubt that a company’s website is one of the most valuable communication tools for attracting new business and driving sales. Statistics predict that the total number of internet users is over 2 billion, and global e-commerce sales will exceed 1 trillion euros in 2013 (IMRG). This means that it has never been more important to ensure that you have a globally visible online presence.
English is the most widely used language on the internet, with around 565 million English speaking users – seemingly great for business, as your website could potentially be reaching over half a billion customers. However, when you compare this to the fact that there are nearly two billion other non-English speakers online, it turns out you are actually missing out on the majority of the market.
Did you know that if you were to translate your website into Chinese, you would almost double your potential customer reach? Did you also know that someone is four times more likely to make a purchase from a site in their native language? Its figures like these that are leading more and more businesses to look to website translation agencies to help give their sites global reach. But how exactly do you localise a website?
Website localisation is the process of adapting a website for a specific group of people, and largely consists of two parts – the translation and localisation of the written content contained within the site, and the more technical programming and coding needed to handle the necessary modifications and redesign.
The localisation process is more than a simple translation of content. It requires particular attention to be paid not just to the language of a target market, but also to its culture. Effective website localisation takes into account each country’s unique cultural expressions and values to ensure that a user receives the same high level of customer experience from your website, no matter where it is viewed.
Even simple things such as colour must be considered, as they carry with them different meanings, depending on where in the world you are. For example, pink generally has feminine connotations in the western world, but in Japan, it is also seen as a masculine colour. By ensuring that your company is sensitive to cultural differences and incorporates this into all communication, both on-line and in print, you will be in the best position to maximise opportunities in your chosen overseas market.
A human touch
Your website plays such an important part in communicating with potential overseas customers, but establishing your online presence can be a complex process. Whilst there might be online gadgets, which can offer a similar service, such automated tools will often deliver inferior translations, using incorrect words, punctuation and grammar – all things which are guaranteed to put off a potential customer. Working with a localisation company, who use translators with experience in both the language and the culture, will help to ensure that your website and marketing messages remain relevant and effective across the globe.
A good website localisation company should have demonstrable experience of successful website localisation projects, as well as a team of highly specialised translators with in depth knowledge of cultures and industries, all operating in their mother tongue. The company may also utilise translation memory software, which stores translated content for future use, and allows for a more cost-effective and consistent process.
If you have any further questions regarding website localisation, please contact a member of our customer services team on + 44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you would like a free translation quote please click the ‘Get a Quote’ button at the top of this page.