American activist Abbie Hoffman once said, “Never impose your language on people you wish to reach.” He may have been thinking of “language” in a more figurative way, but then again, maybe he wasn’t. After all, the best way to reach common ground with others is to communicate to them in a way they’ll understand. This is true on a personal level and perhaps even more so on a business level.
Should You Translate Your Website?
Some American business leaders mistakenly assume that English is the most popular language on the planet. It isn’t. It’s actually third, after Chinese and Spanish. English is, however, the most popular language used on the internet. That gap is narrowing as more and more companies realize the benefits of website translation. These include:
- Better penetration into international markets.
- Increased website traffic and online conversions.
- Improved search engine ranking.
- Enhanced relationships with international buyers.
Studies show that people overwhelmingly prefer to visit – and purchase products from – a site that is in their own language. It’s really pretty simple – if you want to expand your business to people in the global marketplace, you need to show them you’re truly invested in them by giving them a website in their native language. Website translation is a very important tool in your marketing toolbox.
What Language Should You Start With?
Website translation is an investment, and few companies can simply decide overnight to create multiple language versions of their online presence. Unless you have a very specific target market in mind, it may be difficult to decide what language to begin with when translating your website. Start by analyzing current traffic through your website analytics. Then, use the basic concepts of supply and demand to determine where your products and services are most needed internationally. Finally, test the waters through online and traditional advertising before you commit to website translation into that language.
Do You Have to Choose a Professional Website Translator?
There are many automated tools that claim to handle website translation with a few clicks. Don’t be fooled. The nuances of language are just too great to create quality translation of web content or any other content for that matter. If website translation is truly important to your expansion into other markets, invest in professional website translation.