Everything today from comics to economics is neither country nor language specific. Businesses, art, literature, pop songs, etc., etc., have to be as multilingual and multicultural as target audiences and consumers. Web pages are no exception.
The whole world does not speak English- hardly 20% of the world's population speaks and understands it. Though English drove the internet and the virtual world in their nascent days, this is not the case today. If you want to reach a global audience, web page translation is the way to go.
Let's look into some scenarios which make web page translation necessary:
International business means multilingual web content
Multinational business interests may mean forging bonds with existing or new partners by communicating in their own language. This is not only welcoming in a new relationship but also signals that you are with them for the long haul.
Multilingual web content is also a way to attract new business partners or collaborators.
Your web page should drive traffic to your site
Web pages translated into multiple languages raise the 'hit standing' of your site. They increase your target base and add to your online presence. This will lead to better brand recall.
When you want your business to grow
If you are stagnating and are looking for greener pastures, spreading out from the local market is a good option. Targeting foreign markets which you feel are fertile for your product or service is impossible without having a tailor made web page capable of thriving in the new ethos.
Beating the competition
Competitors offering the same product or service may be nipping at your heels. Leave them far behind with a multilingual website.
Or they might already have gone multilingual. You have to join the web translation bandwagon to keep up with the competition or lose the race.
Website translation helps improve conversion rates
If your website is receiving hits from users who don't speak the language, then translation will help improve conversion rates. A skilled translation agency can help you analyze and assess how much of your site to translate- the whole or just a part.
Translation is mandatory
In certain industries like pharmaceuticals and manufacturing of machinery, it is statutory to provide information in the local language. Web page translation is not an option here: it is a compulsion.
Once, you've decided that your website needs to be multilingual, there are a few more considerations.
Translate content only into key languages
There are innumerable languages in the world. Pick the language you want to focus on. French, Chinese, German, and Japanese give you entrée into big markets. But is this the market that your product or service is aimed at? Obviously, translation depends on your target audience.
Formats are important
The simplest things in the wrong format are confusing. For example, in India, the dd / mm / yy format is used for the date. But in the US the format is mm / dd / yy.
Arabic, for instance, is read from right to left. So the F pattern of English websites, where you read from left to right, will not be suitable here.
When translating, be careful with providing local phone numbers and addresses, properly formatted as per local usage. The devil is always in the details, so take care to avoid confusion otherwise you'll lose out on sales: this is like traffic with no destination!
If you want to convert browsing to buying, country-specific transaction support like credit and debit cards, in suitable currencies is imperative. Otherwise, the website will encourage little more than frustrated window shopping.
Who will do website translations?
It is advisable for businesses to concentrate on their core and delegate the translation to a professional agency.
# 1. Machine translations are more or less word-to-word inept products. Effective website translation demands that text should be translated infusing local flavor (localization) to be attractive and effective.
# 2. Translation should not retract from the overall appeal of the web page or website. When scripts change, the layout should be suitably tweaked to retain its aesthete. Who but a professional can do this?
# 3. Google's Panda algorithm has become the core ranking signal to measure the quality of the site and direct traffic to it. If you want people in the international market to find you, you need to have quality web content to turn up on top of SEO. Don't make a mess with amateur translations which Panda will relegate to the bottom of the barrel.
# 4. Improper and incorrect translations will make you an international laughing stock and hit your brand value.
Marketing surveys have showed:
That target audiences hold language to be of more importance than even price.
The more expensive the product, (like luxury clothing and accessories), or the more valuable the service, (like insurance and financial services), people prefer and trust sites in their own language.
'Mother tongue' is the term we give to a language that we have heard since birth: one that inspires comfort and credibility.
Reap the whole gain from translating web content by having an experienced and skilled translation agency work its magic.