To translate or not to translate? That is the question
As companies look at expanding their international footprint, using their websites as an essential channel to market, localisation of marketing materials and websites will be an issue that they confront. We are in the fortunate position to have English as our mother tongue, the most common language on the web. The other most commonly used languages on the web are: Chinese, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Japanese. European markets are there – they are sizeable. Germany, France, Spain & Italy equate to a 200 million marketplace. These markets are online and doing business and, increasingly, we are using the internet to target these markets.
If you are aiming to win market share from your local market competitors then communicating in local market languages makes sense. If we care to interact and communicate with the customers in these regions – we can do business.
By interacting in their language – we are INCREASING our chances of being successful.
It’s Glocal: Think Global, Market Local. Multi-lingual websites enable organisations to reach more customers online.
According to Mark Rodgers, CEO of Cipherion Translations, “During the 1990s, American organisations pioneered globalization. A successful product in the US could be sold throughout the world – as long as the people in that country could find out about the product, could read about it and know how to use it. Consequently, these US multi-nationals rapidly built“Translation / Localization” into their market strategies. Their offices around the world sold and marketed the same US product / service to local populations. As an Irish organisation, if you have a product that can be sold internationally, then your key focus is to MARKET this product internationally – ie to local populations. It’s about letting your customers know that your product exists and
why they should choose to purchase your product”.
A localized website will:
- Shorten the time to market
- Increase global revenue share
- Increase brand awareness
- Ultimately, decrease the cost of doing business
Irish Case Studies
Ryanair is probably the most well know Irish enterprise that uses translations to maximize revenues. Ryanair’s website is available in over 7 languages.
Hostelworld is its website available in 22 languages.
From a marketing perspective, both Ryanair & Hostelworld have focused on making it easy for customers across Europe to make a booking.
West of Ireland B&B with website in 4 languages. Bookings increased and
re-couped translation investment within 6 months.
Steps to Website Translation
Mark recommends following these steps for website translation:
1. Develop and plan translation of your website and SEO optimisation in each language. Translations are a process; not an event.
2. Extract the text for translation, including any text hard-coded into menus, images or flash animations.
3. Don’t forget about keywords and meta-tags, it’s important that these are translated also.
4. Get your website translated professionally: it’s Marketing.
5. Insert the translated text back into the html coding
6. Add the flags or drop down menus
7. Carry out a final online proof read, and bug-check
8. Start SEO and Google Marketing and watch the hits increase
Are you translating your website? What difference has it made to your sales? How are you measuring? We’d love to hear your comments.