Did you know that, according to the researchers at The benefits of localization are many. If, as an organization, you wanted to reach 80% of the world’s population, you would need to localize into 83 different languages. To reach all the world’s population, on the other hand, you would need more than 7,000 languages. Given this information, one would think localization should be standard practice for all firms doing export business. Indeed, Forrester Research reports that 95% of China’s online buyers are more comfortable purchasing from websites which are translated into their language — yet only 1% of US web retailers offer China-specific websites. When one considers that 71% of North American executives expect increasing revenue from their foreign operations, localization represents a remarkable opportunity. The Concrete Benefits of Localization Executed with skill, localization provides myriad advantages in the market. Businesses whose competitors are already localizing their websites and products simply can’t afford not to localize. Yet if competitors are not localizing yet, being the first gains a tangible competitive advantage. As the above statistics demonstrate, your organization should not underestimate the power of servicing and selling to customers in their own language while the competition insists on speaking only English. Keep in mind the language of business isn’t English, it’s the customer’s language. Localization represents a visible commitment to your worldwide customers, too. There’s no better way to prove your commitment to international prospects than localizing your website to cater to their needs. Visitors logging in to your site who find it’s offered in their native language change their impression of your firm instantly — not only do they understand your services clearly, they also feel comfortable and secure dealing with your web page. Strengthening Your Image At Home And Abroad Localizing your website projects a strong international image which can be essential to serving your customers locally and globally. English to Spanish translation in the US is increasingly popular due to shifting demographics in many states. Canadian companies continue offering both English and French in order to satisfy Quebec. In the European Union, moving workers and newly opened markets are leading many firms to quickly address the needs of all their different market bases. Better Market Penetration and Legal Clout Localizing your products for existing markets can be a simple but very powerful way to increase sales, while selling to new international regions can multiply growth. Bringing a localized product to a new market gives prospective customers a compelling reason to purchase, enabling you to attain an otherwise unattainable level of market penetration. Additionally, since many companies require product sold on their territory “speak” the official language, localization can reduce friction when dealing with foreign markets. Presenting contracts and agreements in translation similarly minimizes conflicts that arise from miscommunication, while presenting copyright notices in the local language can enhance legal protections. Hazards of Localization As every market has different characteristics, there are hazards of localization, too. It is critically important to deal with a translation firm which understands the nuances of local culture, as stories of colossal but easily avoidable translation errors in international markets are many. KFC once found themselves advertising to the Chinese market with a slogan that meant “Eat your fingers off,” there’s no reason your firm needs to fall into the same trap. Conclusion Localization can be a powerful tool to grow your business. If you’re opening up new markets, it’s practically mandatory in order to maximize the chances of your project succeeding. Of course, as with all things in business, you should be careful to choose quality providers for your localization needs. Images: “Languages signpost including English, French, Chinese, Dutch, Japanese, Italian, Korean, Spanish, Thai, German and Russian. / Shutterstock.com“ __________________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Tweak Your Biz: Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz? Tweak Your Biz is an international, business advice community and online publication. Today it is read by over 140,000 business people each month (unique visitors, Google Analytics, December, 2013). See our review of 2013 for more information. An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.