Why you should translate your website and how to adapt it to international markets

A company’s website is technically its first point of contact with its customers, which is what makes it a powerful marketing tool. It should therefore catch their attention as quickly as possible by being not only attractive, but also immediately understandable.

Most people will only spend a few seconds on a website before they decide whether to look more profoundly into it and won’t bother giving it a chance if its layout is messy, let alone if they can’t understand a word on it. Consequently, the language a website is available in plays an important role. Indeed, most online shoppers browse and buy from websites that are available in their own language.

Understanding all the information provided on a website is more encouraging and reassuring when it comes to shopping online. That’s one of the reasons why having a multilingual website can considerably increase your number of prospects, one of the many benefits of translating your website.

Reasons to translate your website

Considering the percentage of online shoppers that only purchase from websites available in their native language, translating your website is the quickest and most efficient way to reach a wider audience. Only 30% of internet users are English speakers. Because of the fact that English is one of the most spoken and most used languages in the world, we tend to forget that the world doesn’t just speak English. By making your website available in your target customers’ language, a much larger number of customers will be able to find and understand your website, which means more potential clients, and more sales.

Having a website is meant to support your sales. By making it available to a larger number of people, you will automatically increase the number of potential clients, meaning you will also increase your sales. Having a website available in different languages will increase conversion rates, as more online users will have access to it.

Along with increasing your number of potential customers and your sales, you will increase brand awareness and recognition and improve your company image. Having a multilingual website shows consideration towards foreign customers and makes you look more reliable and trustworthy. Customers tend to trust websites more when they are fully understandable. It will therefore strengthen your brand.

You will be able to sell overseas on international markets and take your brand further beyond your local market. This will allow you to grow and develop your activities and to build an international reputation.

A multilingual website can make you stand out from the competition. Your competitors might not have a multilingual website, which makes it an opportunity for you to gain a competitive advantage and a way to stay one step ahead. It can therefore be a way to differentiate yourself from the other players in your industry.

Going international is sometimes “inevitable”. Depending on the sector you work within, you might have to be forced to go beyond your home market and language plays a huge role in international business. Translating your website will therefore be a necessity if you want to keep up and if you don’t want to be left behind. There are also some industries and some countries where providing information in the local language is required and demanded.

You will be able to improve your SEO strategy, which is crucial to a website’s success. If you are trying to reach customers from another country, you should know that they most likely browse and search keywords online in their own language. Being searchable and accessible is essential for your foreign customers to easily find your website online. Having a multilingual website will therefore help increase its visibility, your number of visitors and therefore, your sales.

How to translate your website reliably

In order for your website to be eye-catching from the first look, it should be fully understandable. That’s why addressing your customers in their language on your website is primordial.

You should translate your website in several strategic languages according to where your existing customers are from but also where you are most likely to get new customers. If by analysing your data you realize you have a large number of customers that are from Germany, then you should consider making it available for them in German. If you know you want to target the French market, then you should translate your website into French. This way, you can maximize your chances to grow sales and to be successful in different parts of the world. We tend to forget that the world doesn’t just speak English and that not everyone is bilingual. Again, you only have a couple of seconds to catch and retain the attention of online visitors, hence the difficulty to do so when they can’t understand what you are telling them. It is hard to convince customers to buy your product if you can’t explain to them what it does. Prioritizing local languages to address specific audiences is therefore the best solution to increase your chances of growing and developing your business.

One thing you should pay careful attention to is language particularities such as expressions, idioms, wordplays or even slang. These elements are hard to translate into other languages and most of the time lose their meaning when translated literally. Every language has a different structure and way of functioning. The complexity and uniqueness of each language make it hard to transcribe messages from one to another without altering their core idea and their aim. That’s why these factors should be considered carefully.

Although there are many online/software translating tools are available, they won’t guarantee you accuracy and reliability. Reaching out to professionals to take care of this process is probably the best and safest alternative. Professional translation services are what will guarantee the quality of the translation of your website. Actual humans that are native in the languages you want your website translated into will carefully transcribe it and consider all the factors that make a translation accurate. Indeed, translating a website is not just about translating words, it is about localising them. Localisation is a crucial step when addressing foreign markets and customers. It implies being aware of cultural differences and market particularities of the target country and adapting the content to every single one of these factors. Every country and every language come with a culture of its own, which affects the purchasing behaviour, the way of communicating and the preferences of its people. For this reason, your website has to be tailored to each country it aims at. A message can easily be altered when the recipient tries to decode it due to cultural factors that can interfere in the communication between different cultural backgrounds. Your content should therefore be accommodated to your target customers’ culture. Even the display, colours and imagery are important aspects that could either improve customer experience or make your project go wrong. If you translate your website into Arabic for example, you should consider the fact that it’s written from right to left and tailor the layout to it. These elements are part of what makes your brand’s identity, that’s why they should also be adapted to different countries. Many brands change their logos or even their brand name abroad to fit in better. For example, red is a colour that is very appreciated in China and that represents joy, while it could be considered as an aggressive colour in other countries. As for the colour white, it is associated with death in the Chinese culture whereas it symbolizes peace and serenity in other cultures.

Every single aspect of your website, whether it be the language, the imagery or the display, should be carefully considered and adapted to each country it is aiming at. As you can see, making a website available in several languages is not as easy as it sounds and implies a truly rigorous work, which should be assigned to professionals in order to be as accurate and reliable as possible.