Translating a website is something that has been considered by many companies at some point throughout their business lifespan. Nowadays, internet has become an essential tool for every organization allowing companies to reach the whole globe. If you wish to expand your target market globally or internationalize your business activity, you should seriously start thinking about creating a website in the target country’s language. Gathering information in this new market’s language will definitely give you the chance to have your products and services entering that exciting new market.
However, when it comes to translating websites, this matter raises many questions for example 1) why do you need a multilingual website? 2) in what languages should be translated into etc. 3) is there even a market for me out there? 4) How much new business am I hoping to obtain? …and many others…
Here are a few top tips for translating websites and how to determine which languages will be most important. Take great care to understand the key cultural details when getting your message across so the intended message will not get lost or worse be..cause offense. The new product/service introduction will require extensive communication of the benefits to your new market.
Recommendations for translating websites
Translating a website requires planning and most importantly, it has to fit within a more complex strategy directed towards an internationalization of your business activity. We will give you a few tips to keep in mind before you begin your website translation:
The first aspects to consider would be the language (s) you want to translate the website into. What are the areas where you would like to have your presence and the cost of the project will also need to be considered. Remember, the cost will vary depending on the chosen language! Understanding the language difficulties and other aspects that will have to be modified in our web is also essential.
In some languages such as Arab or Hebrew, the characters will have to be displayed right-to-left. It will be necessary to have a web set for switching writing direction and also modify its format and structure: designs, organization of images, videos and so on. To start, pick your language from the most recommended ones. A previous parameter analysis will also be helpful: the website demographics would be interesting to gain some valuable audience insight. It will provide relevant information about the areas that show more interest in your products or services. This way, it will be easier to determine what language would be recommendable to translate the website into. General information could also help to make the best decisions.
According to some research study from 2015, major companies have increased the number of languages in their websites. Increased from an average of 12 languages to more than double that in 2017. If you want to increase your global presence and substantially improve worldwide business results, then your website should be translated into 16 languages according to some surveys. A dramatic rise of the “long-tail” languages has also taken place, something we should bear in mind before making our decision.
This implies that minority languages or the least-spoken ones have a greater impact on the company’s positioning. It is a fact that 85% of the population is able to speak up to 10 different languages. A market research to find out what the recommendable languages are is required and remember that depending on the chosen language, the cost can differ greatly. Having your website translated into 4 or 5 languages would be a good starting point.
Once we are clear about the number of languages then it is time to decide what languages we are going to choose. English should be one of the languages on every website as it is the most widely spoken language in the world, especially in business. If the company’s strategy it is to reach Arab or Greek speaking countries then we need to remember to adapt the web in order to meet the language requirements. It is important to see the target customers as potential web visitors.
For instance, if you have decided to translate your web into Indonesian, you have to know that there are 93,4 million Indonesian-speaker users with Internet access. By 2018, it is expected to rise to 128 million users. The Indonesian market is one of the fastest-growing. We should mention two of the most extended and rising communities at the moment: China and Japan. Approximately half of the Internet users live in Asia, 22% in America and 19% live in Europe and some other regions present minority percentages; so don’t forget statistics! They will give you relevant information to help you make decisions.
This information along with an analysis on the global contribution to the GDP will help any organization decide on how to translate a website, how many languages to include and which ones should they be. If you would like more information or just have a chat about possible strategies, please get in touch with the team at Pangeanic!
If you need tips to produce content for these new audiences, take a look at our article 6 tips for writing texts for an international audience.