Dear reader, you’re not alone. Companies who sell online to an international market face what is perhaps the biggest hurdle any business can face: the language barrier.
With Google Translate and other translation tools, companies have a quick fix to enable translation on their website, but this form of translation doesn’t quite cut it when selling online. While it’s great for getting the gist of a straightforward text written in another language, it can’t handle things such as nuanced cultural references and idioms which need to be carefully unpacked and recreated in the target language.
This is the limitation of tools that utilise machine translation, and where the value of human translation can be found.
Human translation is professional. It shows you care about your customers. It starts a conversation. And good, proper, human translation increases international sales as a result of this. To help you in your endeavours, we’ll discuss how this works below.
Can’t read, won’t buy
First of all, let’s point out the obvious: when a person visits a website that’s not in their own language, they instantly start looking for the languages button. If they can’t find it, they give up and leave the website for another one. We have aptly named this behaviour, “can’t read, won’t buy”.
It’s the result of not making content accessible. By providing a translation, you can reduce your bounce rate and increase time spent browsing on the site. This longer window (in analytics speak, session length) gives you a far greater opportunity to connect with your customer and sell your product.
Spreading brand values
They say people don’t buy products; they buy brands. If your company has strong brand values that are integral to your identity, you must translate these to your global target market.
If you don’t, you will lose a piece of who you are and fail to penetrate your market in a meaningful way. You will become just another company trying to sell something, which won’t cut through the noise of more developed brands.
A clear, well-defined brand helps you:
Good translation ensures you can continue to properly define your brand across multiple markets and spread your values globally.
Translation helps you reach new customers
Roughly 6,500 languages are spoken in the world today. The top languages are Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi and Arabic (in that order), with over 2.2 billion combined speakers. How many of these do you cater for?
International companies who provide good translation for the markets they operate in consistently dominate their industry. There’s a reason why Amazon, Apple, Google and the world’s biggest companies all do it!
A professional translation of your content is essential when it comes to penetrating new markets and reaching new customers — especially in markets like India and China, where a significant culture gap exists.
Translation delivers content value
One of the biggest reasons the language barrier is so problematic for international sales is because if your customer cannot read your content, they cannot be expected to extrapolate the information they need to make a purchase.
To put it another way, they won’t get any value from your written content.
Good translation ensures the value within your written content gets delivered. It ensures your international customers have access to the information you worked hard to produce in your mother tongue. And this will lead to more sales!
Translation improves international SEO
If your business is online, then it probably appears on search engines. But, without good translation, it won’t reach as far as it could.
There are over 2 trillion searches made each year worldwide with Google alone, and international versions of Google like google.de and google.com.tw account for several billion of these. So you definitely want your website to be found in them.
By creating a full translation of your content for the markets you serve, you can improve your chances of being ranked in Google’s overseas results.
This requires you to provide the correct language version to the correct search engine bot on request (when the bot visits your site), but this is quite simple for someone who knows what they’re doing. The process is called localisation (so named because you tell the search engine about the localised versions of your page or site).
Check out our 7 essential tips for website localisation article to get started with it.
Translation can increase your international sales by:
– Starting a conversation
– Showing customers you care
– Making content accessible to your whole audience
– Spreading your brand values across the global market
– Helping you reach new customers
– Delivering important information to your visitors
– Improving your international SEO and presence on search engines