If you are surfing the Internet, the likelihood that you’re doing so in English is pretty high. It may come as no surprise that English ranks #1 of the top ten Internet languages to-date.
However, while it may seem that everyone reads English online, that’s not the case. This is why you may want to think twice about having your website or blog professionally translated.
Are you concerned that website translation benefits may not outweigh the cost and effort? If so, it’s a viable concern. However, you may actually be passing up tremendous opportunities that only a translated web presence could offer.
English is the third most common primary language in the world (behind Mandarin Chinese and Spanish), according to reports. Yet, roughly 70% of the world population does not speak English. While Google search automatically adjusts searches based on the country of origin; which oftentimes is not a primarily English speaking area.
“Conventional wisdom suggests that English is becoming ‘the world’s second language,’ a lingua franca that many forward—looking organizations are adopting it as a working language,” according to Quartz writer Ethan Zuckerman. But nearly half of the websites on the web today are not even in English.
“Statistics about Internet usage show much faster growth in countries where English is not the dominant language has been. In 1996, more than 80 percent of Internet users were native English speakers. By 2010, that percentage had dropped to 27.3 percent. While the number of English-speaking Internet users has almost trebled since 2000, twelve times as many people in China use the Internet now as in 1996. Growth is even more dramatic in the Arabic—speaking world, where twenty-five times as many people are online as in 1996.”
Understanding these shifts may make it easier to understand why having a website in English only will only reach a specific segment of your demographic; which means you could be leaving global dollars on the table.
Boost Global Reach
One of the major benefits of having your company website translated is the number of people you will be able to reach. If you aim to grow a global presence beyond your zip code, you can start to make new connections with non-english speaking audiences. Website translation is also a competitive advantage in many industries.
When you offer a localized web presence you instantly become a more accessible brand. With accessibility comes the potential for more clients and customers. Entering untapped markets can generate revenue and insight that may be missed in your native language.
Ultimately, the simple fact is that many people prefer to do business in their native language out of comfort and familiarity. “To make the most of opportunities in an international marketplace, communicating with customers in their own language is crucial, according to Comtec Translations.
“Communication in other languages can feel like a daunting task. But with a carefully thought through plan in place, translation and localisation of both web and print material provides the necessary tools to effectively expand into a new international market and support rapid growth.”
Improve Brand Potential
Offering a multilingual site can ultimately expand your brand potential. “This means that you are showing customers that you are thinking about them. This can go a long way because it shows you care about them because you are offering your site’s content in their language” (mycustomer.com)
This adds a level of professionalism to your website while helping you to build credibility. In turn, you may experience increased customer confidence in your brand overall.
Meanwhile, as it relates to SEO, Smartling (a cloud-based translation management platform) suggests: “Choose a website translation solution that is fully SEO-compatible, facilitating the translation of page titles, meta tags, and other content important for achieving high search engine optimization.”
Whether you hire a professional website translation service or purchase automated translation software, you will soon open your business up to unprecedented opportunity. A multilingual site can lead to significantly increased business prospects, more customers and greater trust among current customers. So, what are you waiting for? It may be time to ensure your brand is not lost in translation.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Cormac Reynolds works and writes for a variety of marketing and internet blogs. He loves all sorts of different aspects of blogging and also has a big interest in bludgeoning the culinary arts. Connect with @brightoncormac on Twitter.