September 16, 2009

Business Benefits of Translating a Website by Marco Villar

Most business with an Internet presence are interested in attracting a variety of clients, both local and international. While it’s certainly true that English is widely spoken, having a multilingual website can mean increased profit margins and brand recognition.

Between the year 2000 and 2010 English content on the Internet increased by 281.2 %. That seems like an impressive figure until it's compared with an increase in content, during the same period, of 1,277.4 % in Chinese and 743.2 % in Spanish. Since quality content is available in a variety of languages it becomes imperative to have services and product descriptions available in a client’s native language.

There is a definite appeal to clients when they see that time has been spent to take into account their needs. A translated website increases client confidence. When given the choice between two equal companies most people will choose the one that seems to be on the same page that they are. A website in their native language is more than just convenience. A properly translated website will take into account the culture of the reader, phrasing services and products in a way that makes sense.

Consequently, it’s important that the site be translated correctly. If there are no native speakers with the necessary skill in-house, hiring a professional translator is a must. Machine translation can be useful to obtain a general idea of a document, but it is not yet up to par when it comes to marketing materials. A website is like a global company representative, the message it brings across can do just as much harm as good if the site is unclear or appears badly written.

Translating a company website into another language will require an initial commitment in time and money. However the rewards of increased client confidence and new clients can be worth the effort.

Source: "Internet World Stats": Top Ten Languages, 2010

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