The World Wide Web. Globalization. Multinational corporations.
We live in a time where the international market is becoming increasingly important to a business’s bottom line. In fact, some companies barely differentiate between domestic and foreign—everything is under the giant umbrella of “international.” And it’s not just those giant multinational corporations like Sony, Microsoft, or Disney anymore. Even some mom and pop startups are discovering that their online businesses can make quite a bit of money overseas.
But there’s one big problem—we speak a lot of different languages on this blue and green rock spinning through space. How can you connect with all of those non-English speakers out there? The answer is language translation software, and more and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon.
Should you join them? Here are several reasons why you may want to consider it.
English is a second language for a lot of people. And other internet users may not even speak it at all. How many people are we talking about? Around 100 million. That’s a ton of potential customers that you’re missing out on. And if for some reason you’re thinking that 100 million is actually fairly small compared to the global population, that’s true. But you shouldn’t be concerned with the global population—just the population of internet users. And over 50 percent of them speak native languages that aren’t English.
Visitors prefer their native language. Studies have shown that people will stay on sites that are in their native language two times longer than when perusing a site that isn’t in their natural tongue. Why does this matter? Because the longer people hang around on your website, the happier it makes advertisers. And for those of you who sell products or services, those people are also more likely to make a purchase.
Content won’t be misconstrued.When you’re dealing with an audience for whom English is not their first language, you can’t just assume that they are going to understand everything on the page. You may find yourself trying to “dumb it down” in order to make it more translatable, which could harm your overall message. Alternatively, if you decide to use a person to translate the content, you’ll have to trust their individual expertise and possibly pay them to fix any mistakes if problems are discovered.
One program, multiple languages. Another drawback of hiring a person to translate is that you will likely have to do that for every single language that you want for your site. That’s a lot of people to pay and a lot of potential for the “voice” of your company to change as it is filtered through so many individual perspectives. But with a high-quality language translation program, you can effortlessly translate your website into dozens of different languages at once and avoid having to deal with so many personalities—and paychecks!
No one is saying it’s easy to find a great language translation program. You really have to do your homework to ensure that you’re picking the one that’s right for your needs, and that can take some effort. But with a huge and ever-growing percentage of the world as your reward for doing so, it’s well worth the time to open your business to the world.
Aileen Galsim is a business blogger from Comss. Comss is a software company with a difference – their products are designed by business people to be used by business people. They offer Lean software applications for construction, distribution, retail and project-driven businesses