In 2022, around 1.5 billion people worldwide currently speak English, just a bit more than the number of Mandarin Chinese speakers (at 1.1 billion). However, unlike many other languages, the percentage of native speakers is surprisingly low – at around 400 million.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking it’s fine to offer English-only content as so many people know the language. But today’s customers expect a more personalised experience. In a survey of global online consumers in 29 countries, 76% stated a preference for buying products with information in their native language, with 40% claiming to never buy from websites in other languages.
The evidence is clear; to gain better engagement and improve conversions on your website from global audiences, it is essential to translate your content. However, which languages do you choose?
We share seven steps that will help you decide.
1) Review your current website traffic
A good place to start when considering website translation is where your current website traffic is coming from. You may already have a good idea of the answer to this question. However, there may be audiences that you are attracting without realising.
To find out, you need to analyse your website traffic. Finding out where your target audience is located will help you decide which languages to choose when translating your website.
Some websites will already have this functionality to monitor their performance. If not, tools like Google Analytics can provide this data.
2) Who is your target market?
This key question is one that most businesses will have already considered when developing their products and services. Gender, age, and occupation are all crucial demographics when building a picture of your target audience. However, be sure also to include where your audience is located.
Which countries have the highest demand for your product or service, and which countries have the top global e-commerce markets, meaning they have enough purchasing power to deliver growth for your business?
Remember that your business needs to be able to service these countries, too, so you may need to consider elements such as shipping costs, taxes and country-specific regulations.
3) Conduct a competitor analysis
As with many other business objectives, you can find solutions to your website translation queries by analysing your competitors’ activity. Are your closest rivals translating their website, and if so, into which languages?
You may choose to mirror their choices when selecting your languages for your website translation, or you may wish to create a competitive difference and opt for other languages. Steps 1 and 2, described above, will help you decide which strategy to choose.
4) Identify the most widely spoken languages
Theoretically, it makes sense to choose languages for your website translation that are spoken by a high number of people. After all, it will make your website more accessible to more people.
But identifying the number of people who speak a language should only help back up your ideas from the previous steps. For example, there’s no reason to translate your website into Hindi just because it’s the third most spoken language if people in India are not your target market and you cannot ship your goods there.
5) Consider website localisation
To engage your target markets more successfully, you need to think about more than just the text translation and consider website localisation.
Website localisation is a more comprehensive process than just the translation of the text. It considers your target market, its cultural preferences and expectations and ensures that every element of your content is appropriately aligned.
This process includes adapting the language use, its tone, style and phrasing and evaluating things such as country-specific idioms or language play, so your new target market can appreciate them. Other elements reviewed in the localisation process include images, date and time formats, measurements, currencies and abbreviations.
Website localisation can make the task of attracting other global markets more involved and, therefore, could affect how many languages or markets you choose to target.
This brings us to our next point…
6) Assess the budget
The cost of website translation or localisation can vary significantly, depending on the size of your site, its technicality, the methods used and the partner(s) you choose to support you with the task. It also depends on the languages you select.
Languages that are more commonly spoken are generally less expensive when it comes to translation, mainly because more qualified translators are available.
Where translators are based can also affect the price due to their cost of living. For example, translators from Scandinavian countries typically charge a higher rate than many other countries because the cost of living there is much more.
7) Ask for a no-obligation quote
If you have an idea about which languages you would like your site translated into but would like to understand the costs involved before making a final decision, please get in touch with our team.
Mission Translate can help with every aspect of your website localisation project. As well as the translation and localisation, we have experienced DTP and coding professionals who can work on the design and layout of your pages to ensure a professional, polished finish.
We can provide you with a no-obligation quote, where we carefully review the tasks involved and give you a full breakdown of the costs, so you can decide what works best for your business.
Please contact our team to find out more.