Localization has been shown to drive the growth of companies globally. However, questions remain as to whether language is a revenue generator or cost for the companies in question. As this topic generally creates many discussions, it is clear that it strikes at the core of what localization and translation managers have to deal with daily.
Several sources, such as the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages, have estimated that businesses in the UK stand to lose up to 48 billion in international sales due to ignorance regarding language. This ignorance is due to 2 common misconceptions that we will discuss: firstly, that everyone speaks English and secondly, the website translation cost is too high and that the process is too complicated.
Based on some figures regarding the first of these misconceptions, English sites only make for 55% of the content on the internet, and only around 30% of users are native English speakers. As such, it seems strange for companies to ignore the potential global market by failing to engage with people who do not speak English.
This creates a competitive disadvantage for these companies as research shows that people are more willing to do business in their language. Additionally, businesses who fail to use translations and web localization often struggle to develop strong business contacts and can struggle with potential confusion and the mis of products during the transaction. Many of these businesses also do not recognize the fact that they are missing out financially. Research conducted by Cardiff University’s Business School has shown that the businesses who felt that they had no language or culturally based issues when exporting could not also to communicate in any other language apart from English. This is in stark contrast to multilingual businesses who were much more likely to understand the challenges associated with effective communication and, as such, factored 54these issues into their long-term marketing plans.
The There are, however, a few steps these businesses can take to familiarise themselves with the process and gauge customer reaction in an inexpensive way. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is by employing a foreign landing page. Similar to translation and web localization, a localized landing page is a stepping stone towards a more targeted foreign language marketing campaign. It will provide some incredible insight into what will and won’t work for your industry while also saving you money and time by enabling you to see which languages you should focus on.
A landing page is intended to highlight the services your business provides. This purpose is retained when translating these pages into another language. When creating a landing page, ensure that it provides a summary of your company and an overview of the products and services offered by your business. This page can then be translated into as many languages as needed, enabling the measurement of statistics such as site visits from each selected foreign market. This translated landing site can then also be used in marketing or social media campaigns by advertising it to potential foreign customers, allowing the consumer to educate themselves about your company in their native language.
The European Commission has also found that over 80% of consumers were less likely to purchase products or services if the site in question was not in their native language. It seems obvious then that a localized landing page will create a more familiar environment for customers from which they can make their purchasing decisions. This strategy also allows businesses to examine the value of each foreign market without making a large investment to see what is effective spend resources or on the best website translation services.
Although localization drives global growth, opinions vary as to whether an investment in a language is a cost or revenue generator, even within the same company. As a result, we will examine some of the key points when it comes to how we view language in a business context:
1. Examine the way your business measures localization
This can be achieved by drawing data from the localization activities to see how valuable a language can be for your business. You can use this data to validate your choices on which languages should be prioritized in your localization activities.
2. Ensure that stakeholders understand what you are talking about regarding localization
Phrases such as translation errors, turnaround time, translation memory and other similar terms may be foreign terms to a CEO and other executives. Therefore, it is important to explain localization activities in words that mean something to them, with terms like return on investment (ROI), customer satisfaction etc. It can help you connect the dots and show the executives why localization activities can help achieve business objectives.
3. Is localization a priority for your organization, or do they see it as a side project?
As mentioned previously, the majority of online shoppers prefer to browse products in their native language. Up to 40% of shoppers have said they simply will not buy from websites in other languages. It is easy to see why driving home the point about the importance of localization is important for companies at all levels to engage with the global market. Ignorance, in this case, can not only result in a loss of business but also drive the customer to buy from a direct competitor instead that sees localization as a priority.
4. Is there existing technologies that can enable your company to measure their ROI on localization activities accurately?
It can be challenging at times, as access to meaningful data can often prove problematic. Using machine translation as an example can influence how you allocate resources and have a huge impact on the bottom line. While you will save on the number of human translations needed, you will need to allocate MT post-editing and training resources to reap the long-term savings.
5. Create a localization strategy from the start!
You can save your business a big headache and quite a lot of resources if you implement a localization strategy from the beginning. It means that in the future, localization will not present to be a bottleneck for business activities or have to be rushed as additional costs. If you build it into your business strategy from the start, localization can be a valuable tool for your organisation that directly contributes to marketing and advertising campaigns, with the potential to create a lot more revenue.
From the above-described advantages, it is easy to see how language and any future investment in localization can be a powerful tool for any business to not only operate in the global market but also promote business growth and directly create new revenue streams for any business willing to invest in localization from the start.
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