B2B Strategy

The Opportunity Cost of Neglecting Website Translation

Before you decide to put off website translation, consider the stakes for your business.

Patrick Regan's avatar
Patrick Regan

February 15, 2019

4 MIN READ

The value of website localization becomes abundantly clear as more companies pivot to serve customers in global markets. But some organizations balk at the investment required to properly translate their websites and choose bargain-priced translation vendors—or choose not to translate their sites at all.

Unfortunately, either choice winds up costing companies far more in the long run.

The truth is, companies lose more money when they ignore the needs of global customers than they’d spend to localize their websites with superior vendors. If you don’t translate your website, here’s what your company stands to lose:

Stagnating Global Growth

Once you’ve exhausted the growth within your domestic market, you’ll want to branch out into new global markets. This is challenging to effectively accomplish without translating your website.

Global Internet users now expect to conduct online business in the languages they prefer. If global visitors can’t read your website, they won’t visit it. But they’ll surely visit the sites of your local or international competitors.

Breaking Local Laws

Many countries have language-related laws and regulations that companies must abide by to do business in the market.

For instance, businesses that sell products or services in the Canadian province of Quebec must provide French versions of their websites. These sites include localized product/service descriptions, order forms and receipts. Failing to follow this “francization” rule can result in fines.

Similar rules and penalties exist in other markets, too.

Tarnished Brand Image

Trying to serve global customers without content in their language—or providing them with low-quality translated content—is bad for your brand’s reputation. Your untranslated or amateurishly translated website may give users the impression that your company doesn’t value their business.

While this rep is likely at odds with your brand image and high standards for quality and customer service, international customers won’t see it that way. They’ll be irritated by your lack of commitment to their markets … and will probably do business elsewhere.

Productivity and Progress

Even if your company does provide a localized online experience, the method you use to translate, deploy and operate it could be generating more effort and costs than you might expect. Many companies use in-house staff to translate their websites, thinking they’re saving money on translation costs.

The reality: in-house website translation distracts staff from core duties, delaying important tasks they should be working on instead. They also often lack the technical or linguistic expertise needed to handle the unique demands of website translation.

Outsourcing the project to an industry-leading vendor ultimately costs less than the lost in-house productivity you experience from overseeing complex and iterative translation workflows, solving technical problems and keeping the localized up-to-date every day.

Lost SEO Benefits

Your company’s website is full of SEO-rich content that search engines crawl, index and use to help potential customers discover your brand. But if global customers are searching for solutions you provide and there’s no content available in their preferred languages, they won’t find it via search.

Without a translated website, you miss out on the same invaluable SEO benefits that drive organic traffic and brand awareness within your domestic market.

The Competition Wins

If your brand doesn’t deliver the world-class localized experience that global customers expect, they’ll find a competing brand in your industry that does.

Even if your products or services are of better quality or more affordable, your competitors may fare better in a global market simply because they have properly localized websites. They’ll have the online brand awareness, SEO ranking and in-language customer experience that your company lacks.

It Hurts Your Bottom Line

Using a subpar solution to localize your website—or avoiding it entirely—doesn’t simply impact the short-term revenue gains you’d gain by using a superior solution. It also affects future gain.

Here’s why. The damage done to your engagement metrics, SEO and brand reputation takes more time and effort to fix after the fact than it does to proactively serve globally customers with great localized content from the get-go.

The Solution

Operating a great localized website does indeed require an initial and ongoing investment. However, if you weigh those costs against the lost opportunity of providing a subpar online experience, it’s clear that there’s far more to gain by translating your website for global customers.

You can make your translation budget go even further by investing in an advanced website localization solution that maximizes the optimization of your multilingual website while minimizing effort and costs. Look for a translation provider that:

  • Hires world-class translators to deliver high quality localization worthy of your brand
  • Provides all the technology and expertise required for website translation
  • Applies SEO and UX best practices to drive traffic and engagement
  • Scales to let you serve customers in dozens of markets, without increasing overhead
  • Eliminates distractions, so you and your teams can focus on your main tasks

Naturally, you want international customers to engage with your brand’s website. But unless you make their online experiences intuitive and educational, they won’t. Using the right website localization solution will generate the engagement your company needs to succeed in global markets.

Last updated on February 15, 2019
Patrick Regan's avatar

About Patrick Regan

For more than 15 years, Patrick Regan has created win-win partnerships by matching his solutions to prospective customers’ needs and objectives. When he’s not working, he enjoys being a dad, the adventures of parenthood, and watching his favorite football team play on Saturdays. (Go Noles!)

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