There are nearly 7.5 billion people in the world who speak over 6,000 languages. The top 100 spoken languages have 7.4 million (Konkani language) to 936 million (Mandarin language) speakers. As the world becomes more global and the internet becomes more accessible, it is becoming increasingly important to provide products and services in multiple languages.
So, how can translation into other languages affect your business’ bottom line?
There is a ton of potential to expand your markets through translation. Let’s look at the translation of a website, which is typically referred to as “localization”. When you perform a localization, you’re not only translating the content of your website, but you are also changing cultural references to match the local culture, including photos and design. When you localize your website, you also shouldn’t forget to change things such as flags, currency, time zones, and geographic examples (check out more on Mashable). Additionally, don’t forget to change the color of your website when localizing! Yellow might mean happiness in western countries, but it is associated with death in South America (Learn more about colors across cultures.).
If you own an online commerce site, be sure to localize your advertisements and products, too. Japanese beverage giant Pokka Sapporo experienced nationwide confusion after they featured a translated product named “Free Tea”. You can imagine the reaction that store owners had when customers started walking out with open bottles. Another example of translation confusion occurred when Braniff International translated a slogan about its finely upholstered seats, “Fly in Leather”, to Spanish as, “Fly Naked” (See more global branding fails).
Beyond the jokes, statistics say it’s worth it to localize your website. More than 50 percent of the world’s web users speak a language besides English, and this number is growing. A study by the European Commission found 90 percent of users prefer to access a website in their own language, and 42 percent say they will never buy a product that is on a website not in their native language.
Businesses have the most opportunity to expand in new developing markets, including China, Brazil, and Mexico, where there is little business communication in English. And if you’re looking to do business in these cultures, translation can help boost your business’ credibility. If you’re working across borders, yet your materials don’t reflect globalization, then you demonstrate you don’t quite understand what global trade involves.
Finally, translation can help you attract talent. And international talent is good for business. Of course, bringing in immigrants can fill a gap in labor if there are no locally trained professionals. International talent can also increase your competitiveness by developing new markets. A staff member from your target area can help brainstorm ideas to break into that market, and can also foresee issues that only a native knows. International employees can also make your organization more effective by contributing new perspectives and problem solving methods. And while they might speak English well, it is always more comfortable and decreases the possibility of misunderstandings to read technical training manuals in one’s native language.
If you’re interested in translating or localizing your business materials, send us your info, and we’ll give you a free quote.
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