Why and How to Translate Your Company’s Website
Do you want to play a triumph march like Verdi’s Aida? In order to captivate Attention, raise Interest, elicit Desire and inspire Action – the AIDA principles of marketing communication – you need to speak your client’s language.
Are you wondering why you should translate your company’s website into a foreign language, for example from English into Italian, since it is expensive or time-consuming? Have you already translated your web presence, though it does not seem to produce the expected results?
Translating your company’s website in view of expanding into other markets is necessary not only to increase the number of visitors and visibility. As I pointed out in this blog before, according to a study run by Common Sense Advisory, 75% of consumers prefer to buy products in their native language. The survey highlights that more than half of respondents shop on-line only from websites that show information in the consumer’s native language, especially when buying insurance and financial services.
Your company can gain a competitive advantage, differentiate from competitors and gain trust, which is particularly important when people have to invest their money. Although English is considered the language of the web, once clients have access to a local version of the website, their uncertainty decreases and are more inclined to buy.
Multilingual websites increase web ranking in search engines and help you gain market share. If you are also planning a presence on social networks, do not forget that not all countries use social channels in the same way. You will need to localise your search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy and possibly interact with potential clients in their language.
Once understood why you should translate your website, you need a strategy in order to produce the expected results. A survey among more than 500 global marketers in 2013 found that 60% of them have no strategy for multilingual content marketing.
Think Global first… but like a local
Planning ahead helps avoid mistakes and reduce costs. Thinking about translation as part of a global content marketing strategy will reduce the time and money spent on it. You must take into account local needs and customs.
Hire a professional translator who can help you to ask the right questions from the start and knows the local language and culture to help you avoid big mistakes.
Involve a specialised translator during the preparation and to put him/her in contact with the right person in your company, directly engaged in the website project.
To improve consistency and effectiveness of your message, you can write a style guide – in collaboration with the translator – which should include a description of your company, products and services, target market (competitors, trends), information on the target audience (demographics, lifestyle), words or concepts to be avoided, your company’s brand and “tone of voice”.
Plain language and localisation
A site translated into another language will not compensate for a poorly built website. If your site is lacking in clarity and content, the translated version will not be any better. So, fix the original site first before investing in translation. Then develop a foreign language version with localised and customised content.
Do not forget to localize links, currencies, images and colours. Analyse what kind of thoughts the colours and images evoke among your local audience. Images and logos are a critical part of a company’s web presence and may carry completely different connotations in one country compared with another.
People do not trust what they do not understand. Broken grammar and incorrect spelling are unacceptable on your home page. It is a proven fact that “what people see during the first few seconds of their website visits usually make them decide whether to stick around for a while and check out the site”. Certainly, you want them to stay until you convince them, don’t you?
What are you doing to improve your presence on the Italian market?