If you’re considering broadening your horizons and starting to draw clients from other nations, first you must find a way to communicate with them. Although English is the most frequently used language in the world, especially online, if you plan to expand to a foreign market, you will have to adapt your marketing efforts and your products to fit the new intended audience.
While machine translation has become very advanced, before deciding to skip building a multilingual website, you should ask yourself: is Google Translate accurate enough to let it impact the first impression my company gives off to new audiences? And while Google Translate can be an incredibly useful tool for some applications, a serious company that aims to establish itself as an authority in a new environment, should instead rely on a much more elaborate localization project.
1. Translate and Localize Your Content
If you already know the target languages, and which pages and components you want to translate, you can start the translation. Nevertheless, when you are trying to reach an audience from a new culture, a simple translation will likely not be enough.
In case you’re not too familiar with the term, “localizing” refers to the process of tailoring and creating a product to make it appear and perform like it was created in a specific culture, country, or nation. In other words, it refers to the need to adapt your content in a way that will make it appropriate for the new target audience.
The term “localize” is typically used to refer to software or other computer products, but when referring to the contents of your website, it means that instead of simply translating the words of your texts, you must adapt your message so that it is as natural for your new potential customers as the original is for its intended recipients. This is why you should get help from professional translators or editors to ensure that the information is accurate and delivered organically and that your message is understood equally to the original.
2. Choose the Languages
Choose the countries where you wish to establish a market, and then research the local languages to see which ones will work best for your new multilingual website. To further clarify it, consider the geographical variation of the languages you have chosen.
For example, even if you are selling to native English speakers from other countries, such as UK or Australia, you should change the spelling, or even eliminate or add some expressions that may only work locally. Similarly, native Spanish, Portuguese or French speakers from different countries, express themselves differently. Select the variant that is most appropriate for the new audience you wish to reach, and make sure your messages are consistent.
3. Choose Which Pages to Translate
When you are expanding to a new market, you don’t have to display every page of your present website to the new target audience, at least not right away. It all depends on the goal you are trying to achieve with your new multilingual website.
If you are globally recognized, selling on your new website shouldn’t be an issue. However, since this probably isn’t the case and you’re just starting, it’s less likely to start selling right away. Because not many people buy during their first interaction with a business. Keep in mind that you should get a return on your investment in translation, and since it’s difficult to predict how the market will behave, you should avoid translating all of your catalog’s items or blog posts at once.
You can start with the most fundamental pages: the home page, “About us” page, contact page, etc. Keep in mind that you can always add or eliminate pages later on. When you first launched your website, it wasn’t a finished product but a work in progress constantly adjusting to improve user experience and align with your business goals.
4. Plan Your Communication With New Audiences
You will need to modify your subscription forms as well as the series of automated emails that users will receive upon subscribing or filling out other forms you have prepared if you want to gather information about them so you can stay in touch with them. You will also need to translate the content you already offer on your website into the new language or generate fresh content tailored to that audience.
Most customers around the world prefer to buy on websites that they can read in their own language because it gives them more confidence, even if they understand English. Therefore, translating your website will not only help you gain more visibility in the foreign market, but it will also increase your chances for profit.