English is one of the most commonly spoken languages around the world and is often thought of as the lingua franca of business, and much more. So, it seems logical to assume that running your website and online content in English is enough to reach a solid amount of potential customers. In fact, in a world where English is seemingly everywhere, the act of translating seems outdated and irrelevant, right? Well, not really. Just because English is among the top 3 most spoken languages in the world doesn’t mean it’s the best for reaching your customers. In this article, we will explore the problem of running an English-only website, and show you why website translation is still important, even in today’s English-dominated world.
WHY ENGLISH JUST ISN’T ENOUGH
It’s plain and simple: Not everyone in the world speaks English. In fact, not even in English-speaking markets can you guarantee that each and every one of your customers speaks the language. Look at any predominantly English market (like England, The US, or Australia, for example), and you’ll find large populations of people who actually don’t consider English their first or “main language.” In England, for example, the 2011 census showed that close to 10% of the country’s population didn’t consider English its main language.
Actually, the census showed that there were certain parts of London where over 25% of the local population reported using a main language other than English. If you run an English business out of London, it means a significant portion of your customers would be more comfortable shopping in another language. Now, you can ignore these statistics and simply force these customers to cope. In fact, many companies do, simply because translation seems like such a daunting task. Doing so, however, seriously limits your sales potential. Statistics from the European Commission show that 90% of European customers always visit a website in their own language when given a choice.
In fact, up to 42% of customers admitted that they’d never buy a product if the information they’re presented with isn’t in their mother tongue. And you can’t blame them. As a native in your country, it can be easy to be ignorant to the challenge of making purchases and living your life in another language. But this is actually a reality for parts of the population. Luckily, by translating your website, you can help tailor your services to these people and greatly increase your business potential.
THE INTERNET: A GLOBAL MARKETPLACE
So, we’ve made it clear that it just isn’t enough to publish English-only content on your website. Rather than dwelling on the amount of customers you may have already missed, let’s look on the bright side. You’ve got, quite literally, a world of opportunity ahead of you. By breaking out of your comfort zone and translating your website, you have the opportunity to greatly increase your potential for conversions. Remember, the internet is a global marketplace. According to 2014 statistics from the UN’s International Telecommunication Union, roughly 40% of the world population is online, and those numbers are only rising as the internet becomes more accessible. And, as an online company, you have the unique potential to enjoy your very own slice of the action. Here are 4 reasons why you should translate your English website now.
1: YOU GO GLOBAL
Remember how we told you that 40% of the world population is online? That’s roughly 3 billion people all browsing the internet. Better yet, that’s up to 3 billion customers you could potentially be selling to if you play your cards right. If you’re looking to seriously scale your company, translation is a key part of your arsenal. By presenting your content in more than one language, you have the potential to break out of your local market and begin dealing with customers all around the globe.
2: TRANSLATION = GROWTH
It is clear that translation breaks down the barriers between your business and the global population. And that means huge growth potential. Best of all, you don’t even have to translate into more than just a few languages to reap the rewards. If you operate in the US, for example, translating your website into Spanish alone allows you to cater to 37 million people. Or, if you operate in Canada, simply translating your content into French allows you to cater for 7.3 million people (over 20% of the Canadian population) whose mother tongue is French. So, it’s a no brainer. Translate your website and you have the potential to grow your business tremendously, even by including just 1 language other than English.
3: IT PUTS YOU AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION
Competition is one of the biggest challenges online businesses face. If you run an ecommerce website, for example, you’re competing against over 12 million other ecommerce stores. If you run a blog, on the other hand, you’re competing against at least 150 million other blogs on the internet. While the online marketplace is loaded with opportunity, it is also riddled with competition. And that competition is only expected to grow. Luckily, there is a simple way to help your business stand out. By translating your content, you automatically have an advantage over your English-only competitors. And who knows, that might just be enough to put you at the head of the pack.
4: IT BUILDS LOYALTY AND TRUST
Trust and loyalty are the gold medals of the branding Olympics. Building a trusting, loyal audience is what sets some of the most successful companies in the world apart from the rest. Statistics from a 2014 report show that 74% of customers would be more likely to purchase from a company that offered post-sales support in their language. The same report also highlighted that over 58% of businesses offering multilingual support found customers were more loyal to their brand because of it. By taking the leap and translating your website, you’re able to provide your customers with tailored service. And, in the same way, that this will quickly help your company stand out against the competition, it will also pay off in the long run by establishing global credibility and trust.
START TRANSLATING TODAY!
So, as you see, there is a lot to be gained by translating your website – it opens you up to a much wider audience. Consider the markets you want to work with and start targeting the language they use.