As online shopping and research continues to grow, brands are looking for ways to engage shoppers outside their region and sometimes outside the country. The best way to do this? A new report from TransPerfect indicates website translation is key, unfortunately many websites are behind the times when it comes to actually translating their content.
BizReport – August 15, 2011
The TransPerfect survey found:
63% of consumers prefer buying from websites written in their native language
64% of companies say they are 'unsure' if translated websites will impact sales
19% of executives say website translation is a priority
I recently had the chance to chat with TransPerfect's Liz Elting about the survey's implications.
Kristina: One of the interesting points of the survey was the disparity between what consumers want - quality, localized translation - and what executives deem necessary. Why do you think the difference is so great?
Liz Elting, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, TransPerfect: Many of the executives and decision-makers surveyed are English speakers and are accustomed to being able to read every website in their native language. Unless they have personally experienced a problem purchasing products on a non-native language website, I can see how it might be a challenge to recognize the difference a translated website can make in the consumer's purchasing decision.
Kristina: As more brands go 'global' do you see translation efforts becoming even more important?
Liz: Yes. As companies and brands expand internationally, they need to tailor their marketing and brand messages to engage on a local level - and they need to do it well. Targeted messages allow the brand to build customer loyalty and a strong brand image. It is very clear to buyers when the messaging or language is either not properly targeted or of low quality and low quality website instantly conveys a lack of interest or investment in that market. In many cases, a poorly translated website can do more damage than having no website in that language at all. When going global, brands need to make top quality localization efforts a priority as it can be the difference between success and failure.
Kristina: Why aren't executives/brands placing more weight on the translation of their online content?
Liz: I think that executives fear the cost and have concerns regarding the time associated with project management. It's also possible that they are unsure of the degree to which localized online content will drive sales in the targeted markets. However, the tools for managing multilingual content have come a long way in the last five years and is now an easy process to implement. There's never been a better time to undertake a comprehensive multilingual campaign, and as this survey shows, consumers are hungry for content in their native languages and are more willing to buy from websites who offer that.