The importance of localisation for your company

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The importance of localisation for your company

Globalisation. It’s no fairy tale. Internet and other developments have erased borders and countries around the world are now closely linked. For the business community, translations are a matter of course in this age of internet. Often, a website is the first point of contact for businesses and individuals looking for products, services or information. Nothing surprising about that.

Proper, professional translation of your site gives visitors from other countries the opportunity to get acquainted with your company. And it gives you the opportunity to shine more of an international spotlight on your products and services and the story behind them. It’s certainly worth your while to make your texts, website and social media available in other languages. To take that extra step. Especially when you have an internationally oriented product or service that you want to sell in a new market.

The importance of localisation

Translation is an important factor in business. It’s a process that brings you into contact with new words, ideas and perspectives. Translation and localisation are inter-cultural processes. When studying languages, not only the words, grammar and syntax are paramount. The student of languages also discovers new behaviours, cultural differences and interesting characteristics in other cultures. There’s a reason that the study I completed is called “The Languages and Cultures of Latin America”.

Translation is just one part of localisation. A good translator is not only highly proficient in language, but is well versed in the culture as well. Someone who can understand the dynamics of varying cultures and societies. He or she functions as a broker between two cultures. Imagine there were no translators. We’d then be living on isolated islands. Translation puts you in touch with new ideologies, philosophies and perspectives. And new markets!

Think globally, act locally!

For you, localisation means that your texts’ contents take a culture’s specific characteristics into account. And in a language that your visitors understand, naturally.

With properly localised texts, you can introduce your company and product perfectly in a new market. And with good translations, your new target market can understand your texts, so that this group will want to buy your products. A multiple-language site is likely one of the most profitable marketing methods for your company. You attract new customers, you build new relationships and you infuse your brand with an international look. You can boost your sales figures considerably for a relatively low investment.

A multiple-language site shows that you’re thinking of your customer. By going that extra step and approaching your customers in their own language, you demonstrate to your customers that you care about them. And if the customer is convinced that he’s your focus, then he’s likelier to do business with you. In some cultures, it has to do with trust – especially when the customer hasn’t mastered a given language. When you offer an alternative in a language that the customer understands, he or she may feel more confident about making a purchase. It provides your customer a ‘cultural comfort zone’ if you will.

Image is everything! A multiple-language site shows that you think, work and do business internationally.

Various studies have been done on the importance of a site’s being in one’s own language. In one of these studies, more than half of the respondents indicated that they are likelier to pay for a particular product if it’s displayed and explained in one’s own language. I hear you thinking: isn’t English enough? Maybe. But you should be aware that the majority of web users are not in English-speaking countries. And if your site and social media are available in other languages, this offers more potential for being found in non-English search engines.

If you’re going to do it, then do it right!

I read an interesting article this week by Erik Hartman about content management and the pitfalls of localisation. In it, he made reference to Gerry McGovern, who emphasised that you should translate your site only if you’re prepared to do it properly. If you’re site isn’t translated well, the visitor quickly loses confidence.

Often, companies choose translators or agencies based on price. I certainly understand that companies need to keep costs in mind. I think it’s very important that you first give thought to your objective with translation. And with large projects, particularly – such as websites, product information or marketing campaigns – it’s important to pay attention to the quality of the localisation. Translations are no different from other investments: buying cheap sometimes costs a lot more. Shaun Blijstra emphasises this on the platform for interactive marketing in a clear article with terrific examples.

The moral of the story is: a good translation can make all the difference! So whether they’re written, edited or translated: good texts communicate your message clearly.

Inspired? Questions? Then please get in touch!

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