Translation is No Longer Optional for Your Business Website

by Translation Guy on December 21, 2012

You’ve got to do it. If your website in only in English, you will only have English-speaking customers. You’re missing out on all the rest. It’s cheaper and easier to reach these people than ever before, and that means they expect it now. Your competitors are doing it, and here’s why:

1. More customers will speak your language(s). Three-quarters of international consumers surf the web almost exclusively in their native language, says the market research firm Common Sense Advisory. For access to 90% of the world’s online wallet, only 13 languages are required: English, Japanese, German, Spanish, French, simplified Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Korean, Arabic, Russian, and Swedish.

2. English-language economic growth has stalled. Global economic growth is occurring in other languages in emerging markets.

3. Piggyback languages for fatter margins. Adding second-language components to existing marketing campaigns can really bring home some extra bacon. For example, Spanish language outreach brings in a different and desirable demographic of US households. It’s the same for Polish in the UK, or Turkish in Germany.

4. Average cost to create original content is 65 cents per word. Average cost per translated word is a fraction of that. Adding translation memory to the mix and eliminating repeated translation costs entirely can send ROI to infinity and beyond

5.  Translation is easy. It’s the job of language service providers to make translation go smoothly. You’ll be able to determine how closely you want to participate in the process (if you work with us at 1-800-Translate).

6. Website translation is a win against competitors. Your gain is their loss. Every translation is either a required market defense or an end-run around the competition.

7. One brand, one voice. Globally consistent branding with local flavor represents an asset with measurable value. Research shows that a minimum of 16 languages are now required if you want to be among the best at remaining competitive online around the world, according to Rebecca Ray of Common Sense Advisory.

She writes, “According to the International Monetary Fund, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) alone will account for as much as 61% of global growth over the next three years. Currently, these five countries comprise 42% of the world’s population and 18% of its GDP. And right behind them are Indonesia, Mexico, and Turkey as fast-growing economies with middle classes whose purse strings are loosening and whose wallets are expanding. Now is the time to put your international business strategy in order, supported by an appropriate translation plan for your website, to allow your team to support local prospects and customers according to their expectations.”

Nicely put, Rebecca.


  1. The point about a consistent global brand is an extremely valuable point, and should be considered by anyone looking to establish their business in the global marketplace.

    • Ken says:

      and further to that. Michael, mostevery marketplace is a global marketplace these days

    • Ken says:

      Consistency is king. Thanks for your comments.

      • Chris Kim says:

        I can’t agree more and it’s never easy

  2. Only 13 languages… only? That is still a significant step.

    • Ken says:

      Thirteen significant steps, truly. we always tell our customers to localize one language at a time when their first getting started.

  3. Janis says:

    I had a mishap with translation, where it was found some of my product names didn’t transfer smoothly, so you have to watch out for that.

  4. Aaron Smith says:

    Some really excellent points, people need to think more globally to stay on the front foot.

  5. I think that saying English language economic growth has stalled is a bit of an overstatement, it has slowed but still has an upward trend.

  6. Andrey says:

    I didn’t realize it had become BRICS, rather than BRIC.

    • Ken says:

      BRIC + South Africa = BRICS. thanks for pointing out the difference.

  7. Mickey says:

    I’m slightly surprised that Portugese and Swedish feature on that list.

  8. christen says:

    I’ve just never understood the lighting yourself on fire in protest thing, it’s horrifying and just senseless. Wouldn’t their movement be better served by them being alive to help, rather than killing themselves and giving the Chinese something to point to ad say these people are radicals and dangerous.

    • Ken says:

      all Tibetan activists would agree with you, Christin. To see thenoble passions of youth bent to such self-destruction is truly heartbreaking.

  9. Tukey is one of the fastest growing economies? Really! That is interesting, I wonder how the economy will fair full integration into the EU given the poor climate in the rest of Europe.

    • Ken says:

      Don’t look for Turkey in the EU anytime soon. Scott. The Euros will never let them in.

  10. What would be the best language to focus on beyond the first seven on that list? What brings in the most bang for your buck? Russian, it would seem the most widely spoken of the end of the list, or would it be Korean?

  11. Ravindra says:

    While I can understand your position, smaller businesses that are positioned to do modest business is this a good investment or would it grow the business too fast? I had serveral friends who had problems with too much business following getting involved with things like Groupon and I worry about expanding too quickly to keep up with what the business is actually capable of.

    • Ken says:

      I used to get the same line from my Yellow Pages rep. How was I going to handle all the business my big ad was going to bring in. Somehow it was never more than we could handle.but you’ve got a good point. if you start the transaction in a particular language your customer will expect you to finish in the same and support in the same. Multi language customer service can get tricky and expensive if best practice is not applied.

  12. Doris says:

    What exactly is the fraction of 65 cents for translated work?

  13. Rick Bosl says:

    I worry about investing in translation for markets like China when their economy is slowing down and the vast majority of the country can’t afford consumer goods, although the point about local markets is valid.

  14. Nice article, I’ve been considering offering a multilingual option on my website, you make some good points.

LiveZilla Live Chat Software