Should you translate your website and marketing materials?

Marco
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Originally published within the Undertow Blog.

As your business grows, you have managed to establish yourself as a contender in your sector, and now you’d like to expand your reach, bringing your products or services to more customers, all over the world. But how do you do that in the most effective way?

First of all, you’ll have to consider where you are starting from. If the main language you have used for your marketing campaigns so far is not English, you’ll want to start promoting your brand in English, as well as your native language. You could start with your website. However, if you translate it yourself or ask one of your colleagues, your results could range anywhere from poor to ridiculous. That’s why it’s best to hire a professional copywriter. A badly translated website could give the idea that you don’t really care about that particular market, and that’s not the first impression you want to give to potential customers.

If your main language is English, you can bank on the fact that a significant number of your potential customers speak English to a certain degree, and you might be wondering whether it’s worth translating at all. Why would you waste time and resources creating content in their native language? Well, the answer is simple, really: customer engagement. According to studies from CSA Research, most people are more comfortable going through the buying process in their own language, and 40% of them go as far as saying that they would not buy unless they can do so in their preferred language. If you want to enter the market successfully, you should invest in creating content that is relevant for your audience, rather than pouring huge sums into Google ads that might generate traffic but no sale. So, yes, you should bother.

At this point, you’ll probably consider using machine translation to adapt your content. That’s certainly a possibility, but you should keep in mind that, despite all the improvements in the field, Google Translate is still unsuitable for certain types of texts. It might work well to get a basic understanding of instruction manuals or terms and conditions, but do you really want to trust Google with the “About us” page of your website? Don’t take it from us! Even Google advises against using Google Translate. And if you are looking for a concrete example, read this article from The Guardian to find out what happened when Amazon chose automatic translation for the Swedish version of their platform (spoiler: it didn’t go well).

The bottom line here is that marketing materials (be it website pages, social media campaigns, banners, newsletters, etc.) are the way you introduce yourself to your customers. You wouldn’t show up to an important meeting with a mustard stain on your shirt, would you? Well, a badly localized website is just like a mustard stain, except it affects EVERY meeting. And the worst part is that, unless someone in your organisation speaks the language, only your customers will see it, while you and your team will be left wondering why you are not getting the results you expected.

When you decide to launch your brand in new markets, you should choose a partner that can help you find the right voice in each language, while staying true to your global values. This way you’ll be able to create engaging content that resonates with your local audiences. That’s what we do at Undertow: we are a boutique language service provider specialised in marketing and advertising. We believe that engaging communication is crucial for your brand’s success and we can help you promote your company on international markets without losing your brand’s tone of voice. Focusing on your goals, we can create or adapt content aligned with your strategy that will allow you to reach local audiences worldwide.

Contact Undertow to find out more.

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Pixel Executive is a full-service Digital Agency. Whether for a simple brochure website, a multilingual website, an e-commerce site, or digital marketing, we help you build your business and your brand. Our team is supported by a network of trusted specialists such as copywriters, translators, and experts in multilingual SEO.  Whatever your requirement for design, content marketing, or website maintenance, we support you every step of the way.

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