The benefits of website translation, for both customers and businesses, go far beyond basic comprehension and accessibility.
A study about language-related Internet usage trends in Europe highlights the importance of website translation for international users: A professionally translated and localized website can enhance communication between businesses and customers, help customers avoid frustration and feel at ease, and boost business for companies.
The report released by the European Commission in 2011 was based on a Gallup survey of language preferences among Internet users in European Union countries. It revealed that, if given a choice, nine out of ten EU Internet users surveyed would always prefer to visit a website in their own language. Only a little more than half of those surveyed, 53 percent, said they would be willing to visit a website in English if it was not available in their own language.
Benefits of Website Translation for Customers
Obviously, basic comprehension and availability of information are the primary benefits for customers who are able to access a website in their own language. Website translation also opens up more opportunities and options for Internet users.
According to the Gallup survey, 44 percent of EU Internet users thought they were missing out on interesting information — simply because certain websites were not available in a language they understood.
Customers are also hesitant to buy services or products online if the website providing information about them is not available in their language. Among European users surveyed, 42 percent said they never search for or purchase products online in another language.
Advantages of Website Translation for Business
It goes without saying that expanding opportunities for customers also equals expanding opportunities for businesses. The more information a business can give its customers, the more likely a customer will engage with that business, be it by simply clicking through the company’s website, or purchasing a product or service from that business.
Optimized website translation can also help businesses climb the ranks in Google. When using Google France, for example, a French Internet user is far more likely to find a French-language website that has been translated from the English than he is to find the original English-language version of the site.
Language Matters in Website Translation: A Global Problem
Although this data is specifically drawn from people living in the European Union, it’s easy to see that the conclusions can be applied to other regions. Having a limited comfort zone when it comes to engaging with foreign languages on the Internet — especially when it comes to purchasing products online — is certainly not exclusive to European consumers.
Those businesses that do maintain great website translations will win the appreciation of their customers and reap the benefits.