There is a clearly visible trend in the business today, especially amongst small and medium sized businesses, to approach international markets via digital means. Indeed, with the growth and developments in technology and internet, it is now easier than ever for small businesses to reach out to entirely new, foreign markets and take a slice for themselves. Yet, although this is now easier than ever, it is still not an easy task at all and such expansion requires not only a great deal of preparation and planning, but also the use of professional translation services.
Translate your website
The very fundamental step which any business owner simply must take in order to be successful when approaching a foreign market is translating the business website so that it is available in the market’s native language. A study conducted recently shows that over 25% of European customers purchase goods from online stores based abroad regularly, nevertheless, as much as 90% of such customers feel more inclined to finalise a purchase if information about the product/service is available to them in their mother language.
As you can see, these are very significant numbers and must be taken into account when planning on expanding into foreign markets. In order to translate a website, the business owner has several ways of conducing the process. There are a number of free tools available online, such as Google translate, which although instant and free, can often cause a headache when it comes to accuracy and consequently the professional image of your business. Another option is asking a friend/family member who happens to speak your target language to translate the content for you. Although it may seem like a good idea at first, it’s important to remember that just because someone is able of speaking a foreign language, doesn’t necessary mean they can translate. Indeed, translation, especially for marketing purposes, is much more than simply conveying words for words literally. Another option, and perhaps most advisable, is working with a professional translation agency which guarantees not only accuracy and reliability, but also ensures localisation, which in the case of a business website can be extremely important.
Localise your message
Localising your website content for the target market can often make the difference between success and failure. Just because something worked perfectly fine in your home market, does not automatically mean it will be successful abroad. An expert translation agency will be able to advise you on whether such service is necessary and if so, conduct the research and complete the translation and localisation processes smoothly. Often, simply conveying words in your material isn’t enough and so a translation agency will advise you to carefully localise your website for the market you want to address. This includes ensuring that details such as dates, currency, colours etc. are appropriate, suitable and easily understood by the visitors in your target market.
The legal stuff
Apart from professionally translating your website and other marketing material, it is important to remember that all of your legal material, such as contracts, T&Cs or agreements should also be carefully translated. In many cases a customer would refer to the small print on your website before finalising a purchase, especially knowing that you are based abroad. Returns, delivery options etc. should all be clearly and accurately translated in order to give your customers assurance in your business. Often, being able to fully understand the terms & conditions can convince the consumer to trust your business and buy your products and services. Also, from a legal point of view, in case of any disputes, it is important to be able to prove that the information was in fact available to the customer in their native language to read.
Many small and medium sized UK businesses compete on the home market with the help of search engines and organic visits to their website. This, if planned and executed correctly, can also be a very fruitful strategy abroad. Again, working with an agency specialising in providing translation services can be very useful in such situation. The company will not only translate and localise your website content, but could also prepare an in-depth research, highlighting keywords searches, opportunities etc. in the country and language you want to target. Often, a literal translation of a keyword can lose its original meaning or value. Let’s take the word ‘translation agency’ as an example. Although in the United Kingdom this would be a natural search, in countries such as Germany or Poland people would search for a ‘Translation Bureau’ instead.
As you can see, translating your website as well as marketing and legal material can significantly increase your chances for success when approaching new, foreign markets. Although this is the most expensive option, working with a professional translation agency is perhaps your best bet in order to maintain a professional image of your company and ensure that all of your material is translated and localised accurately and therefore is suitable for the target audience.