Could website localisation give you a global edge?

Translating your website for foreign markets is an increasingly important move for many businesses as they increase their global reach. But there’s a big difference between literal translation and professional website localisation. Professional translation services can give your website the edge, when it comes to all important first impressions and converting sales in new markets.

Avoid cheap website localisation

Lots of free online services offer literal translation for your website, but copying and pasting your content into these tools won’t give you the outcome you were looking for, and certainly won’t impress your international audience.

For a start, it will be full of errors – the famous catchphrase from The American Dairy Association, “Got Milk” was mistranslated in Mexico as: “Are You Lactating?” – not the brand image they were going for, I think…

If a translation hasn’t been done by a professional, native-speaker, it won’t sound right for your target market. Not only are professional translators qualified to convey and communicate in another language, they are also able to advise on local cultures and if certain content or images would be appropriate for other audiences.

Cultural factors can be as important as grammatical ones, especially when it comes to website localisation. If key search words and phrases differ from your existing markets, it’s important to find the local equivalent of these, in order to ensure you reach as many people as possible.

Why translate? Most of the Internet is in English

Whilst there are 870 million English-speaking internet users, there is also a huge multilingual audience on the web, including 700 million Chinese-speaking users and 255 million Spanish-speaking. Don’t forget that the UK and the US were originally more technologically advanced than other markets, but we’re now seeing a growing number of emerging markets gaining access to the Internet and increasing their online spending.

Internet users in India increased 30% from 2015 to 2016, in comparison UK internet users increased 0.9%.

What’s more, the rate of non-English webpages is expanding rapidly – from 2001 to 2011, the amount of Internet content written in English grew 281%, Spanish content grew 743%, for Chinese content 1277% and for Arabic, 2501%.

We’ve created the below infographic to highlight some of the facts you might not know about how the world is reading and spending online.

languages on the internet facts



As well as being a self-confessed language geek and baking fanatic, Fiona is the Digital Marketing Manager at Capita Translation and Interpreting. When she's not writing blogs, she often dreams of touring France one patisserie at a time.

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