Fail to translate your website and you could miss 85 percent of the international market. That’s the percentage of global shoppers Common Sense Advisory says buy exclusively from sites in their language. In its report “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy,” the Cambridge-based research firm statistically outlines what common sense could tell you: people don't buy what they don’t understand.
The trick is, generating global revenue takes more than just translation. A fully-localized site is holistic, looking at everything on the page that conveys meaning: colors, pictures, etc. Translate only words, and that carefully executed site becomes an international cost-center. So what are the top 4 techniques you can apply now to make sure your site is revenue-ready?
1) Keep It Omnichannel
The goal of omnichannel marketing is to create a single, streamlined experience across all consumer touchpoints — site, mobile, and social. This experience begins with language. Look at site links to make sure the customer journey doesn’t keep changing from one language to another.
Are internal links pointing to translated pages? Does your Spanish site direct to an English-only Facebook? Direct translated sites to in-language social or consider pulling those links from your site.
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2) Make Sure the Price Is Right
You can translate the word “dollar” into Japanese, but it won’t do you any good: In Japan they use the yen. Always list item pricing in the local currency. Exchange rates change, so companies that only accept USD should consider adding a conversion calculator to their site for customer convenience. If you accept other funds, make sure local prices are comparable to what items sell for in the US. Common Sense Advisory says 57 percent of global shoppers prefer saving money to receiving information in-language. If they can buy a product for less from your English site, they will, leaving you with inflated cart abandonment stats for the translated page.
3) Check out Your Check-Out
Imagine how frustrating it would be to find the right product, then get blocked by a web error at checkout. Take a look at your address entry fields: Is a zip code required? Not all countries have them. Many that do — France, for example — put postal codes in front of the city, not behind a state. In fact, the French don’t include regions in their addresses at all. Other countries — like Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom — use alphanumeric codes, so make sure entry fields accept letters and numbers. Pay attention to your country list, too — not just that it’s translated but that your website’s target audience actually recognizes the countries listed as sovereign states. China, for example, doesn’t recognize Taiwan, so including it could anger customers.
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4) Consider Translation Management Software
For a localized website to be truly profitable, you also have to weigh the cost of your time. From updating links to maintaining country lists, keeping sites current across multiple languages quickly becomes a logistical nightmare. Every minor copy change creates work. Instead of copying and pasting source strings into Excel — which is how translation companies used to localize websites, consider translation management software (TMS). TMS monitor your English site for changes. When one’s made, the tool auto-extracts copy, dispatches it to translators, then uploads the new language to your site without any effort from you. A well-optimized TMS eliminates up to 90 percent of manual translation tasks.