It is essential that UK businesses do not communicate in English only. In addition to the UK’s linguistic diversity, overseas customers and suppliers appreciate being spoken to in their native language. It can avoid cultural or communication barriers with employees and suppliers, and it can help customers feel as if the brand values ââthem as people. Here are five reasons why a translation service is necessary and useful for business growth.
# 1 – Local and accessible content
If you want to bring your business to a new culture, you’ll need to focus on local content adaptations. This process allows all the details of a message or product to fit into the local culture appropriately. Updating local content can:
- Adjust the graphics to include the new language or represent local demographics
- Change the layout of a post to work with the new language, such as making sure that text that reads vertically rather than horizontally is easy to read on the page
- Make sure the product or marketing complies with local regulations such as privacy or disclosure laws
- Avoid cultural insensitivity in messaging
- Edit small details to make the product or message look natural, like currency symbols or address formats
# 2 – social media awareness
Social media is a major way to reach new customers and grow your business. Some companies even use it to communicate with employees and partner companies. Below are some tips to make sure you reach out to your customers or business partners in their native language and culture on social media.
- Consider what are the popular social media platforms in the region or language in which you want to communicate. For example, China uses Renren rather than Facebook
- Familiarize yourself with how to post on each platform. Instagram is richer in photos, while Twitter tends to use shorter posts. Facebook can absorb slightly longer messages
- Keep in mind that translating social media posts will be an ongoing need. Facebook accounts who have 10,000+ subscribers had the most clicks per post when they posted 31 to 60 times per month. The most consistent clicks per post for all account types were those that posted one to five times per month. This is a regular expense, so be sure to include the costs in your marketing budget.
- Social media posts should be professionally translated. Social media is very informal, so it needs to reach people in a way that is both native and natural. Poor translations could offend local cultures or seem stilted. Many social media users do not follow brands because they feel the posts are offensive or inappropriate
# 3 – SEO and website translation service
SEO is all about optimizing a website for search engines to recognize it. International SEO optimizes a website in such a way that search engines know which countries you are targeting or which languages ââyou are using. As complex as it may sound, it’s really just a matter of following certain processes. To get a website to rank in a foreign region, you need to:
- Use a URL structure that matches the conventions of the area you are targeting. This is the foreign version of how a UK site tends to have co.uk at the end of its website addresses.
- Add language tags in the HTML encoding to tell search engines which language (s) you are using
- And, of course, translate the website content into the new language
There are other approaches you can use. You can host your website on a local IP address in the new region. You can link from regional resources on your website. You can even find the most common search engines in the new region and target them because Google doesn’t use everywhere.
> See also: 3 Ways to Improve Your Chances of Success Exporting Abroad
# 4 – make it easier to navigate e-commerce
Forty percent of consumers will not buy from websites in other languages, so a translation service is necessary if you want to reach customers who speak another language, whether at home or abroad.
E-commerce pages must also take into account local conventions. When updating an ecommerce page, you might need to address some elements of the website design. In addition to translating the text, you may need to change the layout of the website so that it is easy to read in the new language. You might also need to update various formatting details, such as currency symbols on product pages and payment carts, or address and phone number formats on contact pages. Finally, you might need to modify the graphics to suit local conventions, such as capturing local landmarks in photos or replacing pictures with pictures that show patterns representing local demographics.
Updating local content can also ensure that an e-commerce site complies with local regulations, such as cookie notifications or privacy policies. In addition, it ensures that the product or message can adapt to the local culture in a way that is easy to understand and not offensive. For these purposes, the process may involve rewriting elements to avoid certain references or to avoid sentences that do not have a literal translation in the language into which the message is translated.
# 5 – targeted email marketing campaigns
You can easily manage email marketing through services like Constant Contact, iContact, HubSpot, or MailChimp. But you still need to have your emails translated by a professional service so that they read well in the new language.
A translation service can peek at an email campaign in a way that a machine can’t. A human translator can:
- Make sure the tone of the email stays the same across languages
- Present the email so that it works in any language
- Remove or edit anything that could be culturally offensive
- Adapt an email to certain usage patterns, which may change from region to region
Marketing also tends to use a lot of figurative language, which requires a high level of cultural understanding to be translated. Machines often lack this.
If an email doesn’t look professional in any way, the recipient is likely to delete it as possible spam. You can increase your chances of reaching more customers or even business partners by making sure your emails are professional in any language.
Ofer Tirosh is CEO of the translation service Tomedes
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