If you are reading this, it’s probably because you have decided to translate your website. You want your online content to be available in more than one language. Great decision!
Let’s not, then, waste time discussing the obvious fact that marketing efforts are worth very little if your visitors can’t read the content in their own language. Rather, let’s face the hard part… deciding into how many languages to translate your website. Here you will find a step-by-step guide, so sit back and take it all in!
Step 1: Find Your Why
What’s the purpose behind your decision to translate your website? Is it making it rank higher in search engines by driving more traffic to it? Or do you want more visitors to take some action on your site, like buying a product or asking for a quote? If your answer is the former, jump to Step 1a. If your answer is the latter, skip to Step 1b.
Step 1a: The Main Internet Languages
If you simply want to drive more traffic to your website, go for (some of) the languages most commonly used in the Web. After all, it’s the safest short-term growth approach. Internet World Stats shows the following numbers:
Step 1b: Market Research and Traffic Analysis
If the purpose of having a multilingual page is selling a product or service, you don’t want to translate your website into other languages before doing some market research. If you already know you want to target a specific region (say, South America or the Middle East), research the languages spoken in those regions/countries and start there.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a specific market in mind, or you don’t know into what markets your business could benefit from expanding, you need some market research. You can start by checking your website stats to see where your website traffic is coming from. Also, study the insights from your social media platforms. What are the top countries? What languages are spoken there? Are those countries suitable markets for what you want to sell? You will always be better off consulting a marketing specialist; after all, you need professional guidance to spend your money wisely. We recommend these guys.
Step 3: Test The Waters
By now, you’ve made a list of 4 or 5 potential languages into which to translate your website. Wicked! Careful, now; don’t try them all out at once, because you’ll need to measure your site’s progress. Translate first into one language, and track your site’s stats for a few months. See how your conversion rate and traffic are affected, and whether it’s worth the investment of adding another language.
Step 4: A Word of Warning
We know it’s crossed your mind, but don’t do it! Machine translation is your worst enemy when it comes to translating website content because it will most probably backfire. What you need is called Transcreation, and it basically means recreating the original content taking into account what works in the target market and the culture of your target audience. Click here for a free quote for your website!