It’s not rare for businesses and other organizations to see the translation process merely as the conversion of content from one language into another. When scanning for professional translators, they focus entirely on their language skills and qualifications, assuming those are the only relevant factors.
However, more action is needed for translated content to be as effective in the target country as the original content is in the source country. You don’t just want your target audience to understand products, services, websites, and mobile apps: you want your prospective customers to resonate with them. Your content must “feel” native and authentic to those who consume it.
A high-quality translation may be enough for a person in another country to achieve basic comprehension. However, if your goal is to create interest, stimulate engagement and induce a desire for what you sell, your content must be shaped in a way that takes into account the local culture, social norms, and communication patterns. This is exactly what a localization process tries to achieve and what your business needs to aim for international growth.
But is it worth investing resources in localizing your content? Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Let’s answer this question in detail.
A World of Opportunities
As of 2022, there are 5.07 billion people using the internet around the world. Based on data published by Statista, only 25.9% use English, followed by Chinese at 19.4%, Spanish at 7.9% and Arabic at 5.2%. Even a language as popular as French is currently used by only 3.3% of internet users.
Research also shows us that:
- 90% of online consumers shop in their native language when it’s available on an eCommerce website
- 55% of consumers won’t buy from websites that don’t provide product information in their own languages
- 72% of online shoppers are more likely to buy from a website that is written in their native language
- 65% of non-native English speakers prefer reading content in their native language
- 56.2% of customers value being able to obtain information in their languages more than price.
These data should give you an idea of the opportunities that can open up for businesses that make engaging and informative content available in multiple languages and countries. Localization allows you to reach more customers, generate more website traffic, create brand awareness in new markets and eventually boost your revenues and profits. Note that the localization process isn’t just a strategy to enter new markets, but it’s also a way to grow your business in existing markets and boost the loyalty of your existing client base.
The Impact of Localization on Your Return on Investment (ROI)
Some recent studies have highlighted that 64% of technology buyers appreciate content that is tailored to their geographic area when evaluating possible purchases and that localized campaigns tend to massively outperform English campaigns in clicks and conversions. The positive effects of localization have also been recorded in the apps market, in which localized mobile apps lead to 128% more downloads per country, which in turn resulted in a 26% increase in weekly revenues.
Among the reasons why many businesses still don’t take advantage of the localization process, we find a lack of know-how and the fear that it may lead to high costs. Therefore, for decision markers to be reassured, one has to assess the impact of the localization process on their overall ROI and not just on its sales.
There are multiple factors that influence a business’ ROI, and they tend to change from industry to industry and from business to business. However, general studies have shown that localization ROI can be as high as $25 dollars for every $1 that you invest.
In the long term, this figure may be even higher when you consider that, in addition to the benefits mentioned earlier, localization also allows you to reduce the risk of bad publicity associated with the lack of representation or, worse, with a misrepresentation of your products and services in foreign markets.
Choosing the Right Localization Experts Can Further Boost Your Results
Whether your ROI will be positively impacted by the localization process or not also depends on the level of knowledge, skills and expertise of the experts you decide to hire for your localization projects.
Obviously, your team of localization specialists must include professional translation experts who master both the source language and the language in which you need your content to be translated. On top of that, they need a deep understanding of the culture, social norms, business environment, and consumer environment, as well as verbal and non-verbal communication patterns in the target market in which the business is trying to enter or increase its current market share. Localization experts are not just supposed to speak the native language of such a target country and provide excellent translation service and quality assurance: they must have an insider perspective and be able to perceive things like native customers would.
A local perspective on the industry in which you operate is also an essential trait to look for in providers of localization and translation services. The same goes for a good level of expertise in the type of content that must be localized. Depending on each specific scenario, content may have been produced by software developers, project managers, or a marketing team. It may refer to core product components, advertisements, multimedia, web pages, mobile apps, a user interface or other forms of traditional and digital content. A team of agile localization experts is able to provide both consistent translation services and a sufficient level of adjustment to the local practices in that specific industry and for that specific type of content.
Last but not least, your service provider must have full mastery of various localization tools, including a content management system, computer-assisted translation, a translation management system, a bug tracking platform, and quality assurance tools.
Seize Global Opportunities with Localization
On the whole, the benefits of pursuing content localization seem to significantly outweigh the benefits. Provided that you have a clear understanding of the markets in which you are planning to expand, how to differentiate your offer from the competition, and the potential that your product or service has in that environment, selecting the right localization partner can make the difference between achieving mediocre or disappointing results and turning global opportunities into actual revenues and profits.