Did you know that 56.2% of consumers give more importance to being able to read information in their language than to the price of a product or service, and that 75% do not, in fact, make their purchase decision if they do not have the information in your own language ? ( Common Sense Advisory ).
If you are thinking of expanding your horizons and want to start attracting clients from other countries, you will have already realized that you need, first of all, to communicate with them in some way.
And that means translating your web page .
I am not going to talk to you about the technical aspects involved in creating a multilingual website because I am not an expert on the subject (apart from the fact that I think the subject would last for 2 or 3 more articles), but I want to talk to you about how to adapt your content to better connect with your foreign audience .
Translating your website will not only help you gain more visibility in the foreign market but will also increase the chances of buying since, according to the study I mentioned before, most customers prefer to buy on pages that they can read in their own language because they gives more confidence.
Surely you have a lot of questions about how to do it or where to start and, for this reason, I would like to make it very easy for you with the 5 steps that I present below:
But choose wisely, don't jump into English out of inertia .
It is true that English is the most used language on the Internet (and be careful! Spanish is making notable progress lately), but it does not have to be one of the essential ones in your case.
Analyze your particular situation well because, if it happens that your company is Spanish and you want to start selling in France or Portugal, English will not help you much. At least not at first. So prioritize .
Decide in which countries you want to open a market and, depending on the languages spoken in those countries, you will know which ones will be the most suitable for your new multilingual website.
To refine it even further, take into account the geographical variant of the languages you have chosen , that is, if you want to attract clients from the United States or Brazil, the American variants of English or Portuguese (as the case may be) should prevail over the European ones. .
There are important differences between one and the other , something that you yourself will have been able to appreciate with Spanish. Is it true that a Spaniard does not express himself in the same way as a Mexican or an Argentine (for example)?
Choose the most appropriate variant for the new audience you want to address and make sure you maintain consistency in all your texts .
If you care little where your new customers come from (UK, US, Australia or wherever) because you simply want to have the website in English, try to use a neutral style .
But remember, always keeping consistency, whatever style you use.
You do not have to show each and every one of the pages of your current website.
At least not at first, because it will depend on the objective you are pursuing with your new multilingual website (gain more visibility and traffic? Get leads ? Or generate more sales?) and the level of visibility you start from.
If you are famous all over the world, you should have no problem selling from day one with your new website.
But since I don't think that's your case, and since you're starting to stick your head out in the new foreign market, chances are your chances of getting immediate sales are very low, because no one (or almost no one) buys on the first visit or in the first contact with a company.
Your goal, then, is to gain visibility and that is why it is not worth 'getting into the kitchen' from the beginning. Translating is an investment that should be profitable for you, and launching yourself into translating all the products in your catalog or all the articles on your blog at once can be like killing a mosquito with a cannonball, especially if the market does not respond as expected.
Try little by little .
You can start with the most basic and essential, that is, your home page, the 'About' page, your services page and the contact page. As if it were a first tasting for your potential clients, your cover letter . This is the strategy followed by other freelancers, such as Laura Ribas .
Don't worry if you have doubts about which pages to choose. You can always make changes later, add pages, modify or remove others, etc.
Remember that the first time you launched your website, it was not a final version either.
In fact, the normal thing is that later you need to make some tweaks and changes to optimize based on the monitoring you do and the results you observe.
Websites can (and should) be constantly evolving to ensure that they are always well aligned with the goals you have set for your company, as well as a good user experience. The translated version of your website is no exception to this rule.
So, decide what you want to achieve with the translated version of your website , what is its mission? What steps do you want the new user to take when they land on your page? Based on that, choose the pages that you want to translate and mark the navigation itinerary so that the user fulfills the objective that you have set for yourself .
What do you want to get from your new user? That they subscribe to your newsletter ? That they request a quote? That they fill out a form?
How are you going to build the relationship with your new potential customers so that, over time, they end up buying from your page?
If you want to get the data of your visits to keep in touch with them, you will need to adapt your subscription forms, as well as the sequence of automatic emails that will reach them when subscribing or when filling in other forms that you have prepared.
If you use MailChimp you won't have much of a problem with that, since everything comes in English by default, unless the language you want to translate your website into is another (such as French), in which case you will need to translate this as well. email sequence.
If, in addition, you want to offer some free content to increase the conversion rate of your visits, you will also need to translate the content that you already offer on your website in Spanish or create a new one for the occasion.
In short: select the elements (forms and free content) that you will need to establish a relationship with your new audience that will lead them (over time) to become your customers.
If you already know the language, the pages and the elements that you need in your multilingual website , you can start with the translation .
But, hey! Since you're targeting a new culture, you can't just translate the content, you also need to localize it .
Just in case you're not too familiar with the term, 'localizing' is the process of tailoring and manufacturing a product to make it look and function like an item made in a particular country (Association for Standardization definition). Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA ), that is, in your case, you must adapt the content so that it is appropriate with respect to the new culture you are targeting.
Normally the term 'localize' is more associated with applications or computer products, but in the case of the contents of your website, I mean that you cannot simply translate the words of your texts, but you have to adapt your message in such a way that your potential clients do not find it strange , and that it is as natural for them as the original is for its corresponding recipients.
For example, if you express amounts in euros, you will need to convert them to the local currency (pounds, dollars, etc.) or, if you indicate a phone number on your contact page, you must add the international prefix, it would even be a good idea to add an account Skype to make communication easier and cheaper.
Don't forget to also adapt local and cultural references or information that only makes sense to your original audience.
For example, if in one of your recipe articles (if you are a cook) you make a reference to Alberto Chicote, you will need to do something with this reference because it is unlikely that your new reader will understand you if they do not know him.
So, if you don't want your foreign reader to be like someone who hears rain, in the translated version you should either explain who the character you are alluding to is, or replace that mention with another figure that in their culture is equivalent both in fame as in the features that characterize Chicote.
And the same will happen with all the information you have of this style on your website or in your blog articles.
To ensure that the adaptation is correct, it is best to have the advice of a professional translator and, if possible, their mother tongue is the one into which you want to translate your website.
It will propose the best solutions so that your translated message is understood as well as the original, and that the content is correct and expressed naturally.
If you have infographics or images with text, you will need to edit them and translate their content as well . Otherwise, the user who arrives at your website will not understand them and they will not be of any use to you.
Another important detail about the graphic elements of your website is the different meaning that a symbol can have in one culture compared to another . You could screw up a lot if they are radically opposite, for example, if you put a thumbs up icon. In the United States and in many European countries it is something positive but in some countries of Latin America and the Middle East it is very offensive.
This other sign, which in some countries indicates approval (in the United States, for example) in other countries is an insult (in France, Germany or Greece). For example, the times I have used it have been to indicate that a meal has seemed delicious or that something that they have told me seems perfect.
In short, what do you mean by a symbol like this “supreme quality!” and maybe the user understands "gili******!"
Better not play it with these things.
Make sure your icons, images, and other graphic elements don't conflict with the new culture you want to target, and if so, change or remove them.
Your translator will also be able to help you a lot with these details and is the one who can best advise you and inform you about how the contents of your website will be interpreted.
Once you have everything ready and reviewed, add your translated website to your current website (this is up to your designers) and let the international client hunt begin!