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Could Website Translation Be Your Key To International Markets?

In today's globalised economy, businesses that can successfully enter and serve international markets have a distinct advantage over those that only operate domestically. By tapping into new markets, businesses can diversify their revenue streams, access new talent and resources and position themselves for long-term growth and success.

website translation be your key to international markets

The practicalities of going global

It’s relatively easy for UK-based businesses to reach out to other English-speaking countries. This in itself can open up significant new opportunities. The USA, for example, is a vast market in its own right.

There may also be opportunities for people to expand into countries where English is widely spoken as a second language. The extent of these opportunities is, however, likely to depend heavily on your business sector. In particular, businesses selling to other businesses are likely to have more options than the business-to-consumer sector.

With that said, even people who speak English fluently do not necessarily wish to do so, at least not when they are buying goods and/or services. They may well prefer to deal with people who speak their language, both literally and figuratively. These people may choose only to look at websites in their own language. At the very least, they will strongly prefer them. 

Why website translation matters

For modern businesses, their website is often the start, or close to the start, of their sales funnel. It, therefore, provides a prospect’s first real impression of a business. Not only does it need to impress them, but it also needs to impress them quickly.

One common factor of prospects around the globe is that you literally only get a few seconds to make a first impression. What’s more, in business, it’s very true that you only get one chance to do so. If you fluff that chance, your prospect will find a competitor to serve their need.

Considering translation services for your website into your customers’ language(s) makes for the most effective communication. Effective communication is communication that customers can understand quickly and that conveys its meaning clearly. It is therefore communication that delivers the best customer experience and hence promotes engagement and trust.

How to translate a business website

There are basically only two ways to translate a website. One is machine translation and the other is human translation. They are often used in combination (to some extent). Currently, however, the best translations of whole texts are always created by humans.

Machine translations may be fine for single words and basic sentences. They are, however, nowhere near the standard expected of business websites. This is why it’s highly unwise to rely on browsers' automatic translations of websites. It’s also why it's a false economy to rely on tools such as Google Translate or Chat GPT to translate your website for you.

The key point to understand is that, even for factual texts, translation is about more than just words. It’s actually about capturing meaning in a way that makes sense for the reader. The best translation also captures the tone, or brand voice, of the original text.

For example, most languages, including English, are full of idioms. These are common expressions that are widely understood as having a different meaning from what the words would suggest (e.g., to let the cat out of the bag). Human translators understand these and understand how to convey the correct meaning in the target language.

Human translators also translocalise text

Human translators will also adapt texts as necessary to make them suitable for people of different cultures and hence with different experiences of the world. Depending on your preference, they may do this on their own or in collaboration with you.

This translocation of text is often an essential part of the translation project, even for business texts. References that make total sense to the target audience in English-speaking countries may, at best, mean nothing to international audiences. At worst, they may be tactless or even offensive.

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