64% of online population is Non-English

Jurga Zilinskiene, MD of Today Translations says it’s time the British started fighting for new customers in Europe and outlines her new initiative to help companies boost their overseas trade.

Latest statistics show that non English speakers accessing the Internet represent over 64% of the global online population. This figure is set to increase especially in the booming markets of Eastern Europe.

So, why do many British companies fail to provide multi lingual versions of their websites?

The Internet is perceived to be “global” but on closer examination it only provides global accessibility to an organisation’s products and services. The winners in the truly global sense are those businesses that understand the importance of being seen on the web and enable their customers to trade with them electronically.

Whilst many organisations provide multilingual versions of their printed material, their online material is somewhat lacking. Perhaps the answer lies in the nature of the two mediums. Printed material rarely changes. Online material however is expected to be fresh and change frequently. There lies the issue, not only is online material expected to be translated, it must also be maintained.

Many web sites can be updated easily using a Content Management System. This requires no specialist skills or software tools.

Surfocracy, a web development company based in London has investigated the issue of web site translation services and discovered many companies do not have procedures in place for translating and maintaining multilingual web sites. Generally, the web master is asked to e-mail their content and the translator e-mails the translated content back again.

Clearly a different approach is needed to reassure organisations that websites can be translated and maintained with little effort.

Today Translations has teamed up with Surfocracy to produce a Content Management System that automatically notifies human translators that a web site needs updating. This requires no additional effort from the web master other than maintaining their web site in their own language.

Source: Capital Matters, Dec 2004