Website Localisation: Your Most Powerful Tool in Trade Export

If there is one factor that has the largest bearing on communications and marketing overseas, then it is of course language.

This article is based on a report for the UK Trade and Investment, entitled “An evaluation of the UKTI White Label Export Guide,” written by Jurga Zilinskiene, managing director of Today Translation Ltd.

When it comes to expanding your business into foreign, non-English speaking, markets, communicating effectively can be the fine line between success and failure. British businesses should not be discouraged by dealing in other languages. Quite the opposite; they should see it as a major opportunity.

Previously, implementing new languages into a marketing strategy would have consisted mainly of training staff in language skills and using translators or local distributors. Such methods might still apply, but a simple translation of the company website, product catalogue or e-commerce page presents a significantly faster and more efficient return on investment.

The potential rise in internet users and online shoppers in developing markets is simply staggering. Between 2010 and 2011, the number of Chinese, Russian and Arabic internet users grew by 1500, 1800 and 2500 percent, respectively. Furthermore, it is estimated that Indian and Chinese middle-class expenditure will grow by fourfold in the next 20 years.

To put it bluntly, if your online presence is only available in English, you will struggle to market to this widely expanding customer base.

So, why aren’t more UK companies seizing on these opportunities? One reason is the popular misconception that a large-scale cultural adaptation is too expensive. Let us debunk that myth.

First, as mentioned earlier, the potential return on investment can be substantial when compared to the relatively small outlay for translation. Second, the costs of translating your website are significantly lower when compared to the more popular options of attending overseas trade fairs and conducting sale conferences and trade missions.

At Today Translations, our work is focused on engaging non-English speakers with UK companies, be it online, by telephone or face to face. This includes the promotion of efficient and cost-effective ways to improve multilingual communication channels such as translating and localising websites and providing processes to manage multilingual communication.

With a quality mark that carries a higher value overseas, the global market for British products is potentially huge. All British companies simply need to do is learn how to approach their target audience.