By 2040, according to Nasdaq, nearly all (95%) purchases will be facilitated by e-commerce. So how can translation for e-commerce help your business benefit from this increase in online spending?
For starters, online shoppers are more likely to purchase from websites in their own language, so make sure you have in your plans to translate your e-commerce business. According to the Flash Eurobarometer survey on user language preferences online, 44% of European Internet users feel they are missing interesting information because web pages are not in a language they understand. This probably helps explain why fewer than one in five (18%) people would buy products online in a foreign language. And 42% never buy from a website that doesn’t have a language version they can understand.
The eCommerce industry continues to capture market share from brick-and-mortar businesses, but the rise of Amazon and Shopify have made it a cut-throat industry. One of the best ways to better compete and expand market share is to localize the shopping experience with targeted languages, currencies, payment methods, and promotions.
The main benefits associated with translation for e-commerce
If your current e-commerce layout is in English, the next highly effective step would be, translation into languages spoken in foreign markets you plan to reach. With that, your brand will expand significantly, and reach several new customers in different parts of the world.
As a result, your brand will establish more direct and personal contact with the target audience in foreign markets.
Now you may ask yourself: “If English is so accepted and understood worldwide, why to translate our content into foreign languages?”
Firstly, due to the proximity with the customer.
Once you start speaking the same language as your customer, there is a much higher chance that he will consume your products. With all the available options online, the key is to win over your users via their experience on your website or with your products. The translation is not the only factor to consider, having a functional website that is easy to navigate and runs quickly is also essential. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that whenever customers read the information in their native language, they feel more connected and are more likely to trust that brand, unlike other companies that offer the same product but not in their language.
In addition to this greater proximity and connection with the customer, another benefit is the clarity of the message. When describing your product or your service, speaking your customer’s mother tongue helps you avoid confusion and communication errors with them.
Misunderstandings can be very harmful to your business. In some situations, misunderstandings may lead to dissatisfaction when receiving the product or service, or even products being returned, and services being refunded.
Whatever the reason may be, the availability of your website in different languages can help you avoid complications and attract new customers, in addition to increasing the benefits your customers receive when purchasing your products and services.
It is important to remember that the way you communicate, and the pristineness of the text will reflect the professionalism of your brand. So, get a multilingual website, build trust with your customers, and profit from this investment.
Which languages should you translate?
China is the fastest-growing e-commerce market. The US is the largest market, with an online spend of GBP 102.6 billion. The US and Western Europe together make up 60% of online purchases
Japan commands 10% of global buying power. In terms of global e-commerce opportunities, there are 13 key languages that you should consider.
Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish.
Is going global worth it?
When it comes to your translation return on investment (ROI), there are a number of factors involved. Did translating improve traffic? Did it grow revenue? Did it boost customer engagement, satisfaction or reduce some sort of cost, like customer support needs? Whatever you’d like to improve, creating a better translation/localization program will help you out on all fronts by reducing costs and time while increasing quality.
There are three key components in improving your translation ROI
- Start fresh with a clean source content
- Create a baseline report
- Be smart about workflows.
Start fresh with a clean source content
At first glance, it seems as though the complexity of your source text shouldn’t matter, especially if you’re translating with skilled human translators. Isn’t that part of what you’re paying for? As it turns out, reducing costs starts with your writers, developers, and designers.
Authoring for a global audience improves localization ROI by up to 15%, according to SDL. For writers, this means creating style guides for your brands and product lines—if your brands are targeting different demographics or lifestyles, define in your guides how you’d like each to sound. Avoid jargon and write simply. If you’re using translation memory where technology is matching words and phrases across all of your content, consistency is imperative with product names and feature descriptions.
Even content that appears to need a technical translator, if free of jargon and stilted technical-speak, can in some cases use non-specialized translation. We don’t recommend doing this with content that has safety implications, but with something like product descriptions, it’s usually possible to simplify a bit. If you’ve already simplified your text as much as possible, but still need to include important details and specifications, include a glossary to open up your content to cheaper less specialized translation services.
When it comes to design and production, be aware that the more text you include in images, the more work you’ll need to do when localizing that content. Similarly, when creating your website or configuring your site’s content management system (CMS), make strings of text easily editable across languages instead of burying them in poorly-structured setups that may be easier to set up but will cost you tons of time when it comes to maintenance.
In summary: The more time you spend writing, coding, and designing cleanly, the more you save in time and cost. Simple source content is easier and faster to translate, and also allows for you to use cheaper, less technical translation services. If you include glossaries and style guides, your quality gets a boost, too.
Create a baseline report
Without tracking translation performance, it’s hard to see where your budget is going and justify translating content—when going global, the impact of translation can (and must) be measured just as clearly as other important metrics. You won’t know if you’ve made good decisions if you don’t have an idea of how your content was performing to begin with.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) will tell you where you can improve and by how much.
Impact KPIs show how translating impacts overall business goals. These include:
Revenue (vs. translation cost)
Conversion rate (how many more people purchase?)
Traffic (by country, by language, by source)
Number of new customers
Translation KPIs show, where to reduce costs specific to translation.
Profit per project
Percentage of on-time project launches
Cost per translated word after expenses
With e-commerce, for example, you may want to track performance on a set of product listings using machine translation vs. human translation. Before applying the newly translated text, give ample time to see how your listings were performing before in whatever area you’d like to track. From there, it’s easy to determine whether your investment in higher quality translation was worth it (did conversions go up or down by listing?). You can repeat this by language, by country/market, and a number of other ways.
After baselining your performance, you can pull different levers to create an action plan for meeting your goals.
In summary: You can’t measure progress unless you know how your pages/content performed beforehand. Measure two sets of KPIs around translation: 1) goals that translation impacts, like traffic and conversion rates, and 2) translation-specific information like costs and efficiency. Be sure to repeat by language, country, project, and so forth.
Be smart about workflows
Lowering translation costs and improving efficiency can boost the performance of your impact KPIs, netting more traffic, conversions, and sales. You can do this by using the right tools/technologies, services, and workflows:
Right quality: Translating different kinds of content with different levels of translation (by complexity) can save money.
For example, maybe you’ll pay more for your terms of service, but less for your thousands of product listings or user reviews.
Translation memory: Translation memory stores words and bits of text that can be recognized and reused across translations at reduced cost per word/unit or for free. For e-commerce companies who have thousands to hundreds of thousands of translation orders, this can reduce costs and save time that translators spend on each batch of text. You should closely monitor how services are using translation memory for your projects, however—used improperly, it can end up actually costing you money.
In summary: Isolate and track all of your tools, vendors, and workflows to see which are performing as expected and if any can be improved. Is communication slow with translators? Are your integrations buggy?
With all of these pieces in place, you can translate hundreds of thousands of articles, products, and posts of every kind knowing that you have everything you need to get the most out of it.
The Bottom Line
The ecommerce industry is becoming increasingly competitive, which means that localization is quickly becoming a necessity. Using the three strategies covered in this article, you can reach new global audiences and expand your ecommerce shop, as well as ensure that everything is working properly with Verbika.