The internet, as we know, is rapidly globalizing. English users are no longer the majority of Internet users. The boom in the Asian economy has definitely contributed to this phenomenon in a large measure and if you are thinking of doing business online with only an English website, prepare yourself for a big disappointment.
There are many reasons why you should consider becoming multilingual.
Being able to communicate with a whole new international audience will definitely be an advantage. Just imagine you’re in a market where everyone is selling in a language you don’t understand. No matter how much you like a particular item, you cannot effectively negotiate a sale. This barrier also exists on the Internet. A multilingual website that sells in a potential buyer’s language will definitely interest him a lot more than a regular English website.
The issue of trust also comes into play here. Foreigners, especially from the Middle East and Asia, are very reluctant to do business online. This is because only “English” websites seem “foreign” to them and they distrust foreigners. But a website in their own native language will definitely overcome their trust issues and encourage them to do business. The markets from these regions are huge and an international service provider cannot afford to ignore them. Therefore, a multilingual website would definitely be a necessity.
Another very important reason for multilingualism is the ability to beat your competitors. Not many have their websites translated into multiple languages yet, so being a few steps ahead of them with a multilingual website will be a great advantage for your business. Also, it will add credibility and an “international look” to your website, thereby encouraging more buyers and building the trust of existing customers. You can also save a lot of money on advertising as multilingualism is a real reason to brag about in your campaigns.
Now for the number one reason why you should translate your website into multiple languages - search engines! Search engines are what bring the most traffic to your website and that is why search engine optimization is such a big industry. To rank in Google you need links and all the other traditional techniques I don’t need to mention. But to rank in local search engines, you need a localized website. If you are targeting a French market and have your website in English, google.fr would NOT give you a good ranking for your website. You will not be able to attract customers. To get a good ranking, a translated and properly localized website is essential.
An important point needs to be added here. Becoming multilingual doesn’t mean simply using a machine translator to translate your English content. you better stay english Translation is about localizing the content to target a local audience. This can only be done by experienced native translators who know the social and cultural background of your target audience. This involves research and planning, and hiring a good company to make your website multilingual so you get a good return on investment.