Going global is one of the most exciting things a company can do. Thanks to technology, it is easier than ever to take this leap. Proper search engine optimization can bring your results to computers and mobile devices in any location with the connectivity to see it.
Of course, the biggest barrier you’ll face in that expansion is language. Other processes are reasonably easy to do. Computer functions can take care of currency issues. Shipping and other logistical considerations are typically taken care of by the vendors who provide them, and one needs only a calendar and a time zone chart to stay abreast of seasons and the time of day in their destination markets.
Language is a completely different obstacle. Anyone who has bought an imported good with assembly instructions written by a non-native English speaker knows the confusing outcomes. Poor web translations can leave your potential customers similarly befuddled, costing you sales over the short and long term. And unlike browser issues or connectivity problems, you are the only one affected.
If you think it’s effective to simply swap the English word for a counterpart you’ve found in a translation dictionary, think again. Idioms that we all use daily–such as “I couldn’t care less” or “top of the line”–could have hilariously messy results when translated into another language by an ineffective conversion. Translating your website is best left to experts who understand the nuances of both languages, preventing damaging errors that could wreck your multinational plans.
This is a far more complex process than it used to be. At one time, translators only needed language skills. They could take a letter composed in English and change it to Mandarin or Farsi or whatever was required. The new versions were then distributed to customers, simple as that.
But today’s international customers aren’t just looking for an accurate description of your products. They want to find your product online, then go through the process of shopping and buying. You must clear that first hurdle; your potential customers have to know you exist. Regardless of how nicely your website utilizes their language, if they don’t, they will never buy from you.
So how does your business get enough elevation to make it over that barrier? The most important step is getting noticed in global search engines. Because most customers find product sites with search engines, it’s vital that your business scores well with them. So today’s businesses do more than simply communicate with customers in other countries; they communicate with computers and smart phones in other countries as well.
To make sense to both the people and the machines located abroad, the translation needs to go beyond proper vocabulary and syntax. It also needs to be effective in working with international search engines.
Going international is a hugely complex process. There is always a temptation to find ways to save money and effort, especially on specialized skilled work like translation. However, it’s clear that poor language conversion and the subsequent errors in search engines are a legitimate threat to a company’s ability to get off the ground in overseas markets. Those who invest in these professional services will realize greater market shares and profits. Those who don’t are doomed to remain domestic.