The last few months, in which stores worldwide have had to close temporarily due to the COVID 19 pandemic, have shown that the internet has now become a crucial hub for goods and services. Online trade is booming. Smaller providers can also benefit from this, for example, businesses offering niche products or special hobby needs are being able to build up a much larger customer base. For this to work, however, targeted online marketing is necessary. But this goes far beyond building a user-friendly website – if you want to reach as many potential customers as possible, you should consider translating your website into other languages. Here are five points to consider when starting international online trading:
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1. Consider carefully which language you want to provide
The first step is, of course, to consider which languages your website should be providing. Languages that are widely used, including Chinese, Spanish, Arabic or French, should be considered. But your personal target group(s) should also be taken into account. For example, if you offer your service in an area with a considerably large Vietnamese population, a translation into Vietnamese makes sense, if you sell Turkish food, it is a matter of course to offer the online shop in Turkish. Before a translation is commissioned, marketing experts should always discuss which translations are best-suited for your individual requirements.
2. Have your website translated professionally
Admittedly, translation programs have made great progress in recent years. However, they are hardly suitable for professional use. Incorrect translations still happen too easily, especially in the case of homonyms, meaning same-sounding words such as “palm” or “bat”. Translations of words that have multiple meanings in one language, as there are several, sometimes very different expressions in another, often lead to misunderstandings. You want to avoid this in e-commerce, returns and bad reviews being inevitable.
3. Select translators with marketing skills
Linguistic skills are not enough to translate the text in an appealing way. There must also be a broad understanding of culture and society and any differences between languages. Therefore, you want to select translators who specialize in the field of marketing translations. This ensures that product descriptions, slogans, and quotes that you have placed on your page are appropriately localized and thus meet the expectations of the target group of the translation. Terms and conditions and information on returns may also have to be adapted to meet the legal requirements of the target country.
4. Make sure your translation is SEO-compliant
This point is often overlooked even though it is probably the most important one when it comes to building a successful e-commerce business. According to the project manager of the online translation agency Linguation, websites that have been translated by translators specializing in SEO experience an average of 60% more traffic than those that neglected this aspect during translation. If it is already complicated enough to create an SEO-compatible website in your native language, there are even more points to consider when it comes to the translated versions. That is why there are translators with expertise who specialize in website translation. These specialized translators are better because, on the one hand, they have become familiar with user behavior in the respective target countries. This can be crucial for a translation, because if you, for example, take a term that is technically just as correct instead of the one actually searched (for example, “automobile” instead of “car”), this inevitably means that you simply get fewer page views – regardless of the page speed and readability of your content. On the other hand, it should be borne in mind that other search engines dominate the market in other countries. While Google is at the forefront in most English-speaking countries, Yahoo is for example popular in Japan and China heavily relies on Baidu. Even if the basics are similar, knowledge about different algorithms and regulations is necessary during translation. Last but not least, especially bearing in mind the last example, it should be considered that some search engines are likely to filter certain terms. Since this may sometimes include very harmless and inconspicuous terms to laypeople, you should rely on professionals who have appropriate knowledge of such matters. However, taking these points into consideration can help guarantee a better ranking with other search engines.
5. Note the other technical aspects associated with different language versions
Loading times, optimization on different devices, coding that is as clear as possible and a limited number of HTML elements – these points should always be taken into account. However, there are some aspects that play a role especially when multiple language versions of a website are available. For example, you should consider checking the availability of domain endings so that you can use them if necessary. A translation of the directory can also make sense and the implementation of the hreflang tag, with which the search engines automatically display the correct language version, should be considered. Specialist website translators can also help with this.
How to find suitable translators
If you take these five points into account, there should hardly be anything in the way of starting your international e-commerce business. But how do you find competent translators with the right expertise? The easiest way is to contact a professional translation agency. They first check your order and select suitable translators from their database based on your requirements. This means you not only let experts decide about your individual requirements, but you also are provided with a mediator in case of issues with your translator. As of today, many translation agencies offer their services fully online so the order can be processed quickly and conveniently. However, be careful with offers that are too cheap and always take a look at the corporate masthead: Make sure the address actually exists, that there is a telephone number that can be reached easily and, above all, that the commercial register entry is stated. These are indications of a reputable agency.