The Reachable Masses

The Reachable Masses

by Melissa Wurst

When you’re marketing your website along with your products and/or services, consider the adage, “You BUY in your own language but you SELL in the customer’s.” This is especially true if your customers are non-native English speakers in the United States or if they are overseas.

For example, Brazil’s emergence onto the Internet has grown by 40% since 1997 with now 3,825,000 people online in 1999. Think of all the potential spending that is untapped yet reachable!

You may also consider whether your product or service has a special appeal to one particular country. We work with one web design company in Texas that help to market Mom and Pop e-commerce sites. The web design company is pushing these smaller companies to market to Japan because of the popularity of anything “Western” or “cowboy” in Japan.

So what options are available to you and what does it cost? Translation of your Web site is much more than a simple translation. Your new pages should be adapted or localized for the particular local market. Also, your images, most buttons, banners, or pictures with text, will have to be consistently translated. First, you need to decide on the scope of your translation. You can try out different options beginning with just the minimum to gauge interest from a particular country.

Option 1- Have your Keywords and Meta Tags only translated. This is the most inexpensive option to consider. This is an important step so that your site can be submitted to International Search Engines.

Option 2 – Summary Only. This can also be another inexpensive, yet effective way to reach out to international customers. It is also a good choice for companies whose websites contain large amounts of information that change every day or week, such as an online catalog or information service. In addition to option 1, a website summary might welcome international visitors, give background information on your company, and explain how to navigate and use the English site.

Option 3 – Partial Translation. This would be a translation of only certain sections of your website, pages that you believe will be most beneficial. The material that you choose to not translate might include sections of individual pages or it might include certain pages that are not applicable to international users.

Option 4 – Full-Scale Translation. This entails completely translating your existing English language site into one or more foreign languages. The foreign language site should imitate the English site completely. This tells your international users that you are serious about wanting their patronage.

Whichever option you decide to implement, remember that they do require a professional translator who specializes in HTML and in the target language and culture. The translation is usually priced by the word and that price varies by the language, content technicality, and amount of time required to configure all banners, graphics, etc. for the intended market. At any rate, remember that you have a much more appreciative and relaxed audience on your site if they are reading their own language!

Melissa Wurst, Partner
Language Solutions LLC
A full-service foreign language company offering professional translation services in over 40 languages.
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