As countries around the globe wrestle control of the pandemic, there’s more consumer and business optimism about a gradual ‘return to normal’ — but things are unlikely to be just as they were before.
The global pandemic has necessitated a big shift in consumer behaviour; more of us than ever are browsing online. Perhaps more importantly, the pandemic has drastically accelerated trends in ecommerce.
If you’re a business, brand or organisation looking to reach overseas markets, this blog’s for you. Whatever your products or services, there are new global target audiences online out there — but how do you best reach them?
As a language service provider, we might be biased, but we think translation is key. Quality translation positions you in front of businesses and consumers, builds brand trust and improves search engine visibility — crucial, we’d say, for a post-pandemic export strategy.
Let’s explore five reasons why translation is as important as ever for tapping into new and growing audiences.
1. Consumers are shopping online like never before
So, first up, the big one. There’s no getting away from it — people are far more ‘online’ than they’ve ever been before.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed how people around the world live their lives, and this gives businesses an opportunity to reach out to them online with translated content.
- According to the ONS, between January 2020 and January 2021, internet sales as a proportion of total retail sales jumped from 20.2% to 36.3%.
- Another report revealed that 54% of those in the UK are doing more online shopping as a result of COVID-19, compared to 45% in France and 38% in Germany.
The pandemic has accelerated long-term trends in the space of several weeks.
- A UNCTAD survey of 3,700 adults from countries including Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland and Turkey shows more than half are shopping online more frequently as a result of the pandemic.
Sure, more of us are online — that’s not exactly news, is it?
More revealingly, however, there’s a longer-term global behavioural change currently underway.
2. We’ve all created new habits
The oft-touted parlance is of a gradual ‘return to normality’, implying that things will go back to as they were before the global pandemic. So, will consumers flock back to bricks-and-mortar stores?
Many indicators suggest that this isn’t going to be the case.
- According to a recent survey, 33% of British adults say they expect to buy online more frequently in future than before 2020.
These are global trends, too. In fact, research suggests that we’re not only going to maintain our e-shopping habits, but grow them even more.
- Only 13% of German people and 22% of French people expect to do less online shopping after the pandemic than they did during it. The vast majority either expect to continue as they are, or further increase their online retail spending.
- 53% of adults surveyed around the world said they were ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to continue the digital habits they have adopted as a result of the pandemic. Only 20% said they were unlikely to continue the online retail behaviours they picked up.
Across all types of product, almost without exception, consumers are going to make more purchases online than they used to — food for thought for retailers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world. The changes we make now will have lasting effects as the world economy begins to recover.”
Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
Again, your key to communicating effectively with these overseas audiences? Speaking their language.
Let’s touch in a little more detail on the fundamental importance of translation.
3. Many consumers now trust ecommerce, but still need to trust your brand
As we move to online in the wake of the pandemic, many organisations are understandably wanting to improve their digital user experience. Quality translated content is a key part of this.
In another blog, we touched on the huge value of having content available in multiple languages. Four in 10 consumers won’t entertain your brand at all if there’s no language option available in their language.
- 40% won’t buy in another language
- 72.4% are more likely to buy products in their native language
- 75% want product information in their native language
Whether your business proposition is B2B or B2C, by localising your content, you’re in a much better position to secure sales overseas. It’s a huge trust signal.
Well-executed translation is crucial for establishing that all-important brand authenticity, just as shoddy translation can risk offending your target audience.
Your new visitors — and your business’ bottom line — will thank you for making the effort to translate your content.
4. With great translation comes great Google rankings
High-quality translated web content is an investment that can repay itself many times over in the ‘new normal’ — in terms of visitors and enquiries.
With more consumers online and poised to spend, there are more people using search engines to discover new products and services. Translation is a great way to boost your SEO (search engine optimisation) and bring these people to your business.
A foreign language option for your website is a simple way to increase your online reach by improving your search engine rankings. If your website’s content contains translated words and phrases, it’s likely to be pulled into foreign language searches relating to your products and services — helping new audiences to find you.
In most countries, Google reigns supreme. Over 92% of global internet users use it to search for solutions to their needs, although there are two notable exceptions; Yandex is currently the most popular search engine in Russia (50.8% of search engine market share) with Baidu the go-to search engine for Chinese consumers (78.4%).
Search engines routinely ‘crawl’ your website. When you have pages that contain properly-translated words and phrases related to your products and services — keywords — your content is more likely to be seen as authoritative by the search engine, thus having the opportunity to appear in search results for these keywords.
When it comes to your SEO, high-quality translation is crucial. Google is known to penalise content that has poor grammar and spelling — so enlisting a tried, trusted and tested translation company (psst, like us!) is a sure-fire ticket to great foreign language search engine visibility.
We ensure all our translators work into their mother tongue; this way, all translated material reads completely authentically — as though originally created by a native speaker.
5. You can get ahead of the competition
Translation of web content presents a big opportunity for organisations, regardless of industry and sector. Many companies don’t invest in properly-translated content, meaning there is often less competition.
With less competition, there’s more scope to impress consumers. Additionally, it can be easier to be ranked higher in search engines.
In fact, there’s a real dearth of content in foreign languages. Did you know that English represents 60.4% of all global website content, despite English speakers totalling only 25.9% of all online internet users?
Interestingly, along with German, this is the only language that is ‘overserviced’ when we roughly compare each language’s internet population with the percentage of content in this language.
- English — 25.9% of internet population, 60.4% of content
- Chinese — 19.4% of internet population, 1.4% of content
- Spanish — 7.9% of internet population, 3.7% of website content
- Portuguese — 3.7% of internet population, 0.9% of content
- French — 3.3% of internet population, 2.7% of content
- German — 2% of internet population, 2.2% of content
The ‘new normal’ gives brands the opportunity to address this glaring content discrepancy.
Whilst many of these overseas customers may be able to understand English to an extent, they’ll be far more likely to remember you and part with their money if you’ve provided them with good translations in their own language.
Are you ready for the ‘new normal’?
Even though foreign travel at pre-pandemic levels seems a far-off prospect, 2021 and beyond represents a golden opportunity to connect with new overseas customers — target audiences who are poised to spend with their newly-established ecommerce shopping behaviours.
By helping you to gain consumers’ trust and by boosting your search engine visibility, high-quality translation is an indispensable element of any export strategy for a post-COVID world.
As we look forward towards a more optimistic 2021 and beyond, we’re looking forward to working with new and existing clients.
If you’d like to benefit your business through translation, get in touch with our friendly, in-house team to discuss your needs and requirements.