Website Translation & Multilingual Communications – ROI for Small Businesses

A website in languages that connect with your target markets will create new opportunities for your business. Former German Chancellor Willy Brandt once famously stated ‘’If I’m selling to you, I speak your language. If I’m buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen!’’ Yes, in a globalised world you must speak your customer’s language and staying local is not the only option anymore. Expanding into international markets is a necessity and while translation may be perceived as an expensive service, communicating with your customers in their language will ultimately aid your growth and increase your profits. English may be the international language of business, but the fact remains that customers prefer to buy in their mother tongue and that is how you should be communicating with them.

So what can website translation achieve for your company?

  1. Increased customer engagement and loyalty

Making your website available in a few of your key target languages will guarantee a more engaged customer experience. This is achievable even on a small budget – limit the languages to target the most lucrative markets for you rather than the popular languages that everyone translates into and prioritise the pages that are the most visited instead of translating the whole website at once. Start with the home page, services page, customer support, testimonials, about, FAQs, and contact pages, along with key help documentation. This will make it easier to control your expenditure on this project.

  1. Increase in website visitors, social media followers and subscribers

Do you have social media accounts linked to your website? Once you’ve conducted thorough market research and identified your key target languages and countries, it is time to prioritize social media advertising. However, as a small business, working with a multilingual content agency may prove too expensive. Therefore, the ideal setup for a small business is a part-time social media marketing manager who will coordinate with a translation provider. All social media platforms provide analytics dashboards with audience language statistics that can assist your social media marketing manager in content creation. To streamline the process and keep within budget, make sure you make your posts highly visual, keep them short and include the translated captions into the same post. Another option is to use one language on the image itself and another in the caption.

In terms of costs, you can negotiate a weekly or monthly social media package with your translation provider that includes your posts as well as your newsletters so that you can eliminate minimum fees. Then sit back and watch your fans grow in numbers and your website visits soar.

  1. Increase in enquiries and revenue

English-only content is not an option anymore. Both your local and international customers are multilingual, well-travelled citizens and most will be very comfortable looking outside current borders for services and products. Are you prepared? Your customers, no matter where they come from, will be expecting more than just an English-only customer experience and translating your website into the few languages of your key target markets can greatly increase your sales.

According to a CSA Research survey of Fortune 500 companies, investing in translation means you are 150% more likely to see an increase in revenue. Another CSA survey of more than 3,000 global consumers in 10 countries in Europe, Asia and South America, showed that 75% of customers prefer to buy products in their native language. What’s more, 60% rarely or never buy from English-only websites (“Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: 2014”).

A word of caution: avoid machine translation or tools such as Google Translate, as search engines will penalise your website for the low quality copy and your SEO will suffer as well.


Translation ROI will never be an instant achievement. It takes time. Keep engaging your fans with useful website pages and newsletter content. By following the steps above, you’ll ensure you only translate the most relevant content and so the ROI you will see on this will be large enough to justify the small initial translation investment. You’ll also receive a fast service from your translation provider that will require minimal project management on your part. What’s more, you’ll achieve this within the budget available to you, until your company is ready to take the next step and engage a multilingual content marketing agency that will take your online presence to the next level.

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