A frequent question asked by international sellers wanting to sell overseas is whether to translate their website for overseas customers. If yes, to what extent should they localize their site?

From a customer standpoint, many won’t considering buying something online unless they can do it from a website that is in their language. Not only could they feel uncomfortable navigating a site that isn’t in their language, but it would probably be pretty difficult for them to navigate at all.

Providing customers with a version of your website in their own language instantly makes them feel more comfortable. You’re creating an environment that is more conducive to the customer parting with their money, which is always a plus.

A study was carried out in 2011 by the European Commission (Flash Eurobarometer, Flash EB Series #313), which showed that half of online users in the EU would not contemplate using an English version of a website if their language was unavailable. So, you may be losing out on extra business by excluding other language options – making your website available in other languages could really increase traffic.

Another finding from the report was that 90% of EU internet users said when given a choice of languages, they always visited a website in their own language. When your business is up against others that do have websites in the local language, you’re potentially missing out on 90% of the market, which gives you the disadvantage right off the bat.

Aside from the stats, it’s simply more professional looking when your website is available in a variety of languages, and makes the consumer feel like you’re the real deal.

So if you are thinking about localizing your website, just how far should you go? Should you entirely makeover your website for different territories or simply translate the keywords?

Well, completely revamping and translating websites is an expensive business, so it may be wise to start by offering a version of your website in one extra language, and see how that impacts your traffic and sales.

Of course, if you’re offering a website in a certain language, make sure you can support customers in that country – for example, a French site isn’t much good without being able to pick up calls or emails in French, too. When localizing your site, remember that there’s more to it than simply translation. Be mindful of any local nuances and cultural differences, and aware of anything that might cause offense.

Though there will be a cost associated with localizing your site, one way of saving money is by using World First to repatriate your profits from international sales. We take a smaller margin than the banks, so more of your money makes it home – which is just as it should be. Get in touch with us to find out more.