Multilingual Content Strategy for E-commerce

By: Sanskriti Ravi, Communications Intern

In this increasingly globalized world, it comes as no shock that people are relying more and more on e-commerce to meet their demands. Companies are beginning to change their communications strategy to match their modern-day potential customer base that spans across the globe. Having a multilingual content strategy is no longer reserved for only the biggest of companies; it is increasingly crucial for even small to medium enterprises (SME) to remain competitive and capture markets far and wide. Going global has now become an indispensable goal for a number of companies and investing in e-commerce platforms enables them to do so.

However, as the e-commerce industry has grown, there have been a number of discussions on the various limitations and issues companies have experienced. Language accessibility is at the centre of those discussions. Therefore, translation of e-commerce website content is fundamental in an effective global market strategy. It has become progressively important to ensure that companies are able to deliver comprehensive information, and market their products in many languages with culturally appropriate localization.

Despite the current slowdown of the economy and restrictions placed on brick and mortar stores due to the pandemic, online business has remained busy and has become even more important during these times. In order to optimize e-commerce, it is crucial that companies continue to expand their customer acquisition and retention efforts. An effective way to do so is by implementing a multilingual content strategy.

What is a Multilingual Content Strategy?

A multilingual content strategy is a marketing strategy that enables companies to reach as many customers globally as possible, by ensuring all marketing materials and website content is translated accurately and appropriately in a number of languages. The third edition of the ‘Can’t Read, Won’t Buy-B2C’ study, published by Common Sense Advisory in 2020, indicated that 40% of individuals will not buy in other languages and 65% of users prefer content in their language. The most popular languages other than English include: Mandarin, Arabic, Hindi, French, Spanish, Portuguese and more.

Ensuring your website content is translated accurately in a number of languages has many benefits:

  1. Make your brand stand out in foreign markets and expand globally

Making your products and services accessible to foreign markets is a cost-effective strategy to grow your brand, and can provide an opportunity for expansion, even during the pandemic. While most users would prefer to access sites in their language of choice, many global customers still either rely on browser-based translation applications or attempt to translate content themselves. This slows down the purchase process or, worse, leads customers to leave midway through a purchase, and take their business elsewhere. Sites that are in English only lose out on huge segments of foreign markets due to language barriers. Investing in professional translation helps to prevent this loss, and makes a company more competitive on a global stage. It also enables access to millions of new customers and makes the purchasing process easier for many. By having a marketing strategy that directly focuses on attracting customers from certain language segments, with culturally curated and translated content, companies and their customers will benefit dramatically.

  1. Improve SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical and cost-effective marketing tactic that many businesses rely on to improve their customer reach. SEO is essentially where content ranks in search engines, such as Google and Bing. The higher it ranks, the more visible a website is, and the more likely customers will visit a website. Not only does it make a website appear more credible to the public, but it is also pivotal in capturing an international audience. Content translation can take SEO to new heights by ranking a company higher in multiple areas in search engines, and in a number of different languages. Furthermore, for reaching specific countries, it is also useful to write localized blogs and content directly targeted towards them, in their language and style of writing.

Keywords differ in various languages. For example, the direct French translation for “car insurance” is assurance automobile. However, the most popular keywords searched in French, for this term, are actually auto assurance and assurance voiture. This means it is vital to not just translate content, but also perform localization tasks to ensure that linguistic differences are taken into consideration.

  1. The Importance of Professional Human Translation

As discussed above, simple direct translations, generated through machine translation, will not provide all the SEO benefits of implementing a multilingual content strategy. Currently, machine translation fails to perform localization and translate within the correct cultural context. It can lead to poor grammar and awkward phrasing that may put off potential customers. Professional human translation adds a necessary human touch, ensuring that marketing and sales language is appropriately persuasive and understood in another language and cultural context. By making references to phrases, idioms and specific terms used in a language, a human translator is able to help new visitors arrive at your website. Localization offered through professional translation will have an impressive return on investment (ROI) by improving customer base, increasing customer loyalty, and providing access to a greater share of foreign markets.

  1. Increase your customer reach

More translations lead to higher rankings in search engines and, therefore, increased customer reach. Language is a significant barrier for many when they are purchasing products online from foreign countries. With a localized content strategy, you can tap into thousands of new customers that prefer to search in their native language. Large segments of internet users do not internationally seek or purchase products and services presented to them in English, and prefer to respond to marketing materials in their native language.

Improving search engine optimization and having a strong digital strategy are now the most cost-efficient ways to grow a business, and have proven to be immensely successful. By implementing a multilingual content strategy, through the use of professional translation, you can reach a relatively untapped segment of diverse people and expand your customer base.

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You can also call us at 416-467-3097, or email us at translation@mcis.on.ca with translation requests and inquiries.