Insights October 1, 2020

No translation, no fun! Speak the language of billions of web users

Living Word
By Living Word

With more than four billion daily internet users, globalisation is predicted to continue – despite the coronavirus pandemic. And as a majority of users prefer to access information and buy products in their native language, businesses need to prioritise localisation of web content in order to extend their reach.

MultiLingual.com published an article in mid-September about the European Commission’s new campaign, #DiscoverTranslation, which aims to highlight the role of translation in our daily lives. Not only do translations allow us to purchase products and services online; they also keep us informed, enable economic interactions, and provide entertainment such as streaming services.

As stated by the European Commission ahead of the launch of the campaign: “Translation has oiled the wheels of human interaction and helped civilisations evolve for thousands of years. Even today, could you imagine a world without online services, news from other countries, or subtitles for your favourite TV series? No translation, no fun!”

Users want content in their native language

The aforementioned article refers to research by CSA, claiming that 60% of consumers rarely or never buy from English-only websites. Suitably, a couple of weeks earlier, MultiLingual.com highlighted the importance of website localisation in the article Website localization basics and a Jooble case study. Here, it stated that, “there are more than 4.5 billion daily internet users and every user would prefer to read the content in their own language”. In fact, 72.1% of users spend most or all of their time on the websites in their own language, and 72.4% are more likely to buy from a website that offers them information in their native language.

For Women in Localization, Miggy Bondoc shared her thoughts on website localisation in times of crisis, back in April. “With the spread of the coronavirus known as COVID-19, the world is experiencing disruption on an incredible scale,” she said. “The travel industry is broken, individual countries and entire continents are closing their borders, and capitalism is teetering. Companies that want to survive need to do things differently and that means engaging with the world in new ways.” By localising your website, Miggy argued, you can tap into the economic benefits of globalisation. “The current lock-down won’t last forever and, when it ends, people will be eager to get back to normal. Will your translated and localized website be ready when that day comes?”

Predictions for continued globalisation

So globalisation is driving the need for website localisation, among other things, but is it likely to continue? In May, The World Financial Review discussed the future of globalisation in Post COVID-19 Globalization: Will Translation and Localization Still Be Relevant?. The article looks at the importance of translation and localisation in the past as well as currently in our globalised economy, and it does indeed foresee a continued demand in language services.

Despite grim predictions for the pandemic’s impact on the global economy, the writer concludes on a positive note with regards to translation and localisation:

“All in all, it’s unlikely that there will be any significant rollbacks to globalization and with it, no decreased demand for translation services and localization services. Many businesses and global industries will have a greater need for them as they now plan on how to re-establish their market positions in the post-COVID-19 economy.”

For more convincing reasons to prioritise localisation of web content, take a look at our post Localised content – the key to success in a crisis.