The Importance of Translation in B2B Marketing
Website content translated into the languages of local markets can help to connect with overseas partners and distributors as well as customers.
Translated websites are a resource for in-market sales teams and can recruit local talent, partners and distributors. With their longer sales cycles, B2B organizations especially benefit from the continual creation of content that provides value, creates differentiation and keeps their brand top-of-mind for prospective customers.
B2B marketers need to extend their content strategies to international markets in order to see results among new global customers. The recipe is very simple: Translated, localised online content.
Is English the only Language for Business?
English is the lingua franca of the business world, the most commonly taught foreign language in schools worldwide and the official language of 20 of the most important international organisations, but English is significantly less popular than we would like to believe. For example, it is the second language of only 39 percent of the French population. In Italy, this figure is just shy of 35 percent, and in Spain it is less than 23 percent. These numbers wouldn’t be that alarming if these weren’t actually the ‘English-loving’ countries. The situation gets drastically worse when we take emerging markets into account: only 5.2 percent of people in Russia speak English fluently; 5 percent in Brazil; and less than 0.75 percent in China.
When you take into consideration the fact that the combined population of these three countries is over 1.7 billion, it becomes obvious that not translating your content can cost your business an absolute fortune. The average number of languages companies want their content translated into is 12, and the most popular ones are Spanish, German, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Portuguese, Polish, Indonesian and Malay. These languages offer the most options because of the huge populations that use them. However, our clients state that a big portion of their income comes from countries like Sweden, Norway and Italy, so they make sure their content is translated into these languages as well.
Most companies choose to outsource translating to agencies rather than doing it in-house, as they recognise that such companies are efficient, affordable and experienced. For many businesses, this is not a difficult decision. Neural Machine Translation works out significantly cheaper when compared with recruiting and training a whole new team of in-house writers. Neural machine translation (Neural MT) is an approach to machine translation that uses a large artificial neural network to predict the likelihood of a sequence of words, typically modeling entire sentences in a single integrated model.
Neural MT is based on neural network technology, which is a high-powered approach to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. As opposed to traditional statistical MT methods, neural MT examines an entire sentence before suggesting the best possible translations. This new model provides translations that are more fluent and readable than ever before. Neural MT achieves this success by taking into account elements like word reordering, dependencies, morpho-syntactic agreements, and other features that are not handled well by statistical MT.
The benefit of a Neural MT are:
- More fluent, human-like translations
- Higher translation quality and accuracy
- Context is taken into account
- Better for under-resourced languages with less data
The Value of Translation
Communicating with international buyers in their preferred languages is one of the most resonant and expedient ways to build relationships and provide value. But companies need not create dozens—or hundreds—of assets from scratch to serve these buyers.
The benefits of translating and localising content include:
- Increased trust from global customers
- A consistent brand experience across all markets
- Support for in-market teams, distributors and partners
- SEO benefits that drive increased local search results
- A platform for testing new markets
While often treated synonymously, translation and localisation are distinct aspects of translation. Conventional translation is what most folks think it is: rewriting content—often in an easily understandable, region-neutral way—in another language.
Localisation goes a step beyond word-for-word conversion and uses words and phrases that resonate within specific markets. Regionally flavored translations sound more authentic and generate more interest and engagement among customers. Localisation can also include cultural elements, like date and time formats and transactional elements like currency.
Prioritise your Website
The most recommended—and valuable—asset to localise first is your organisation’s website. Why? B2B buyers are increasingly behaving like mainstream consumers; nearly 90 percent of them turn to the Internet to conduct product research and make purchases.
Ideally, a fully translated website provides an immersive, authentic user experience, but global B2B sites should prioritize translation of product and service descriptions so customers can make informed purchases and have a smooth, convenient transaction experience.
It’s also critical to provide localises contact information for global markets, such as phone numbers, email addresses and mailing addresses for regional sales or support teams and a translation of legal requirements, if applicable.
B2B companies can demonstrate further commitment to local markets and fluency in local culture by customising website content for specific markets, such as:
- Market-exclusive promotions and campaigns
- Recognition of local holidays, celebrations and customs
- Support for local currency, payment options and shipping methods
This attention to detail is often rewarded with brand trust, increased engagement metrics and repeat transactions. Translated websites are also an indispensable resource for in-market sales teams and can also become recruiting tools for local talent, partners and distributors.
But to truly have a global, digital impact, it’s important to translate assets beyond your corporate website.
Reaching Global Customers Everywhere
Research says potential customers need to be exposed to your brand at least seven times before they commit to a purchase. That means you need to use as many channels as possible to reach global customers wherever they are and use localized omnichannel assets to reach them.
Localised omnichannel content builds brand credibility through consistent messaging, increases visibility and discoverability and provides more platforms for customer engagement. These benefits ultimately expedite the buyer’s journey and increase conversions.
Possible Channels and Benefits include:
- Digital and printed documents: Create valuable resources for on-the-ground sales reps
- Mobile apps: Increase brand visibility related to keyword searches in app stores
- Social media: Increase global discoverability and brand awareness through mentions and shares
- Support: help in the Customer language
With multilingual online content, global B2B brands can drive more sales, attract more prospects and keep more customers engaged.
To realise your company’s full potential in online global markets, look for translation partners that can help localise all of your digital content. The best ones can save customers money by repurposing previously translated content (such as material translated for your website) for social media posts, email content and more.