The majority of businesses that build localisation into their website content for different international markets see sales rise as a result.

A recent poll by One Hour Translation found that those websites that are translated into the native language of the customers businesses are trying to attract net a significant improvement in revenue. In fact, the sales didn’t just marginally increase in the countries firms targeted with their localised web pages, they were actually ten times higher in some cases.

In particular, the study revealed that there are some countries where consumers will rarely make an online purchase when the site is not written in their mother tongue, including France and Germany. This is real proof that if you want to crack the European marketplace or extend your reach even further afield, it pays to get your website professionally translated.

That doesn’t mean relying on free translation software as this is how mistakes are made. Not only will a tool like this fail to take into account the search engine optimisation (SEO) of your web pages, meaning they are unlikely to perform well in search engine rankings, but it will also be unable to localise your web content.

Ofer Shoshan, co-founder and CEO of One Hour Translation, points out that translation alone is not the key to online success and that localisation must be delivered as well. He adds that 72 per cent of internet users tend to browse within the confines of their native language, while 75 per cent prefer to buy from sites written in their mother tongue.

Of course, localisation is something to be taken into account in all aspects of business, or your message could end up getting lost in translation. Take Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s recent misstep while out on the campaign trail.

While chatting on a Cuban-American radio show in Florida, Romney was innocently asked by the host what his favourite fruits were. The presidential hopeful answered: “I am a big fan of mango, papaya, and guava.” Now, you may not immediately see what caused the show’s host to suppress a laugh, but all becomes clear when you learn that “papaya” is a Cuban slang term for “vagina”.

This is not something that would be identified by a cheap translation tool, or even by a Spanish translator who was not from Cuba. As a result, it’s a perfect example of why localisation, whether of your web content, press releases or speeches, is so vital. Getting it wrong could result in you, at best, losing valuable sales or, at worst, damaging your brand.

Here at Transcription Global, all our translations are carried out by professionals chosen because their mother tongue is the client’s specified target language. That way we can guarantee our clients will get a finished document that takes into account localisation, the regional language variations of the market they are targeting, as well as local customs.

When the alternative is the risk of making a mistake of Romney proportions, hiring a professional translation service really is a move worth making.