Language Insight has published its first white paper, detailing why businesses should have their websites translated and how they can go about it.

Globalisation means it has never been more worthwhile for businesses to translate their websites, whether they are start-ups or large corporations. No longer do managers have to leave the office in order to meet potential investors or partners, or promote their goods to customers. The internet provides them with the means to do it all from the comfort of their office. However, in order to take full advantage of this, businesses need to be internationally accessible.

That’s where website translation comes in. By translating your website into the language your chosen target market speaks, you are ensuring they are able to do business with you. For a relatively low cost – in comparison to physically travelling to your target market – website translation can open up your company to the whole world. As this white paper explains, there are more and more examples of individuals who started their business at home and successfully branched out to numerous different countries within the space of a few months.

However, getting custom from overseas is not the only reason to translate a website – it can also improve its performance in internet search. While English is only the third most commonly spoken language in the world, it is currently the primary language of the internet. However, it won’t be forever. With the United Nations’ Broadband Commission predicting Chinese-speaking internet users will surpass English-speaking ones by 2015, it pays to prepare for this now.

Another benefit of website translation is that it can help companies break away from their competitors in terms of search. Businesses that only market themselves online in English face a huge amount of competition to get noticed. This all changes if their website is available in one or more other languages, and can result in a dramatic upward movement for their search engine rankings.

While there are a multitude of reasons why a business should translate its website, how they go about this may prove a stumbling block. However, as Language Insight’s new white paper explains, it does not have to be difficult.

There are three main options available when it comes to translation today: machine, crowd-sourced or a professional human translator. What a company chooses comes down to its needs and the unique specifications of the job. The white paper goes through each option in detail, to help businesses make sense of what their choices are and select the one that is best for them.

Machine translation is often criticised by professional linguists, but it does serve a valuable purpose. Should you require a fast translation of an email in order to respond promptly or work out which department to direct it to, machine translation provides the gist of it to help you act accordingly. However, for anything more complicated than a brief email, machine translations can be inaccurate to the point of simply being gibberish. Syntax is certainly not one of their strong points.

Crowd-sourced translation is a relative newcomer to the list. Like machine translation it is an economical option, but unlike it crowd-sourced translation can be slow. This is because it is done by volunteers who donate their time towards translating the content on a company’s behalf, so it is not useful if there is a tight deadline. Similarly, this option requires careful management to ensure the resulting content is of uniform high quality. The manager would have to put together a style guide and rule book for the translators to follow, and they would still have to hire someone whose mother tongue is the target language to proofread all of the finished content before it is published.

The final option is to hire an experienced, qualified and professional translator. Typically, they will not only be a native speaker of the target language but will also have knowledge of the subject matter so that they are able to translate the more technical terms correctly. It means the finished article will make sense in the target language and have the effect it is supposed to on the reader, whether that be providing them with information, encouraging them to invest in a service or to buy a product.

Another noteworthy benefit of having a website – or any other text for that matter – translated by a professional is localization. Simply put, localization is achieved only when a translation has been done by a linguist who not only speaks the target language, but who also lives in the country where it is spoken. This ensures they are fully up to date with the language, its dialects, idioms, slang and all the other elements of it that can evolve at such a rapid pace.

With this white paper, we have attempted to answer every question a business could have about how and why they should translate their website. Best of all, it’s available for free on our website. So, if you have any questions about website translation, read our new white paper now.