Increase your ROI by Partnering with Qualified LSPs
During trying and uncertain times (and also in times of growth and expansion), many businesses invest in marketing resources to promote themselves and remain competitive. Marketing enables companies to stay relevant by providing customers with new information about their advanced products and services. It also helps companies to gain a competitive edge by creating and maintaining demand for the solutions they offer and further helps to build a solid reputation based on brand name. A successful marketing strategy is defined by how well a business engages and builds a relationship of trust with existing and potentially new clients, and ultimately how that engagement translates into hard sales and increased revenue. In essence, marketing is a vital tool that businesses use to drive sales.
However, when it comes to engaging and building trust with your customers, there is one critical question you should ask:
Is your business successfully reaching multilingual audiences both at home and abroad?
If the answer is “yes”, how effective is your international and multilingual marketing campaign in generating the maximum return on investment (ROI)? Adding a few web pages that your local marketers or distributers have translated word-for-word (or have outsourced to marketers ill-equipped to handle multilingual marketing content) is surely not the wisest choice given that “language is a repository of cultural knowledge [capturing and providing] effective cues to a complex body of shared values, experiences, and even a common past.”1. For this very reason, multinational corporations (MNCs) and companies looking to sell in foreign markets – or tap into domestic multilingual markets – seek to partner with professional language service providers (LSPs). A highly qualified LSP can help drive the message to multilingual audiences without losing sight of the company’s brand presence and voice. Specialized LSPs don’t just “translate”, they “transcreate” by expertly adapting their clients’ messages from one language to another, preserving the message’s intent, context, tone, and style. If these companies cannot afford to have their message get lost in translation, neither can you.
The EF English Proficiency Index
Around the world, the number of native speakers of languages other than English (LOTE) is truly staggering. Chinese tops the list with 1.3 billion, followed by Spanish with 460 million native speakers. Surprisingly, English only ranks 3rd place with 360 million native speakers. And although approximately one billion count English as a second – or even a third or fourth language – it doesn’t mean they use or understand it proficiently (nor does it mean they use it or understand it in the same way as native speakers). According to recent research by the EF English Proficiency Index, the average proficiency score of non-native English speakers around the world is only around 53 percent, which means that most of the speakers fall below the moderate proficiency level.
Considering that the majority of internet users do not speak or even read English well enough to understand it, it is mind boggling that 60 percent of content on the internet today is still in the English language. In the US alone, the population of non-native English speakers has exponentially grown in the past couple of decades. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, “67.3 million residents in the United States speak a language other than English at home, a number equal to the entire population of France.”2 In regard to proficiency level, approximately 40 percent of the US immigrant population is limited English proficient (LEP), meaning they do not speak, read, or write English well. In practical terms this means that at least 25 million US residents cannot fully grasp the marketing messages you have invested in, and therefore cannot actively engage in what you have to offer.
Multilingual Marketing Translation Services
Professionally translating and localizing your marketing content will result in a strong ROI since it allows you to drastically expand your scope while staying culturally relevant in all markets. If you limit your marketing campaign to reach English-only speakers, you are potentially missing a golden opportunity to put products and services out in front of tens of millions, not to mention potentially losing precious ground to competitors.
In fact, according to the Common Sense Advisory’s (CSA) recent update of their “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy” survey, even those speakers who have a higher English proficiency might not be interested in English-only marketing efforts since roughly 72.1 percent of internet users are more likely to stay on websites that offer content in their native tongue. The survey, which was conducted in 29 countries across Europe, Asia, North America, and South America, found that “76% of online shoppers prefer to buy products with information in their native language. In addition, 40% will never buy from websites in other languages.”3
Interestingly, research has also found that when people operate outside of a native language, they tend to disconnect emotionally and show less empathy and consideration for others. Your marketing efforts, in other words, will be much less effective unless your content is professionally translated and localized to resonate with your multilingual audience.
Marketing in the US
By catering solely to the US-English-speaking population, ecommerce retailers are missing a golden opportunity. The US is a rich, multilingual and multicultural nation offering a diverse online marketplace. To put this into perspective, there are currently over 282 million active internet users in the country and over 209 million online shoppers. The Spanish language alone is spoken by some 41 million US residents, and Hispanic communities across the US hold a strong online purchasing power to the tune of USD 1.7 trillion. But it isn’t just about language. Multiculturalism must also play a key role within a company’s North American marketing strategy. In fact, according to Nielson Holdings PLC, an American information, date, and measurement firm, “[c]ompanies that lead with multicultural insights to devise authentic sustained marketing strategies will reap the most profitable returns on their investment.”4
Marketing in Emerging Markets
Even in emerging markets, such as in Asia and Africa, buyers are spending more money on products and services from other parts of the world. These emerging markets represent a larger pool of potential clients but only those businesses that make efforts to reach customers on their own linguistic and cultural terms will get ahead. Offering multilingual content with expertly translated search engine optimization (SEO), appropriate graphics, and localized visuals will rank your search engine results pages higher and reduce your website’s bounce rate. When potential customers find you quickly you get them one step closer to your products and services, building the trust that transforms into sales.
Strategic localization for your marketing practice
The temptation to use free internet translation tools or a local marketing team to quickly translate your content will likely do you more harm than good as the “quality” of your translation will determine your success. Companies without a multilingual localization strategy risk losing access to the US-LEP population as well as to international markets. In order for your content marketing strategy to be successful, your message must be culturally adapted for your audience, which is where an LSP can help tailor the message to be truly multi-market ready. Customers appreciate brands that make efforts to reach and even sell to them using their native language, serving their specific needs, and allowing them to feel connected to the product or service.
Experienced LSPs provide expert consulting in translation and localization services that results in meaningful engagement across multiple markets. Are you ready to engage and build trust with your multilingual audience? By focusing on a translation and localization strategy now, your brand can continue to thrive domestically and globally. Piedmont Global Language Solutions (PGLS) works with a wide pool of language professionals and specialists in an impressive number of industries, including medical and healthcare, life sciences, government, energy, oil and gas, and the legal sectors. Utilizing state-of-the-art language technology solutions and ISO-backed quality processes to ensure a successful transfer of information to your multilingual market, PGLS will ensure you not only reach but successfully connect with your multilingual target audiences.
PGLS is your partner of choice for your multilingual marketing strategy. Reach out to experience the PGLS difference today.
1 Evans, Vyvyan. “Culture Matters! How Cultural Knowledge Influences Language.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 6 Mar. 2015, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/language-in-the-mind/201503/culture-matters-how-cultural-knowledge-influences-language.
2 Karen Zeigler and Steven A. Camarotaon October 29. “67.3 Million in the United States Spoke a Foreign Language at Home in 2018.” CIS.org, cis.org/Report/673-Million-United-States-Spoke-Foreign-Language-Home-2018.
3 CSA Research – View, insights.csa-research.com/reportaction/8057/Marketing.
4 “The Multicultural Edge.” The Multicultural Edge: Rising Super Consumers, Nielsen, 2015, www.nielsen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2019/04/the-multicultural-edge-rising-super-consumers-march-2015.pdf.
In addition to:
EF EPI 2019 – EF English Proficiency Index, www.ef.com/wwen/epi/.
Bureau, ET. “What to Expect from Ecommerce in Emerging Markets by 2022.” The Economic Times, Economic Times, 6 Oct. 2018, economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/retail/what-to-expect-from-ecommerce-in-emerging-markets-by-2022/articleshow/66101479.cms?from=mdr.