My comfort zone
In my younger days I worked in sales, with both existing and potential customers, and I often faced linguistic challenges. I went out and met the customer. Swedish is my mother tongue, but the customer didn’t speak Swedish. And so the deal was lost.
When I go abroad, I try to find people who speak Swedish. When I shop online, I click on the Swedish language icon. All my Facebook settings are in Swedish, even though the site was originally in English. Sounds familiar?
Charm alone is not enough
Language is an important part of my identity, and I feel secure when surrounded by my own language. The same applies to my customers, or the country to which I export goods. If there’s no information in the language my target group speaks, there’s a risk that the entire deal will be lost. Unless, of course, I have a great deal of charm at my disposal!
Why big companies translate
Take a look at a few big companies and their websites. When you visit their websites, you often start with what I call a ‘language page’. Here, the visitor is faced with a choice of many different languages ‒ everything from Chinese to Albanian. Where do I click? On Swedish, as that’s my mother tongue. Everything is presented in my currency, and the information and descriptions are in my language. This immediately stimulates my appetite to buy. The company certainly appreciates this, even if my wallet doesn’t.
And that’s why linguistic adaptation is incredibly important. Not because my wallet ends up lighter, but because business is boosted. There’s a reason why companies translate their websites into multiple languages to broaden their market. According to statistics, companies do 25% more business if the information is in the visitor’s own language.
The answer is easy
So the answer to the question about the point of translation is crystal clear to me now. It broadens my market, I reach out to more potential customers, and I do more business. And most importantly of all, it inspires the trust of my customers.