Top 10 Brands: What’s Website Translation Got to Do With It?

As usual in recent years, the top 10 brands (list published by WPP) all have something in common: logos and names instantly recognizable throughout the globe.

As the marketing world has noted time and again, companies that connect with a worldwide market understand the power of language. Not surprisingly, the following Top 10 each offers website translation in a number of key languages. And by doing so, these companies have created brand awareness and loyalty in many countries around the world:

  1. Apple
  2. Google
  3. IBM
  4. McDonald’s
  5. Microsoft
  6. Coca-Cola
  7. AT&T
  8. Marlboro
  9. China Mobile
  10. General Electric

Did you notice another commonality? 7 out of the 10 companies listed above are technology companies.

Why Tech Is Top

Staying in touch with consumers means understanding what people want. Channeling consumer needs can be accomplished by tuning into the Internet. Technology companies (such as Apple, Google, China Mobile, Microsoft, General Electric and IBM) are winning this race by listening to consumers from all walks of life (and in their native tongue).

Simply put, there’s no better way to listen to consumers than to understand and speak the language that a company’s fan base is speaking in. These Top 10 brands effectively communicate with the world by offering product information in a variety of languages.

So the argument that only affluent consumers around the world can shop and buy in English is absolutely false. Quite the opposite – these brands have been handsomely rewarded for going local around the world.

The Web of Languages

While making sure that a website is available in many languages is important, there’s more to this notion than selecting a handful of languages. The old localization term is FIGS – for English-speaking companies, the obvious first target languages were French, Italian, German and Spanish.

But as the word economy shifts, certain languages are becoming more abundant. A recent report by Common Sense Advisory (CSA) points to some surprising statistics:

  • Sites offering content in one language reach out to only 25% of Internet users.
  • Even sites that offer 11 different language options were found to reach only 80% of the worldwide market. 

The CSA report suggests that companies should offer 16 different language options in order to truly be considered “global” and reach more than 80% of the market. When tested, the company that came out on top of the CSA list was Google – number two on WPP’s list.

Going Global: You Don’t Have to Have Apple’s Budget

For companies like Google and Apple, going global by offering a number of website translations is simple… well, maybe not simple, but they’ve got the resources to make it happen.

Smaller companies may understandably shy away from spending a large portion of their marketing budget on site translation. Then again, assuming that translating your site into many different languages will break the bank is a false assumption – see our plans and pricing details.

Why reach out to just 25% of the online market (in English) when you can connect with more than 80% of Internet users? Apple and Google have learned the value of language to build their global brand. But website translation is not just for the big guys anymore.

About Team Smartling

Smartling is a software company with the mission to make the world’s content multilingual.

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