International Trade – ask the expert!

This month in Yorkshire’s Insider magazine, Daniel Rajkumar, managing director of Web-Translations answered readers’ questions about web translation and emails, and setting up internationally usable websites.

Q: I have set up a new arm of my company in France as a base for drawing in business from across Europe. As I am looking at a lot of different countries do I need translation of the whole of my website or blog into all the possible European languages? Won’t English do?

A: “If you are serious about drawing business in from Europe you will have to have the website or blog professionally translated for the main language of each country you are targeting. People use the web for research and they search in their native language, so if your website is not multilingual, it will simply not be found.

“A professionally localised website can be found and compel the visitor into making an order or enquiry. If budgets are tight, you might just want to start with the home page and contact page.

The great thing about the web is that unlike with print (where you have to get everything ready) you can add content as you go along. So an ecommerce website or blog might want to start with the top-selling products instead of the full range.”

Q: My web business, which sells home furnishings online, has started attracting interest from customers outside of the UK, but I currently only have the website and blog in English and only offer the option to pay in sterling. What should I be doing to help my customers abroad and how much time and money will it take to make my website or blog truly international?

A: “Great to read that you are attracting interest from abroad. It’s not unrealistic for a good ecommerce business to double even triple turnover with good web translation, multilingual search engine optimisation and by supporting multiple currencies. It is the word count content that forms the basis of web translation pricing, so the larger the product catalogue the more you will need to invest.

“Web – Translation localised the website of a major UK fashion brand into Japanese for £15k and it consistently generates between 25,000 and 45,000 a month. A retailer of digital cameras was localised into German at an investment of £55k and this generated €865,000 of business in the first five months. But even small websites or blogs can be localised from as little as £3,000 per language. Most projects take four to eight weeks.”

Q: If I’m trying to expand my web presence abroad do I have to change host or ISP or can I carry on using servers in this country? Are there any advantages to having localised sites on a server located in different country?

A: “No, you don’t have to change host, but yes, there are advantages: faster load times (marginally) and it contributes to search engine optimisation. A site hosted in Japan, with an IP address of a server located in Japan will benefit you. However, the contribution (speed & SEO) is relatively minor and so only advisable for the most competitive industries, online gaming, tourism, adult.

“Often the inconvenience (and cost) of needing to maintain multiple in-country servers outweighs the benefit, because a localised domain – .de, .fr, .it – will work on the same server as your .co.uk. If you don’t have a dedicated server, you may need another hosting account with your ISP.”

Q: I’ve developed foreign language versions of certain parts of my website and blog – how can I ensure I generate traffic to the site from abroad?

A: “Firstly you need local keyword research. Web-Translations are currently offering this service for free. Then you need to do two things: firstly optimise your content for the keywords using a tool like www.keyworddensity.com and, secondly, generate hundreds of inbound links to the website. The higher the page rank of the page containing the link to your website the better.”

 For advice on any aspect of international websites and blog  translation, contact a member of the Web – Translation team on +44 (0) 1924 360460, or email: sales@web-translations.co.uk

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