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  • Writer's pictureNixie Adams

Four Reasons Why Startups Should Invest in Translation

‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.’ — Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela knew what he was talking about! Although he uttered this now-famous quote in a political context, it applies just the same in the business world. After all, customers only buy what they understand.

Let’s look at four reasons why startups should consider investing in translation services from the outset:

1. Better conversion rates

Users are more likely to spend more time on a website if it is in their native language. In fact, they’re also more likely to actually purchase something too. According to one study, 72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time browsing websites in their own language, and 72.4% of consumers reported they’re more likely to buy a product if information about it is available in their native language. If you ship your products internationally, a multilingual website is especially important. Why? Because potential customers in other countries might click through your website in a foreign language—but when it comes to making a purchase, they’re likely to head off to a competitor who has invested in translating their website. The ‘Can’t Read, Won’t Buy B2C Report’, which surveyed 8,709 consumers in 29 countries to analyze preferences for customer experiences in one’s native language versus a foreign language confirms this behavior. Simply put: consumers feel more comfortable when they can do business in their own language. This way, they can be sure that there are no misunderstandings and no hidden clauses in the terms and conditions. If you offer consumers a platform in their own language, you’ll gain trust in your business and increase your chances to close the deal. You might even gain a long-term customer who appreciates your multilingual efforts.

2. Business growth

Although professional translation requires an initial investment, you’ll save time and energy in the long run.

According to a CSA Research survey of Fortune 500 companies, businesses that increased their translation budgets were 1.5 times more likely than their Fortune 500 peers to report an increase in total revenue. Companies investing in translation were also 2.04 times more likely to record an increase in profits and 1.27 times more likely to generate augmented earnings per share (EPS).

According to Forbes, a brand’s identity must be global, making translation indispensable. And if you’re planning to operate abroad with your startup, then it makes sense to tackle this market with a sound and precise communication plan—including time and budget for translation.

Translating your website is the best way to tell potential customers about your products and company. Sri Sharma from Net Media Planet reports that, on average, businesses witness a 20% increase in conversions when they translate their landing pages and ads, and an astonishing 70% increase when they translate their entire website.

Online, you have direct access to millions of potential customers and decision-makers around the globe. Seize this opportunity and address them in their own language — a surefire way to make your company grow quicker than it would otherwise.

3) Boost your SEO:

If your startup is an online business, in particular, international websites in different languages can supercharge your SEO results.

Offering a website in various languages encourage more people in different countries to use your website, so you’ll not only drive traffic but also generate more leads. And translated content won’t be flagged by search engines as duplicate content. Just be sure that your multilingual websites are SEO-optimized.

HubSpot experts recommend including multilingual SEO meta tags and having your business listed in country-specific directories. A Hubspot survey also showed increased user confidence in local domain extensions, which should also be part of an SEO-optimised translated website.

It pays to include multilingual SEO in your SEO strategy and hire a specialist for this service to make sure you get it right.

4. Save support costs:

Imagine your content is only available in English but a potential customer in Germany wants to buy your product and has a question about it before committing to the purchase. Or, a customer in Brazil has purchased your item but something isn’t working and they need to find out why.

Now imagine they just hop onto your translated websites in German and Portuguese and simply read the information they’re after. Perfect.

Without multilingual content readily available, they’ll go through your sales or customer support staff, and potentially log a ticket, which — according to experts at SDL, one of the world’s leading translation and content management companies— takes up time and resources. And their customer experience won’t be great because they might not fully understand the information they’re given in a language that’s not their own.

If everything they need is already out there, you’ll save those support costs and provide them with a smoother experience at the same time.


The world is your stage — use it and become a global powerhouse. And boost your sales at the same time. A win-win strategy. If Nelson Mandela were advising you, he’d no doubt agree.


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