September 30th is International Translation Day, an event organised by the United Nations that celebrates the vital work of language professionals in bridging divides between countries and improving global understanding.
For businesses, this occasion provides an opportunity to reflect on the commercial significance of multilingualism. Being able to communicate effectively in a range of languages can help you reach new audiences, develop stronger customer relationships and build a strong, internationally relevant brand.
Here are four specific ways embracing multilingual messaging can boost your business.
A Global Website and Social Media Presence
For many potential customers, your website will be the first point of entry to your brand – the main channel through which they start to form ideas of your company, what it stands for and how its products or services can help them.
Translating the content on your website can have the powerful effect of opening up your business to a whole world of potential customers. In contrast, relying fully on your first language can have the unintended consequence of alienating people who might be interested in your products but are unable to navigate your site.
Going a step further than translation, localisation of your webpages can prove vital in ensuring that all of your content feels relevant and appropriate to the people who are reading it, taking into account factors such as cultural references and linguistic idiosyncrasies.
In today’s digital world, your online presence is about much more than your website, of course. It’s estimated there are now more than 3.4 billion users of social media around the world, nine per cent more than last year.
This is a vast potential audience for brands that can get their international social media marketing right, and as we have previously explored on the Locaria blog, success on social media can have much wider effects than just digital engagement.
To really leverage the potential of the internet, you need to have a solid understanding of search engine optimisation.
Much like social media, the world’s biggest search engines provide a way for you to make contact with enormous potential audiences all over the globe. In a phenomenally hectic online environment, you need to be doing everything you can to optimise your content for the best search engine rankings, ensuring that it is seen by the right users.
SEO is a big enough challenge in your home market, but expanding across borders and taking other languages, dialects and cultural references into account adds another layer of complexity. If you succeed, though, you will enjoy a hugely valuable boost in global exposure.
Equipping your business with the necessary linguistic, technical and strategic expertise to run a successful international SEO campaign could be one of the most important steps you take towards achieving cross-border success.
Strengthening Cultural Understanding
In some international markets, developing a deep understanding of the local culture can be instrumental in helping you win business and earn customer loyalty, based on your grasp of what really matters to the local audience.
Culture and language are two closely linked concepts that make up a large part of the overall character and identity of a place. If you have the ability to converse in the appropriate language or dialect, you have taken a big step towards really understanding the local culture and people.
When potential customers see that you are able to demonstrate a level of understanding of the world and culture they live in, they will be much more open to starting a relationship with your brand.
This is reflected in recent research showing that an increasing number of modern consumers are looking for personal, meaningful relationships with businesses.
Discussing a recent survey conducted in the US, Jonathan Steuer, chief research officer at Omnicom Media Group, said: “This research shows that consumers across all generations want and expect the same things from brands as they do of their friends and family – reliability, authenticity, and the feeling like the brands ‘get’ them and what’s important to them at this point in their lives – whatever that point may be.”
Using language to demonstrate a level of understanding of your audience is a hugely powerful tactic that can help you earn customer respect and loyalty.
Building a Universal Brand
If you have aspirations of success on an international level, it’s vital to have a global brand that is just as relevant and appealing to customers around the world as it is to your home audience.
Using language and having the ability to communicate, effectively and naturally, to people all over the world is an essential part of this. It showcases a progressive, open-minded and positive philosophy that could prove vital in helping you capture the attention of customers in foreign markets.
When it comes to developing and expanding your business on a global level, one of the biggest challenges is having the adaptability to engage with diverse audiences all over the world, without losing the core characteristics that define your brand and make it unique.
This is another area where language professionals can show their value and help you get the best possible return on investment in global growth and marketing.
If you feel inspired by the message behind International Translation Day and want to find out more about how multilingualism can help your business, contact Locaria on +44 (0)20 3948 6800.