Vigdis Eriksen-2Read part two of Laurel Delaney’s interview with Vigdis Eriksen on Import & Export. Vigdis discusses the steps companies need to take to prepare for website translation, along with tips for overcoming challenges and examples of great global websites.

This is part two of a two-part interview with Vigdis Eriksen who heads up Eriksen Translations, a leading provider of multilingual services in more than 100 languages. Here, she discusses a five-step process to get in the ready state for translating a website, how to overcome challenges facing companies that are new to web globalization and what’s in store for the future on web globalization. (Note: Be sure to visit part one of the interview, “Why Web Translation is Critical For American Firms”).

Laurel Delaney:  When you work with clients who want to translate their website into another language such as Portuguese, for example, because the bulk of their inquiries are coming from Brazil, what five-step process do you recommend to make sure they are in the ready-state and have a plan?

Vigdis Eriksen:  We work with our clients to make sure the following issues are considered:

  1. What type of website do they have, static or dynamic? What type of technology are they using to host the website and is it managed by a Content Management System (CMS)?
  2. Does the entire site need to be translated or just pieces? Will the dynamic content be translated, and if so, how will updates be handled?
  3. Which languages are appropriate for the target market?
  4. Is the content culturally appropriate?
  5. After the launch of the new site, how will inquiries be handled when received in other languages?

LD:  Is there a way to optimize the potential for the greatest number of people to visit a site?

VE:  Multilingual SEO tailored to the target region will help increase visitors to a site. Marketing in social media relevant to specific markets is also a way to help drive traffic. The content should be interesting to the people in each country. So it might be helpful to partner with a subject-matter expert. Also, it is important to review the analytics to assess where web traffic is coming from and adjust tactics and web content appropriately.

LD:  What are the biggest challenges facing companies that are new to web globalization? Can they be overcome? How?

VE:  It’s not enough to just translate a website, companies must be prepared to field the inquiries they receive as their business expands. They must have a process in place to reply to inquiries and manage business with non-English speaking clients. A company might consider setting up customer service and response teams able to communicate in the language they’re targeting.

It’s also important to consider how web updates will be handled after the launch. The localized website should not just be a translation of the English site, but should include information that is relevant to the people in each market.

A language service provider can be an excellent resource for companies as they begin to develop the materials needed to work with new markets.

LD:  Does it cost a lot of money to translate a website into another language?

VE:  The cost, which is determined by the number of languages and the volume of text, is small relative to the gigantic opportunity for growth.

LD:  What can companies do to get started on web globalization?

VE:  Companies must first determine which markets they want to target, then develop a business and marketing plan to do so. Before beginning the process of website globalization, a company must have a website that can support multiple languages. They must also make sure their English-language site is well written, clear and grammatically correct, and free from colloquialisms and idioms. A site must also be structured to accommodate expansion. Once this framework is in place, it is best to partner with a translation company that can help ensure the content is culturally appropriate for the target audiences and develop a plan for translation.

LD:  How do you see the future on web globalization?  What’s around the corner that will help businesses prepare accordingly?

VE:  People are getting more comfortable buying online, and this presents a huge opportunity for businesses of any size to sell around the globe. While English is still the No. 1 language spoken on the web, countries like Brazil and China are growing rapidly and may soon replace English. As more and more companies expand into non-English speaking markets, the need for web globalization will continue to grow.

LD:  Can you give us one or two examples of companies who have great global websites?

VE:  Starbucks and Nestlé are both great examples of companies with great global websites. They maintain their brand across countries while keeping the content relevant to those markets.

LD:  Thank you so much Vigis for sharing your experience with us. Now, more than ever, we feel empowered to take on the world!