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Translation ROI

As a business owner, every single choice you make has to be carefully measured to ensure its what’s right for the company. Money doesn’t grow on trees, which is why businesses are constantly under pressure to make sure that big investments pay off, and benefit all involved. But for things like translation, proving that all-important ROI is more difficult. There are no metrics to measure, and all you see are invoices. It doesn’t have to be like that, though, which is why we’d like to share some tips with you to ensure your translations are not just another business expense you don’t need.

Defining Translation ROI

Every company has a different definition of ROI. It doesn’t have to be financial – it can be a rise in engagement from a particular location, for example. What you need to do is sit down and work out what matters most to your business. Then, you need to set clear goals. Some examples of things to track could be:

  • Revenue
  • Market share
  • Number of new clients
  • Brand awareness
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Key marketing metrics like web visitors from other countries

Setting KPIs and tracking the numbers

Once you’ve decided what you want to track, next you need to set about tracking them. To do that, you should set some KPIs so you can measure everything. For translation, once again, we’re kind of limited with the number of metrics  we’ve got to track, but they could include:

  • Cost per translated word
  • Revenue vs. translation cost
  • Translation error rate
  • Conversion rate from particular markets
  • Market share
  • Country traffic and language
  • Number of new customers from particular countries
  • Conversion rates

All of the KPIs above are great ways to measure your success in new markets, especially if you get your marketing department on board. They’ll have access to tools and software that can track conversions by country and language, so you can see where your translations are making a real difference. 

The price vs. quality factor

With ROI, a lot of people tend to associate it with costs and saving money, but translation is not really one of those things you want to skimp out on. There are plenty of cheap translators out there willing to translate a whole document for a matter of dollars, but the problem is the quality. Cheap quality doesn’t exist, and when you’re entrusting your brand’s image to someone else, you need to make sure that they represent you to the fullest. Translations should be getting the same amount of attention as your native-language copy, and that’s why taking shortcuts and saving money will look good short term, but it’ll cost you more long term.

Have you ever seen those funny translation fails on online? They’re hilarious, but honestly, could you really imagine trusting the company who went out with them to provide the service you need if they can’t even look after their own brand? The answer to that is probably no. And it’s the same with cheap translations – they may not be quite as rude or silly as “roasted husband”, but people in the country you’re expanding too won’t trust you, and that will affect your sales. That, in turn, will then have a knock-on effect – causing bad publicity you have to spend money to fix, plus much more. So, the moral of the story is that while you may be saving money, to begin with, you’ll end up spending far more trying to iron out your mistakes and make it look like they never happened!

Customer satisfaction rate and translation ROI

While customer satisfaction and ROI are not normally something you’d hear together, it really is a great way of making sure that you’re doing things right. When you’re doing business in a different country, you’re going to have to take numerous steps to ensure that your clients are happy, including foreign language support and customer service. If clients keep coming back to you, it shows your localization efforts are paying off – but if people are ordering from you once and never coming back again, you should really take a look into what you’re doing wrong. It could be something simple like shipping options or currency, but if customers are uncomfortable with your language choices, that could impact things too.

Being realistic

If you think back to when you first started your business, you’ll remember that creating your brand was something that didn’t happen overnight. And it’s the same with translation – it takes time to gain the trust of overseas customers, so don’t be disheartened. You’ll need to be consistent with your localization efforts and invest in things like sales and marketing to make the most of your efforts. So, go for a quality over quantity approach and remember – good things come to those who wait 🙂

So, if you’d like some help turning your translation efforts into ROI, get in touch. We can help advise you and put practices in place to ensure that you’re all set for international growth.

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