Stop being a little Englander and step into the world!
Did you know that there are nearly twice as many internet users in Asia as there are in Europe?
Or in terms of languages used, some 70 per cent of internet searches are not in English?
For those reasons attendees at a seminar in Buckinghamshire on January 14, 2014 were told that UK companies not attempting to communicate with international audiences are missing a massive opportunity, writes David Tooley.
Russell Fowler, of FuelDefend Global Limited, in Gerrards Cross, said his company, which employs six people and exports fuel anti-siphon equipment to 100 countries, had seen his business improve no end by implementing an international strategy.
Russell told the Simply Exporting – Customise Your Website event that investing in a UKTI export communications review would be the “best £250 you'll ever spend”. But he advised people to invest in good translation services to make sure the vital wording is correct.UK Trade & Investment export communications consultant Notburga Preining told the seminar at Holiday Inn, Weston Turville, near Aylesbury, that it was “highly likely” that Chinese would soon overtake English as the most used language on the internet. The country with the biggest population on the planet alone had 538,000,000 internet users in June 2012, she said.
Notburga said potential customers stay for twice as long on a website if it has elements in their own language. And crucially they are four times more likely to buy from a website in their own language.Making websites look more than a parochial UK website can be achieved with country pages, language pages and agent and/or distributor websites.
Higher level domains are also available in non-Latin alphabets.
In terms of the language used, Notburga said it was important to invest in good quality, well explained international English, containing no acronyms or cultural references. The copy must not contain typos and should be professionally copywritten and proof read. It can then be translated into other languages. But she added that many pieces of copy, when translated, can be much longer than when in English.
The use of Google translate was also a subject of discussion and while there was agreement that it is a “very good thing” it will have errors.
Seminar attendees also heard how the principles of good search engine optimisation held as true in the international arena as they do in domestic dynamic websites. That includes updating content, including tags on images, good questions and answers and in sitemaps.
Austrian-born Notburga, who also speaks basic French and Italian, added that it is also important to remember that Google, although dominant in many markets around the world, holds much less of a grip in Russia. In the USA, Bing and Yahoo are major players.
She added every day Google answers more than one billion questions from people around the globe in 181 countries and 146 languages. Yahoo attracts more than half a billion consumers every month in more than 30 languages.
The message from the Buckinghamshire Business First event was for companies to raise their sights and start to think on a global basis but not just for manufacturers, companies in the service sector can be in there, too!
For more information contact UKTI.