Webinar: Don't get lost in translation - top tips for first time exporters

Webinar posted by William Barns-Graham, on behalf of Open to Export

In March 2016 Open to Export hosted the ‘Don’t get lost in translation – tips for first-time exporters’ webinar with Nick Evans (ExtraMile Communications) and Robert Gorby (SDL) speaking and answering questions.

The major talking points

The key takeaways from the webinar were the following:

  • There are 1.1 billion people in the top 10 markets who do not speak English. There is a global market with a potential revenue of 27 trillion, but English markets do not make up the majority of this.
  • Over half the world’s consumers are more likely to pay for your offering if your site is in their own language. This is important at every single step of the customer journey from first visit to purchasing.
  • There is a correlation between the number of languages on a company’s site and the size of a company. So translating your website into other languages will help to grow your business. But if you’re a small company, prioritise which markets you’re going into first when it comes to translation.
  • Having international and multilingual marketing for your product must be part of an overall strategy, encompassing not just your website but also your communications, SEO, product labelling and more.
  • If you want to be found in overseas markets your SEO needs to work in all markets as well as languages. A French language website may not be optimised for Switzerland, Belgium or other French speaking countries with different contexts.
  • You may be better off using a multi-language platform for your website, using different overlays for different markets/languages, rather than having a different website per market.
  • Give style guides and glossaries to your translation provider to ensure your brand and content is right for your company, whatever the language.
  • Localise your website, don’t just translate it. Different markets have different cultures, currencies and sales channels and each market has its own different symbols, colloquialisms and cultural connotations.

You can watch the video of the webinar below, and check out our Recent Webinars page to access all the Open to Export webinars giving practical guidance and answers to all your exporting concerns.

Questions and Answers

As usual, attendees gave some excellent questions to which the two experts gave informative answers. Here are the questions and the answers given to them (with the time they are addressed in brackets):

What localised keyword tools would you recommend using for SEO? (51:40)

The tools used by professional agencies are expensive tools and fairly complex. Google Adwords will help you for most things, but the important thing is to understand how people are searching and you won’t always get those cultural insights from the tools themselves – an agency should help this.

Should I use a local domain or does .net .org or .com work? (54:15)

Top level domains should give you a broad span. .co.uk is specific to the UK, but a .eu domain will help in Europe say. It won’t solve anything, as SEO consists of lots of elements, but it will contribute. Having a .fr domain will give you a more relevant presence in France, but it’s not the only SEO factor.

Which multilingual commerce sites are worth using? (57:10)

Magento and Droomla are effective but different agencies will have different preferences. The question to ask is ‘will that platform you prefer do the things my company wants to do?’ It’s not just about the website but all the ancillary things that plug into it.


Also, we posted more translation questions onto the Ask the Experts forum. Here are three questions which have received useful answers:

Open to Export hold monthly webinars about the different opportunities and challenges involved in exporting. Check out our upcoming webinars page for more details.