Translation Marketing - a high ROI lever for exponential growth

What is translation marketing?

It's high time we put a new entry in the marketing terms dictionary, and with its unstoppable rise on the back of online trade1, the translation industry clearly deserves its own place in the modern marketing handbook. We call it 'Translation Marketing' to highlight the fact that translation is a marketing tool like any other. It has a fixed cost, a measurable ROI and is an all-too-often overlooked or last-minute lever for massive growth. Of the top 25 websites on the web, all of them offer versions of their pages in a range of languages. This trend continues as you go down the top 500 list.

However, you don't have to be a top 500 brand to access these markets.

So why add translation marketing to your growth strategy?

There are a few obvious reasons, namely:

  • Immediate access to new markets
  • Low cost leveraging of existing content
  • Rapid deployment with a long campaign lifetime
  • Potential for exponential coverage of longtail and fathead keywords
  • Potential for sales and user numbers to grow exponentially

Then less obviously, ongoing side-benefits include:

  • Increased search engine presence and ranking
  • Increased social reach and influence globally
  • Increased number of backlinks to content
  • Brand-image shift to more global outlook

Studies have repeatedly shown that the vast majority of online consumers only purchase from sites in their own language2. Professional translation is your simple path to getting in front of these buyers, offering them your product or service for immediate purchase, without making any structural changes to your business short of any shipping and support considerations.

Isn't this just content marketing, with a twist?

Essentially the two strategies have a lot in common. The major difference is that translation marketing can both leverage existing content marketing work, and then also make your site and online presence accessible to users in new markets. It can piggy-back on your content marketing strategy, while also setting up structural accessibility on your site through the translation of menus, about pages, help and support pages and so on.

How to get started with translation marketing

Once you've selected your markets to target, you need to decide on the extent of your initial translation plan:

  • Homepage or microsite only, with sign up form/newsletter/CTA coupled with analytics to assess viability
  • Fullsite and content, all tracked through analytics to see which content is performing best and where visitors are coming from and going to
  • Decision to update on a regular basis in-step with original language site
  • Subdomain or subdirectory structure: subdirectories ( have the benefit of retaining your current search engine rank rather than starting from zero, as a subdomain would

Then you have a few options:

  • Send your site files and content to a translation agency, pay approximately double what a competent professional translator would charge, no direct contact with your translator team
  • Hand pick freelancers via search engines and local association directories, try to vet ability and subject-matter expertise yourself, manage the varying schedules and availability yourself, manage multiple email threads and file versions
  • Upload your files to a platform that vets translators for professionalism (such as Linguaquote; there aren't many), create a pre-vetted team of professional translators, easily brief your team and field their questions directly, on one page, receive deliveries in one location

That's about the long and short of it. This page will be updated as various other considerations are brought to our attention, but for now you can get started with your translation marketing strategy today and see what kind of growth it offers your business.

  1. Translation industry value and growth: $8.8bn in 2005, $30bn in 2010, $37bn in 2015. ↩︎

  2. 75% over 10 non-anglo countries prefer to buy products in their native language: 2014, CSA ↩︎

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