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How to calculate Translation ROI

How to calculate Translation ROI

Of course you want to expand your business into new markets, and you hope to increase your revenue by doing so. But how can you accurately measure the value of translation? And, more importantly, the value of good translation? There are some key metrics for translation ROI that can be analysed and incorporated into a broader expansion strategy. But first of all…

What is ROI?

Return on Investment (ROI) is the comparison between the amount invested into a project, and the revenue generated by that project. For example, if you invest 100€ and you make a net profit of 10€, then your ROI is 10%. (10% is not a great! You would generally hope to do better than that!)

Market expansion and Translation ROI

Before embarking on market expansion it’s important to do your research. Consider where there is a market for your product, take a look at your competitors, and consider what market share you are hoping to capture.

When localising your website, consider which languages and language variations are spoken in your target market. And, take a look at Google Trends to see which keywords are commonly being used in your sector.

It’s also important to consider local regulations: does your product or service meet local regulations and standards? Will you have licensing issues? And how much might this cost?

Find out more: Before you Start the Localisation Process

🔹 According to a Common-Sense Advisory survey conducted in eight countries, more than 72% of consumers would be more likely to buy from a website if it were in their native language.

🔹 95% of Chinese consumers do not buy products or services presented in a foreign language, even if they are fluent in that language.

🔹 Around 42% of consumers in the European Union do not buy products or services presented in a foreign language, even if they are fluent in that language.

🔹 60% of shoppers from non-English-speaking countries “rarely or never” buy from English-only websites.

CSA Research

Key metrics for calculating Translation ROI

  • Revenue vs. Cost per word of translation
  • Customer satisfaction
    (positive feedback)
  • Translation error rate
  • Translation reuse (re-used copy)
  • Increase in website traffic from the target market
  • Unique visitors from that market/region.
  • Brand recognition
  • Conversion rates
  • Market share
  • Time to market

Your ROI will generally increase with the volume of translations, the number of target languages, the frequency of updates, and as your familiarity with the translation process increases — especially if you create effective workflows.

🔹 “Research indicates that three times as many readers of a website will convert to customers if you give them information in their native language. You don’t need to translate your legal and privacy info pages, but you do need to translate your important landing page and selling pages. Not to do so is to turn away 2/3 of your potential business.”

Gillian Meussig (Co-founder of MOZ)

Customer satisfaction

Put simply, people feel more comfortable buying products and services when they have information in their own language, the option to buy in their own currency and can have items delivered to their home address. Furthermore, if there’s a problem your customers will appreciate good customer service, in their native language.

Find out more: Transcreation: the next level of Localisation

Translation error rate

Don’t underestimate the cost of poor translation: ie. the time spent reviewing copy and correcting errors. And consequently, the cost of additional marketing and PR to compensate for the loss in brand credibility. Using a professional translation service means that you will never have to waste time correcting mistakes, or reviewing documents in a language in which you may not be fluent.

Translation reuse

Much of your sales copy will be used and reused across platforms and documents, for example, product descriptions and specifications, delivery information, and brand information will feature many times. Is your LSP storing your translations in a Translation Memory (TM), or are they translating each time from scratch? A TM will save, “remember” and offer translations for repeated text, each time they occur. This will save you money and accelerate the time-to-market, as well as ensuring consistency in your translations and, therefore, in your brand messaging.

Web traffic and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Your potential customers around the world need to be able to find you! If your SEO is monolingual, anyone searching in any other language will not be able to find you. If they don’t know you exist, they are not going to become customers! It’s important to note that Search Engines will filter out sites that are clearly auto-generated, or contain multiple errors.

Find out more: Why you should never use Machine Translation on your website

Brand credibility

There’s no such thing as cheap quality, and you don’t want your business to end up becoming a funny meme on Instagram. We’ve all seen those “translation fail” posts and, to be honest, we probably enjoy them even more than you! But seriously, do you really want to entrust your brand image and credibility to an algorithm?

🔹 According to a survey of Fortune 500 companies, companies that invest in translation are 1.5 times more likely to experience an increase in total revenue.

CSA Research

More pressingly, how much time do you want to spend fixing mistakes and dealing with bad publicity? If your potential customers don’t perceive your business as both professional and reliable, they will be unlikely to buy from you. It’s hard to track how many sales you didn’t get because of a silly mistranslation, but the probability of this happening is high.

Consider how much time and investment you made when creating your brand identity. Consider how much time and effort you invested in creating your original content. You should make the same commitment to quality with your translations as you did to the original, native-language copy. Ultimately, your customers should be unaware that they are reading a translation. Effective localisation means your new customers should be able to engage with you, and your products, as comfortably as your original base.

Find out more: How to maximise your Translation ROI

Read more from Common Sense Advisory: CSA Research

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