In the internet age your website is the first point of contact with your customers, and it is therefore the “front window” of your business. If your website does not do its job during this initial encounter, you might as well throw away all your lovingly prepared calling cards and brochures. So what makes a good website? In essence: simple layout, clear displays and easy-to-read texts which speak to your customers.
The heart of the issue is this: We want to speak to our customers, but which language is the best one to use? The internet era has been shaped by international networking, globalization and internationalization. You want your website to appeal to your customers in your home country just as much as those in France, Argentina and Russia. In addition to adhering to linguistic expectations, culturally specific issues and formatting have to be taken into account.
When translating your website you have two main options:
1) An international website in English and, ideally, in the language your business primarily uses (if different). This is particularly recommended for start-ups, who can target the global market relatively cheaply by using a simple, international form of English without including any culturally specific content.
2) Multiple websites, adapted both linguistically and culturally to their target audience (localized). No matter if it’s Swiss German or Brazilian Portuguese, localized texts meet the linguistic and cultural expectations of their readers and create a sense of closeness with a potential customer which can help them feel more positively towards your business. The effect of this is that they will enjoy spending time browsing your website, and its professional presentation will help establish trust with the customer, leading in turn to lucrative enquiries and orders.