How to take your only-English or Google- translated web content to the next level
Most businesses start their journey online by putting up their web content (webpage, website and/or social media presence) in their mother tongue. When it is written in English, you can easily think it gives an advantage: nowadays, it is a lingua franca, learned and understood all over the world, right? Well, there is a bit more to it than that.
So, when is your only-English web content (or Google Translate widget) not enough anymore for your vegan business? In this article, we will first consider the linguistic pitfalls of using machine translation, then why only a translator can reflect your brand’s uniqueness and, finally, we will look at some key figures about internet users’ expectations.
Have your web content translated by a machine: the pitfalls
Machine VS Human
Your clients want to feel unique, to read content that feels personalized. In other words, they want you to talk to them, to understand them.
When your client speaks the same language as you, it will work. But what if they are foreign customers? If you use a translation widget, will they be able to feel the same message, which you took time and effort creating in English? No, they won’t.
Why is that, isn’t machine translation functioning? Although it has got better in the last few years, it is and will probably never be able to reflect the authenticity of your brand, since it’s a machine: it can’t understand humans. It won’t even be able to use the right words at the right time.
Context and consistency
Machine translations’ “brain” contains words and parts of sentences it has “learned”, but nothing else. It can’t tell the difference between when “robe” means “robe de chambre” (i.e. bathrobe) or “robe” (a judge’s garment). Nor can it translate all of your content consistently. Neither can it make the difference between a Canadian French-speaking audience and a France one. This is the case for all languages spoken in different countries, thus the same goes with English: which one do you choose, “lift” or “elevator”?
Since machine translation is just that - a machine that replaces one word for the other - it can’t give you consistency throughout your content, let alone when you have your web content translated in the long run. Only a human can use the same terminology and style throughout your website, blog, social media, newsletters… Elements that have a big role to play to set apart your vegan brand.
Show your vegan brand’s uniqueness - in all languages
Your brand is unique
You know your brand is unique, your English-speaking customers know it as well. As we have seen, a Google Translate widget won’t be the solution to show it to your foreign prospects and clients.
To reflect your brand’s uniqueness in other languages, you need to ask help from a translation professional. They will be able, thanks to their human-sensitive brain (a real one, this time!), to adapt your web content while staying true to your vegan brand’s values and voice. This is even more important when we think that web content is never set in stone.
Your content is ever-evolving
Your web content evolves every day: you publish an article, you post on social media, you answer to your clients’ messages and questions… In these messages, there can be idiomatic expressions, slang and new words, references to the writer’s culture or to current news. Artificial intelligence can’t understand all of these!
By using machine translation, you will lessen the original meaning of your content for your foreign audience, and it may even create misunderstandings when answering to their messages. Plus, maybe your clients want to read your web content in their mother tongue?
Internet users and web content: their expectations
According to the latest “User language preferences online” report by the European Commission, 75% of users prefer to buy in their native language, while only 18% of Internet users speak English. Moreover, 81% of the respondents thought that websites created in their country should also be available in other languages.
What about France?
Still according to this report, 47.1% of French people never use a language other than their mother tongue to search or buy products or services and 92.8% of French people agree that, when available, they always visit websites in their mother tongue. Almost half (48.6%) of French people disagree that they accept to use an English language website if it is not available in French.
All these numbers point to one fact: to understand and be understood by your foreign audience, translation is essential. And, as we have seen it above, Google Translate won’t be of much help for this task!
English may be the most spoken language over the world, internet users, including French people, will rather search and buy in their mother tongue. That said, machine translation is of very limited use to translate your web content. Indeed, it would be risky to rely on it when trying to communicate your vegan brand’s identity, let alone to talk directly to your prospects and clients.
The most secure way to go for you is to ask a translation professional to help you, to make your vegan brand’s web content understood, in all languages.