The Internet has single-handedly ushered in a new era of globally accessible information. Before its invention, communities around the world operated largely in isolation. People turned to books, government-maintained archives, and periodicals to learn about other cultures and access information about happenings in other countries.
Sure, the public had television and radio to get the news, and people were perfectly capable of staying abreast of the latest world events. However, they viewed passively – there was no real way to interact with (or react to) a story as a unified global community.
Now, all that’s changed. Thanks to the ever-growing World Wide Web, humans have an unprecedented opportunity to connect with one another from pole to pole. We can join virtual communities based on our interests – regardless of our location. Most importantly, however, we can interact with media outlets and hold newsmakers accountable in ways never before thought possible.
Over the past five years in particular, the web’s growth has exploded. In fact, according to Internet World Stats, by mid-2012, 2.4 billion people were online – and almost half of them logged in from Asia:
Countless countries have joined the ranks of the interconnected, and new cultural problems have begun to emerge in tandem with the influx. The Internet was originally built as an English-based network, so when new countries arrived online, the need for translations services suddenly became a critical issue.
Online Language Barriers and the Global Economy
Today’s Internet serves a completely different population than the overwhelmingly English-speaking web of the ‘90s. As noted above, almost half of the world’s current Internet users are located in Asia. Latin America comes in strong at 10.4%, and Arabic speakers in the Middle East hold steady and climbing at 3.7%. Other languages in the graph now vastly outweigh the English-speaking slivers. On the outside, this would appear to be a good thing – the increased language diversity ushered in by globalization solves the whole “English-dominated Internet” problem, right?
The answer, unfortunately, is no. Globalization has gone online, but a large number of webmasters have yet to get with the program and adjust their website translation capabilities accordingly. Many businesses are missing out on a massive chunk of worldwide traffic simply because they aren’t aware of their options – a management misstep that directly impacts the global economy.
Why? Simply put, when business websites continue utilizing outdated machine-based translation tools and website translation software for visitors, they’re essentially capping their customer base and hurting their bottom line. Major services such as Google website translation may be improving, but it’s no substitute for a solution tailored to your audience’s needs. Effective communication is vital for attracting and retaining customers, and a good website translation service serves as the foundation for that dialogue.
Three Elements of Professional Translation Service
Machines simply won’t cut it anymore. If you’re serious about your online brand, then proper language translation should be at the tip-top of your website to-do list.
Enlisting the help of a professional translation service is the only way to go if you want to compete in today’s high-competition Internet environment. However, it can be tough deciding which service to choose.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: opt for services that offer a three-pronged approach to website translation.
- First, seek out companies that employ techs with the software engineering know-how to integrate translation software seamlessly into your site.
- Then, ensure the website translation services on your short list staff their company with professionally trained, certified translators who are also native speakers.
- Finally, check out the translation tools themselves to determine whether they’re legit.
* If you want bonus points, find out whether your chosen company uses a project management to coordinate the combination of the three elements.
Without a doubt, this global society of ours has a long way to go before we solve the problem of website translation lag. In the meantime, professional website translation services are the single best tool to overcome online language barriers today.