Multilingual and eCommerce Translation

By Slava
Feb 22, 2011 · 3 min

The advent of internet since the 1990s has probably had the greatest impact on the way trade and commerce has traditionally been carried out. Electronic commerce or ecommerce for short refers to buying and selling of goods and services over electronic systems like internet and other computer networks. It is estimated that in USA alone online trading and shopping is done to the tune of over $173 billions a year. Regarding languages used for ecommerce, since internet penetration is a major factor for carrying out ecommerce, the majority of ecommerce languages have been that of the developed economies like English, Spanish, French and German. The English language with its wide geographical spread accounts for about 35% of ecommerce globally according to an estimate by an Italian company. Surprisingly simplified Chinese stands second with a share of about 11% of the global ecommerce business. This is because of the rising internet usage of Chinese as well as the huge population of China. Japanese and Spanish share the third spot with share of about 7% each. Overall about 75% of the world of ecommerce is dominated by English, Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Portuguese. What the above estimate shows is the need for companies planning to sell goods and services online to have websites in multiple languages depending on the geographical segment they are targeting at. This augurs well for the future of translation industry as a whole and professional translation agencies in particular. Moreover even within a country websites in multiple languages would likely increase the volume of ecommerce business like for example English and Spanish in USA, Italian, French and German in Switzerland etc. While online tools like the Google translate and other free translation ( tools provide the facility for instant translation of the contents of a website into another language of the user’s choice, the quality of such automated tools leaves a lot to be desired. In order to communicate effectively the features of a product or service provided by an online company it is necessary that the websites are translated into the required languages by professional translation companies specializing in ecommerce translation. It is important that slogans and various other means of marketing a product are accurately translated into the targeted language so that there is no scope for mistranslations and miscommunication. No cost cutting in this aspect is desirable as they may effectively scuttle any chance of selling the products or services to the prospective customers. To sum up, ecommerce is here to stay and is growing at a rapid pace globally. Companies that are intending to have a global reach need to have websites in multiple languages in order to tap this growing market.

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