One Hour Translation, the largest professional translation service online, just published a study conducted among 897 of its business customers who translated their web sites into other languages. The One Hour Translation study reinforces another study by Common Sense consulting showing that 71% of Internet users prefer to make purchases from a website written in their own language. Also, a previous study covering 2,430 participants from eight countries shows that more than 50% of online shoppers from Germany, Japan, Russia, France, Spain, Brazil, China and Turkey said they only buy from websites in their native language.
Less than a year ago, Best Buy reported that customers' average purchase on the Spanish version of its U.S. website is more than double the average purchase on the English website. The company indicated that the investment in the Spanish translation of the site was covered within few months.
"Companies that want to appeal to International markets should understand that consumers from countries with enormous consumer power such as Germany, France or Russia will not buy from websites written exclusively in English," says Ofer Shoshan, Co-founder and CEO of One Hour Translation.
The One Hour Translation study shows a huge improvement in sales via sites translated into native languages in countries such as France, Italy and Germany. Customers from these countries rarely buy from websites that are not written in the native language. This is particularly true in countries where the use of English is less prevalent day to day, and where the people are used to watching dubbed, rather than subtitled, TV shows and movies.
One of the companies that participated in the One Hour Translation study, showed a 10 times increase in conversion from German visitors to buyers in the German translated version of their site. The conversion increased from under 1% to over 10% for users from Germany and Austria after the site was translated to German.
"Translation alone is not sufficient," continues Shoshan, "a proper localization should include native language customer support, local phone numbers and so on. It is known that 72% of Internet users spend most of their time online browsing sites in their native language alone. And that 75% of Internet users would rather buy in their native language," concluded Shoshan.
Surprisingly, the data shows that even in countries like Singapore, where English is an official language and widely spoken, users still buy more from localized sites than from English sites.
It is obviously easier for most companies to have only English websites and to target the US market. But it is important to remember, especially considering the current economy, that there is a huge non-English speaking market available online. Hundreds of millions of customers who speak Spanish, French (and French–Canadian), German, Italian, Russian, Arabic and other languages are easy to reach online by using their native language.
Source on Yahoo Finanace