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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : October 17, 2013

UK businesses failing to provide websites in foreign languages

An ethnocentric attitude among business owners is leading to potential loss of revenue, particularly among business to consumer companies, according to new research findings released by UK-based translation and transcription services firm Global Lingo.

by Helen Leggatt

In 2011, a Eurobarometer report, 'User Language Preferences Online' (.pdf), revealed that just 18% of consumers would buy products online from a website in a foreign language. Furthermore, 45% said they never use a language other than their own online and 44% felt they were missing out on "interesting information" because websites were not in a language they understood.

Yet, when Global Lingo recently surveyed just over 1,000 UK-based business owners about whether they would consider using a language other than their native tongue when expanding overseas, 32% said no - they would feel more confident trading purely in English.

header-translation-home.jpgIn fact, of that third, over half (55%) were of the opinion that English was the only language they need consider using since it was the "international language of business". Not so, says Global Lingo managing director Richard Michie. "This is simply not the case, particularly for those selling directly to consumers, and many could be missing out on a great deal of potential business by not taking the time to communicate effectively with their target audience. After all, would you feel confident purchasing a product or service that claimed to deliver in the UK, yet communicated entirely in Italian?"

A major barrier to providing a website and other marketing materials in a language other than English was the expense, cited by 36% of respondents, while just over a quarter (26%) felt "nervous" about doing business in a language with which they were not familiar.

To boost UK trade overseas, and promote awareness of the benefits of engaging with consumers in their native tongue, Global Lingo is offering the first 100 UK businesses to contact them up to 1,000 words of free translation, or a 1,000 word credit towards a larger project.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: ecommerce, Eurobarometer, Europe, international business tips, language, translation, UK, website design

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