Sixty to 70 percent of the population isn’t fluent in English. If you own a website, implementing multilingual pages is important, if not another full website. North America contributes to 11.4% of worldwide internet users, while the largest contributing country is Asia at 44.8%. Think about how much we limit ourselves by just creating English websites. In North America, we have 88.6% of internet users in the world we could potentially reach! The number of people participating on the web is only going to continue growing.
Some businesses may want to keep their customers local, but many people want their companies to continue to grow and reach out to potential clients, maybe even becoming internationally known. The first step in getting a multilingual website in place, is hiring a translator. Yes, this can be pricy at times, but this is where you weigh your pros and cons. If you end up with higher conversions, more traffic and international clients, would the cost be worth it?
In the process of building multilingual pages or websites, continuously ask yourself “will web users be able to find this?” If you go to extent of creating multilingual content, it’s of your benefit to make sure the search engines can find it. It can often help to have multiple languages on a web page if you decide against building a separate website. In this case, if users are searching for you in an English search engine in their own native language, they will still be directed to your website.
Not everyone has the budget to hire a translator and build web pages or websites. Sometimes looking at other options such as a web CMS (content management system) is the best way to get more bang for your buck. A web CMS allows you to be creative without understanding back-end development. Many different web CMS’ exist including open source and proprietary. Open source is free allowing you to access code and build the site yourself. If you would prefer a platform which is already built and ready for content, proprietary would be the way to go.