An Online Multilingual Strategy is Just as Important for Startups

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An Online Multilingual Strategy is Just as Important for Startups

On the blog we recently looked at the example of Zomato, a company that implemented a multilingual strategy in order to conquer new foreign markets. The company adopted translation and localisation fairly early on in its evolution, but how soon should companies look to a multilingual strategy? As soon as they start or once they have matured a little?

The non-English speaking part of the world has long been aware of the value of offering their product in a different, mainly the English, language, Fernando Cuscuela says in his article on Venturebeat. Companies located in countries where English in the main or only language, however, have only recently become aware of the benefits of a multilingual strategy.

According to Cuscuela, there is more than one advantage that can be gained from having a multilingual presence on the global market.

One of these advantages, he says, is that it is a cost effective way for companies to market their product(s).

Cuscuela himself employed a multilingual strategy from the start for Everypost, an app with which you can manage all your different social media accounts, and says that this helped his company compete against the other, bigger players on the market.

In addition, it also enabled Everypost to market their product to a large, international audience, which meant the number of users of their app was larger and the feedback they received reached them faster than it would have when the app would have only been available in English. Thus, a multilingual strategy widens your reach without costing a great deal of money, Cuscuela says.

screenshot of everypost app in chinese language

Each time a company’s product becomes available in a new language, the number of potential customers for a company becomes increases. This is very hard to accomplish using other methods, Cuscuela says. According to him, Everynote tapped into a massive pool of new consumers when they translated their app to Japanese, as the country has 101 million internet users.

Another company that has reaped the benefits of employing multiple languages is the French Likebook. The service of this startup, that can create a paperback or hardback copy of the customer’s Facebook contents, is available in six different languages. This includes Brazilian Portuguese, which opened up a huge customer base for Likebook as it is the country with the second largest number of Facebook users worldwide.    

Cuscuela admits that while carrying out a multi-language strategy can be quite the challenge, it is not impossible. In fact, there are a number of ways companies can make life a little easier for themselves, he says. For example, businesses can translate their website by using a website plugin, especially in the first stages of implementing this new strategy. Moreover, having a multilingual team on board also makes things a whole lot simpler as this reduces translation costs and enables companies to receive feedback from people who are native in the languages they have on offer.

According to Cuscuela, Brazilian online booking platform ClickBus also used a great strategy for their multilingual plans. The company, that allows consumers to book buses online, plans to expand to fourteen other countries in its first year of existence.

clickbus brazilian portuguese language translation

The service was a great success in their home country, but now that German buses are no longer in the hands of the German government, great opportunities await ClickBus in Europe as well. ClickBus intends to hire local representatives for all new markets, which Cuscuela believes is a very good idea as it ensures a smoother entering of the market.

Cuscuela concludes by saying that a multilingual business strategy does not only increases a company’s chances on the global market, but also boosts the awareness for a brand.

After all, the ever changing online world means companies must find ways to stay ahead of the game. Cuscuela believes multilingual websites will soon become the norm: if companies invest in a multilingual website now, the final rewards that can be found on the international market will not be disappointing.

Katia Reed
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