Today is Safer Internet Day. The theme for this year is focused on respect and relationships online. This awareness day is being coordinated by the UK Safer Internet Centre, with over 100 countries in the Insafe/INHOPE network also taking action for Safer Internet Day.

When thinking about internet safety, it is natural to think of password security and cybercrime. As important as these are, internet safety is a much wider and more complex area. As language specialists, Albion Languages understand how not enough internet safety guidance is focused on safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology overall. Our team regularly works with companies to help them localise their website and other online offerings. In this blog, we look at website localisation – the process of developing website content to ensure it is mindful of culture, language and usage. This makes it possible to offer the most useful and relevant experience for users – and evaluate the effect on safe internet usage.

Website localisation; who does it well?

When you have the international reputation and financial prowess of a company like Amazon, you can afford to cater to multiple languages. At the time of writing, Amazon is accessible in a staggering 71 languages other than English. By successfully localising their famous website into languages such as French, Spanish and Chinese, the company not only extends its potential customer base, but also allows customers to feel safe and secure while browsing the site, which in turn encourages further purchases. It’s a win-win situation.

A website the size of Amazon’s also benefits from being familiar and easily recognisable, which can serve to keep the customer journey on track. Once a visitor lands on the website, they will see the colours, logo, website layout and know they’re on a trusted Amazon site. Some straightforward cultural localisations can build further upon this positive first impression.

SME struggles

Smaller businesses can sometimes underestimate the effect of website localisation and that’s fully understandable. If a small, independent business had an e-commerce website built in lockdown to try to keep their business afloat, they might not have thought about – or had the money to invest in –catering to international customers, navigating language barriers or investigating and understanding cultural sensitivities.

For the end user, navigating on a website that hasn’t been adapted to your language can be a challenge, but it can be unavoidable. If you want to purchase something that is only available from that specific store, you might be inclined to take the risk. But the risks could entail you receiving the wrong product, paying too much or worse.

Translating the stats

There is a major imbalance in languages in the real world compared to languages supported online. A 2019 study found that, even though Chinese has the most first language speakers in the world with over 1.2bn speakers, Chinese content websites only make up for 1.7% of the world wide web.

English is by far the most represented website language, with 54% of websites featuring English text, even though there are only 378 million first language English speakers in the world. Although there are over 800 million more Chinese first language speakers, there are more than 31 times the number of English content websites.

A study by Common Sense Advisory highlighted the effect that language translation has on global customers. This research found that 40% of global customers won’t buy from a website if it is in another language, with 65% of customers saying they would prefer the website to be in their language even if it was poorly translated.

How Albion can support you

We have a dedicated team of website localisation specialists who can work with you to ascertain your business objectives and decide on the best route forward when localising your website content. This empowers your business to reach more customers and provide a safe browsing experience. To find out more about website localisation and how it can benefit your business, get in touch with a member of our team.