Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: Why Language Matters 
on Global Websites




Donald A. DePalma, Ph.D.
Chief Research Officer       ...
About Lionbridge



       Global Scale                                                 Market Leadership
         4,600 e...
Executive summary 

           The survey crossed three continents 
           Most people prefer buying in their own lang...
Global consumer survey details

        Usual targets: France, 
        Germany, Japan, and Spain 
        Germany, Japan,...
English‐language sites attract foreign visitors 




Company confidential – distribution prohibited without permission
English‐language sites attract foreign visitors
International visitors spend more time at sites in their 
    language 




Company confidential – distribution prohibited...
Consumers prefer buying from sites
    in their language 




Company confidential – distribution prohibited without permi...
Consumers prefer buying from sites in their own language




Company confidential – distribution prohibited without permis...
Language preferences do vary by what consumers are 
buying
International buyers almost evenly split on home‐
language purchases 




Company confidential – distribution prohibited w...
International buyers almost evenly split 
on home‐language purchases 
Most consumers feel discomfort in other languages, but 
may still buy 
All other
things being equal, 
things being eq al
consumers prefer 
buying
in their own 
language 
language
All other 
things being 
equal, consume
prefer buying 
in their own 
language 
Mother tongue content becomes more important over 
product life cycle 
Respondents prefer bad quality in their own language over 
English‐language content
Respondents prefer bad quality in their own language 
over English‐language content
More than half of all visitors sometimes turn to machine 
translation 
Brand trumps language, but language beats a lower price 
Brand trumps language, but language beats a lower price –
more in some countries than others




Company confidential – di...
The price‐language‐brand hierarchy of needs
Why foreign visitors
abandon websites 
On the global web, language and localization matter more 
    than ever 




Company confidential – distribution prohibite...
If global markets interest you, then it’s time to localize your 
    websites
           Consumers demand it.
           C...
Bibliography

           Quarterly Business Confidence surveys
           “Localization Matters” (Nov08)
           “Websi...
Knowledge Center

                                                                          www.lionbridge.com
           ...
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Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: Why Language Matters on Global Websites

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Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: Why Language Matters on Global Websites

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Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: Why Language Matters on Global Websites

  1. 1. Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: Why Language Matters  on Global Websites Donald A. DePalma, Ph.D. Chief Research Officer Copyright © 2009 by Common Sense Advisory, Inc.
  2. 2. About Lionbridge Global Scale Market Leadership 4,600 employees 26 countries Leader in $14B services industry • Global network of 25,000 translators • Translation and adaptation of products and content for international markets Hosted Technology Global Clients Web-based language technology W bb dl t h l Recurring relationships with 500+ platform global clients • Enhances competitive advantage • 80% of revenue comes from recurring clients • Drives efficiency • 12 of the Fortune 20 companies are client Company confidential – distribution prohibited without permission
  3. 3. Executive summary  The survey crossed three continents  Most people prefer buying in their own language  Language significantly influenced more important purchases  It takes more than local language to sell something  Global brands trump language and price  Company confidential – distribution prohibited without permission
  4. 4. Global consumer survey details Usual targets: France,  Germany, Japan, and Spain  Germany, Japan, and Spain (Most of FIGS  + J of CCJK) Attractive developing  markets: Brazil, China, and  Russia (BRIC) An emerging market with  ties to traditional  localization markets:  Turkey k Company confidential – distribution prohibited without permission
  5. 5. English‐language sites attract foreign visitors  Company confidential – distribution prohibited without permission
  6. 6. English‐language sites attract foreign visitors
  7. 7. International visitors spend more time at sites in their  language  Company confidential – distribution prohibited without permission
  8. 8. Consumers prefer buying from sites in their language  Company confidential – distribution prohibited without permission
  9. 9. Consumers prefer buying from sites in their own language Company confidential – distribution prohibited without permission
  10. 10. Language preferences do vary by what consumers are  buying
  11. 11. International buyers almost evenly split on home‐ language purchases  Company confidential – distribution prohibited without permission
  12. 12. International buyers almost evenly split  on home‐language purchases 
  13. 13. Most consumers feel discomfort in other languages, but  may still buy 
  14. 14. All other things being equal,  things being eq al consumers prefer  buying in their own  language  language
  15. 15. All other  things being  equal, consume prefer buying  in their own  language 
  16. 16. Mother tongue content becomes more important over  product life cycle 
  17. 17. Respondents prefer bad quality in their own language over  English‐language content
  18. 18. Respondents prefer bad quality in their own language  over English‐language content
  19. 19. More than half of all visitors sometimes turn to machine  translation 
  20. 20. Brand trumps language, but language beats a lower price 
  21. 21. Brand trumps language, but language beats a lower price – more in some countries than others Company confidential – distribution prohibited without permission
  22. 22. The price‐language‐brand hierarchy of needs
  23. 23. Why foreign visitors abandon websites 
  24. 24. On the global web, language and localization matter more  than ever  Company confidential – distribution prohibited without permission
  25. 25. If global markets interest you, then it’s time to localize your  websites Consumers demand it. Competitors will push their own local website initiatives. The law sometimes requires it. Your ability to market and sell grows with localization.  Company confidential – distribution prohibited without permission
  26. 26. Bibliography Quarterly Business Confidence surveys “Localization Matters” (Nov08) “Website Globalization: The Availability Quotient” (Jan08) “On the Web, Some Countries Matter More than Others” (Sep07) “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy” (Sep06) “Developing Products for Global Markets” (Jun06) “Beggars at the Globalization Banquet” (Nov02) “Beggars at the Globalization Banquet” (Nov02) Company confidential – distribution prohibited without permission
  27. 27. Knowledge Center www.lionbridge.com Download White Papers Download White Papers • Building Stronger Brands Around the World: A Guide  to Effective Global Marketing • Strengthening Global Brands: Key Steps for  Meaningful Communications around the World • Building a Global Web Strategy: Best Practices for  Developing your International Online Brand • Machine Translation: Saving Time Lowering Costs Machine Translation: Saving Time, Lowering Costs,  and Improving Services View Webinars • Localization 2.0  • The Art and Science of Global Navigation • The Best Global Web Sites (and Why) Company confidential – distribution prohibited without permission

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