One of the problems of writing blogs about translation and interpreting is that, not unreasonably, we can be accused of “well, you would say that, wouldn’t you…”

I can’t deny that, but it doesn’t make what we write untrue.  Take, for example, the report last month, from Stripe, the online payment portal, which found that the most common error in European e-commerce was, wait for it, “the lack of translation.”

The study, entitled The State of European Checkouts in 2020, shows that 58% of customer checkouts “had at least three basic errors, adding unnecessary friction for customers and complicating the checkout process.” More specifically, 90% of lost sales resulted from failures on the checkout page and the most common error was that nearly three-quarters (74%) of checkouts did not have local language translations. This meant that when customers located elsewhere in Europe attempted to make an online purchase they failed to do so. The problem, in simple terms, is that these sites do not offer payment options for international customers, with Spanish checkouts the least likely to be localised for other European markets.  Apparently, not one of the Spanish checkouts Stripe analysed was translated into a local language during checkout!  In contrast, the country where checkouts were most likely to be translated into other languages was the Netherlands, although even there these lacked local payment options.

Whether online or offline, the principle is the same.  If you don’t translate your checkout/buying process into the language of your customers, you’ll lose sales from countries where you may actually have lots of potential revenue. With the Covid crisis leading to more and more businesses going online every day, this is something you need to take on board if you want to reach overseas markets. Start by thinking about the countries where you would like to sell your products/services and then localise the experience by translating (at the very least) the checkout page.

Or, in other words, don’t just take my word for it. Poor, or non-existent, translation will cost you money! Get in touch with me today and start to make up for those lost sales.

Fiona Woodford, Global Connects