Does it make sense to have a multilingual website?

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In a digitally hyper-connected world, the internet has become the main ally to get products and services from anywhere in the world in a matter of days or hours.

Nowadays it is easier than ever to reach any country in the world and the main window is websites. There are huge opportunities to increase revenues and profits, but to maximise reach, companies and organisations need to think beyond communicating only in the native language of their country. There is no reason to limit yourself to local audiences if the barrier is purely linguistic.

Offering the contents of a website in different languages allows millions of people to access and understand any product as if the company were local.

So… What does a multilingual website do?

A multilingual website will help you reach a much wider audience, expand your customer base and achieve a higher volume of sales. Moreover, multilingual websites improve communication – English may still dominate the web, but that does not mean that everyone wants to shop on English-speaking websites. Nowadays, Internet users are more willing to spend twice as much time on a website if it is in their mother tongue. In addition, 54% of online customers abandon the purchase on the eCommerce platform’s checkout page. There are several reasons, but among them is that the website is not in their native language.

To better understand why a multilingual website helps us to reach a wider audience, take a look at this graph:

This graph shows that more than half of all internet users come from Asia. When browsing online, users must also take into account the language in which they are searching, and for this reason the following table shows the most commonly used languages on the Internet.

Source: Internet World Stats

This percentage shows how little penetration a Spanish or English-only website achieves in the digital sector. Adding languages other than those listed in the top ten can help increase your customer base. Just thinking about this area of interest should be reason enough to consider translating your website into several languages.

However, in order for a multilingual website to look good, several aspects must be taken into account. As well as presenting one language per page, having content in more than one language on a single web page can be confusing for users and should be avoided. Create separate pages for each language, allowing users to easily switch between languages without having to go through the main page. Provide clearly labelled links between pages of content in different languages so that users can make their own decision on which language they prefer.