How To Capture African Market Through Website Translation

Image of African languages
KL Translations

With very many businesses entering the market every day, doing business in the current global marketplace is tightening and toughening every day and night.  It means the business community has to do more with their marketing techniques so as to capture a wide segment of the market.

Being the second largest and populous continent in the world, Africa is one of such lucrative markets in the world that the businesses should be targeting.  Despite the fact that most of the African countries are able to speak and read English, it is very clear that Africans have started appreciating their languages and cultures as primary than other foreign languages.

The African countries are beginning to look at foreign languages as another form of neocolonialism and therefore emphasis are being taken to strengthen the native languages in most of the African countries. For example in Somalia of recent the business community was forced to raise down all signs written in English and replace them with those written in Somali language. According to Abdul Omar Xalane, a spokesman for Mogadishu Municipality, the move was aimed at increasing the use of the Somali language as compared to other languages in Somalia.  

Why website translation into African languages will benefit your business

It is very clear that despite of being the most undeveloped continent in the world, Africa’s purchasing ability has increased significantly over years.  The internet penetration into Africa has seen many African people consult Google and other search engines on daily basis. Besides looking for informative content, most of the African population especially the young consult search engines in search for products and services to buy online. This is due to the fact that most the modern services and products that the Africans are looking for rarely exist in the continent and if they do, they are very expensive as compared to buying online from either Europe, Asia or America.

The number of online shipments to Africa from giant online shopping sites such as Amazon, EBay, Walmart to name but a few keeps increasing every day and night. It therefore means that the Africans are appreciating making purchases online to save time and some cash. This is the same reason as to why Africa may be a potential marketplace for your products and or services.

Translating your business website into African languages will be of great advantage to you as compared to your competitors who may be offering their services or products in English language. This is because your business will be communicating directly to the potential clients in the language that they understand best.

Africa is very wide will be possible for me to translate my website into all African languages?

Africa is the second largest continent in the world and it is the top most multi-lingual contents worldwide. The continent has 54 countries each having a multitude of languages spoken. For business intending to penetrate into African markets, it is very important to identify which particular countries in Africa are the main targets and therefore identify the most popular languages spoken in them. This will help in localizing your business to suit a specific target market.

You could also begin with the most popular and widely used languages in the continent. Some of them include Arabic, Somali, Swahili, Yoruba, Berber, Oromo, Igbo, Hausa, Afrikaans, Fulani, and Amharic among others. But the best alternative would be targeting countries and their specific languages.

The next question that could be in your mind is “Which country in Africa is suitable to target?” there may be no exact answer for this particular question as it all depends on the product or service your business is offering to the market. I may say most if not African countries these days have potential to make good purchases online.

What should be translated on my business website?

A website these days is a core of any business whether operating online or serving clients directly.  A website is an engine that virtually carries all the information concerning your business. Potential clients will base on the information provided on your website to determine whether to drop an inquiry or bounce to another website. Translating your website will help you tap new lucrative markets and increase on the sales volumes and definitely profits to your business. This is because clients who will find information provided in their languages have high chances of stopping by and definitely drop in an inquiry to find out more about your service / product.

The reason is, besides high level of understanding, the appreciation of language and culture increases chances of dealing with a client as your business makes him feel at home. You should therefore have the entire website translated meaning all the content you may have on you website may require to be translated. This includes news articles, commercial content, blog articles, etc.

How to translate your website into African languages

Translating a website into African languages is very simple. I know there are website templates which have inbuilt translation software but it is highly not recommended to use such software to translate your website content. This is because translating a website goes beyond converting text from one language to another. It means completely adapting and localizing the content to suit the culture and norms of the target market which cannot be done by translation software. It is only humans who can help you localize you website.

Secondly translation software cover a few languages especially they concentrate on European languages and very few of African languages. Google translate for example handles about 90 languages globally yet Africa alone has over 1000 languages.

You could therefore search and identify professional translators of the target language to help you translate and localize your website. But this is also tricky because you may have limit knowledge on the subject matter and therefore your choice of a translator may be wrong.

It is highly recommended that you look for a professional translation agency located either in the country in which the target language is spoken from or even one in your country will still be able to find a suitable translator for you. This is because translation agencies are connected globally and have a good understanding concerning translation and localization work.

While providing their translation services, translation companies always use qualified and experienced translators because they have a skill to identify them of which you as an individual may not be able to do. These companies also have CVs and lists of translators per country in their databases as they deal with them on regular basis. They know exactly who is better for which field and language. They will help you allocate your project to an expert who do the best job for you.

Translation companies also partner between themselves. Meaning a translation company in your country can easily outsource your translation work to the domestic company in the country where your target language is spoken. That is in case they don’t have a specific translator there. 

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