18 Nov 2020

Why international businesses need multi-lingual platforms

In this Guest blog, ITI Corporate member Surrey Translation Bureau explains why, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, international businesses need to translate key business platforms and documents now more than ever.

As businesses start getting back on their feet, they need to adapt to the new norms. Face-to-face networking, physical interactions with stakeholders and store visits from potential and existing customers have reduced considerably. Most companies, including your international business, have to adapt by digitising services, processes and information channels.

Offering content to your international audience in their preferred language(s) can help in sustaining and growing your business, whether it’s through increased sales, client retention or by providing essential support during this crisis. 

Here’s a look at some of the business platforms and documents that you should consider translating:

Marketing campaigns

Whether you operate in a B2B or B2C environment, your target customer is more likely to find you through online channels right now. The recent need for remote working, avoidance of large gatherings and closure of many public venues has meant that offline marketing channels have very limited exposure and therefore, impact.

Instead of exhibitions, physical mailouts and print adverts, try investing in multilingual online search, video, social and display ads, and SEO to increase traffic to your website in your target markets; run personalised email campaigns to your clients in their own languages; and get your creatives ready to download or send in several languages. With the amount of content available online, make sure your message is customised to the consumer in every way.


Your website is the online face of your business and considered a one-stop shop for all information related to it. It is vital that you keep it up to date and relevant to your customers, especially now when online traffic has jumped substantially.

From existing information about your company, products and services, to more recent updates related to the pandemic, a corporate website is the best place for allowing your customers to stay informed and for removing any element of uncertainty that the recent crisis might have brought up. With very few other communication tools available, you can't afford for your messages to be lost in translation. Get your website translated into the language(s) of the countries you operate in for business continuity and sustenance.

E-commerce platform

With most shops still struggling to open to full capacity, it’s natural that we’re witnessing a steep rise in e-commerce activities.

Capitalise on your consumer’s move from bricks-and-mortar to online and ensure a smooth customer experience (CX). This includes having your e-commerce pages and processes in the right languages and currencies. According to online payment portal Stripe, out of the top 450 European e-commerce websites, 74% of customer checkouts lacked local language translations and didn’t have the relevant payment methods for international buyers. Their findings further reveal that 9 out of 10 lost sales in Europe result from common checkout failures.

To localise the CX, businesses need to identify their target markets and translate the checkout page. They should also ensure the correct currency and payment options are available to their international customers.


An increased reliance on digital services has meant a massive surge in usage for various mobile applications. According to app store intelligence firm App Annie, use of mobile apps saw a 40% year-over-year increase in the second quarter of 2020 and reached a massive 200 billion hours in April.

Developing an app for your business will require very little investment but will bring in great results from across the globe if it offers good user experience.

Localising the app widens its reach among non-English speakers and those preferring their own languages. Careful localisation using professional translators also ensures that the app contains appropriate currencies, calendars and units.

Communication platforms

Customer portals

From questions about how your business is coping during the pandemic and any changes to your customer policies, to product-specific queries, the demand for quick access to both active and reactive information has increased. To accurately meet the specific nature of every enquiry, have your responses translated into your customers’ languages so they can easily understand your answers. This will go a long way to help client retention for your company.

Communication with international stakeholders

If you have employees overseas or international distributors and suppliers, keep them in the loop about any decisions you make at the central level that will have an impact on them. Also, provide regular information, in their preferred languages, about how the company is tackling operational and financial debacles, if any, to put their minds at ease.

As the world gets to grips with the reality of the situation, businesses need to devise and implement plans that are in line with upcoming trends and user behaviour. If your business fails to provide a tailored online customer experience, it will fall behind. 

About Surrey Translation Bureau
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Surrey Translation Bureau (STB) is an independent professional translation agency with 35 years of business experience translating specialist texts in various fields including medical, legal, technical and automotive, marketing, financial, science, agriculture, environment and sustainability.

Surrey Translation Bureau is independently certified to BS EN ISO 17100:2015, the European standard setting out the requirements for the provision of quality services by translation service providers. They have been Corporate members of ITI for over seven years.

Find STB at www.surreytranslation.co.uk or in the ITI Directory.


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