European web surfers frustrated by lack of native language content
Over half of all European web surfers use a language other than their own when online, according to new EU research, highlighting the importance of investment in online translation tools and offering content in a range of languages. The pan-EU Eurobarometer found that 44 per cent of online users in the region feel they are missing out because web pages are not in a language that they understand, and only 18 per cent actually buy online in a foreign language, representing a missed opportunity for web firms.
“If we are serious about making every European digital, we need to make sure that they can understand the web content they want,” said Digital Agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes.
Trenton Moss, director at web consultancy Webcredible, argued that language expansion has to be a key factor if firms want to extend their global reach, but warned that it is “not only about translating labels and content”. People are often frustrated, for example, by web sites which claim to be available in multiple languages but actually have just a few pages translated, he explained. “It should be indicated whether the full site can be translated or if it is only specific pages. But generally, if web sites offer content in multiple languages, it should as a minimum cover the most popular content,” Moss said.
“In addition, web sites may contain country-specific content which doesn’t make sense to offer in multiple languages, and this should always be kept in mind when making translation decisions.”