How to measure translation ROI

Posted by Marlies De Bonte on Dec 10, 2020 3:38:43 PM

Although translation is one of the oldest professions in the world, it’s often a very touchy subject to discuss with companies. Stakeholders are having a hard time justifying the costs to their managers, arguing it’s almost impossible to calculate the ROI of translation/localization. In this article I’ll focus on web translation. I'll explain why translation should be seen as an investment and how to calculate the ROI. 




In today’s fast-paced business world standing out from the competition is more important than ever. If you want to reach a global audience, translating your website/webshop is a must. It makes you look trustworthy and makes your customers feel at home. But above all, it gives you a competitive advantage. After all, 7 out of 10 consumers are more likely to buy a product if the related content is available in their native language.


It’s of course wise to let the cobbler stick to his last and hire professionals for the translation/localisation work if you want to gain your (potential) customer’s trust. Nothing is a faster ticket to bad customer experience than a badly translated website. With that in mind, let’s have a look at how to justify the translation costs and measure translation ROI.


I like to compare website translation with digital marketing. Website translation should always be part of a bigger (digital) marketing strategy. You will largely use the same key performance indicators (KPIs) as well. And just as it is for digital marketing, translation ROI isn’t reached overnight. Sometimes you’ll see an impact right away, often you’ll have to wait.
In my opinion there are 3 main KPIs to monitor when measuring translation ROI: Traffic, conversion and revenue



One of the first things you should notice when translating your website is an increased amount of traffic to your website.  Search engines will now index your new content and match it with queries in the target languages. People will therefor start finding those new pages. Tools like Google Analytics will help you keep track of the amount of traffic coming to your website. You’ll also be able to see if more traffic is coming from the new region(s) you’re targeting and which landing pages attract most traffic.


Conversion rate

Driving more traffic to your website is of course one thing (either organically with translated content or with targeted ads). Turning those visitors into paid customers is another. 

Just like with your ‘source’ campaigns you might need to play around with your call-to-actions in the target languages as well, as there can always be cultural differences. 
You will see, though, that people will be more likely to perform the required action on your website if the content is available in their native language.



Is your revenue increasing after translating your website and is the increased revenue (more than) sufficient to cover the translation costs? If you've invested in high quality translations, the answer should be yes. As already mentioned before, be patient to see the effect on the revenue. 

Scared to dive in right away? You can always perform a test, starting with the translation of a few landing pages before moving forward with translating the rest of your site. That will give you the opportunity to assess the effects and make forecasts. 


Didn't I forget something?

There's one last KPI I didn't mention before: customer satisfaction. Removing that language barrier is another step in making the buying process easy for your customers. An easy buying process (combined with great customer service of course) will result in customer satisfaction and ultimately boost the previously mentioned KPIs. 


Quality is key

I've mentioned before that translations need to be of good quality in order to obtain good results. Make sure you choose a translation provider who is transparent and has an open communication line. Starting with a few landing pages to translate is always a good way to see if your provider is open to feedback and if the cooperation runs smoothly. 
Also bear in mind that a good translation provider will host a translation memory for you, securely storing all translations to generate reductions and to speed up the process when updating your content in the future. 


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Topics: Website localisation