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Why Translating Your Website in Hindi Makes Better Sense

Why Translating Your Website in Hindi Makes Better Sense Did you know that in 2002, an estimated 32% of Internet users were non-English speakers? With the phenomenal growth of computer usage and the spread of the net fever, especially in the third world countries, the figure would have multiplied manifold in the past 4 years. In fact, the Internet is fast becoming the basic and fundamental source and dissemination of information, purchases of goods and services worldwide. In addition, those computer and Internet users are increasingly from non-English speaking countries. This figure is constantly rising. In response, businesses have quickly become aware of the benefits of making their websites relevant to the native languages of the target audience. Marketing is all about speaking the customers’ language There is no denying that the rest of the world outside of English-speaking countries is coming online faster than never before. What is the state of affairs, and how does that impact businesses worldwide? How serious is the impact of everyone "going global"? And, more importantly, what needs to be done with our Websites to fully take advantage of this wave of non-English-speaking people coming online? Whether or not a person speaks English has really nothing to do with the responsibility of a Website to communicate in the language of the target markets. Indians read English just fine, and yet they feel comfortable to surf in their own language. They live their life in their own language, not in English. If you want to attract their attention, your site has to go where they are, and speak to them in their own language. Outside the seven countries where English is native, and India too, there is no form of marketing in any country that happens in English. If someone doesn't believe this, they should visit Europe, Asia or South America. People live their life in their own language, and your marketing better follow, whether the media is newspaper/magazine ads/articles, radio/TV, billboards... or Websites. Enter Website Translation Translating a Website is a viable answer because you then make an existing website accessible, usable and culturally suitable to your specific target audience. This requires both programming expertise and linguistic/cultural knowledge. In the majority of cases it is the lack of linguistic and cultural input that lets a website localization project down. In order to give an insight into the impact culture has on website localization the following examples depict areas in which a solid understanding of the target culture is necessary. Some very good reasons to translate your website into Hindi • One of the official languages of India, with a population of over 1 billion. Hindi has 366 million first-language speakers; additional 121 million second-language speakers. Spoken throughout northern India: Delhi; Uttar Pradesh; Rajasthan; Punjab; Madhya Pradesh; northern Bihar; Himachal Pradesh. • Hindi is also spoken in Bangladesh, Belize, Botswana, Germany, Kenya, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, UAE, United Kingdom, USA, Yemen, and Zambia. • With the growing numbers of Indans buying PC’s and Internet access available from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, English speakers will soon be in the minority when it comes to Internet use. • Results of research carried out by Nielsen-Net ratings in March 2005 described foreign internet markets as “low hanging fruit,” i.e. if you have the will and foresight there are massive revenues to be found for relatively little effort. • As Kaizad Gotla, senior analyst at Nielsen-Netratings states, “The easiest opportunities are in countries where Internet usage patterns and user/site relationships are less established. Acquiring users in markets that are currently in their growth stages will lead to a loyal user base that will pay dividends for Internet companies in the future.” • The ability to communicate to a whole new audience in their own language will undoubtedly yield results not only in a financial sense (cost efficiency) but also in terms of marketing and creating awareness of your brand, service or product. • For non-English speaking users looking for your product or service, you automatically capture their attention. • A Hindi website shows you are thinking about the customer. That little extra effort shows you have thought and cared enough about them to offer the website in their language. • For many cultures, more so in India, there is an issue of trust when it comes to buying over the Internet, especially if they feel it is in a language they are not fully proficient in. Offering them a language alternative allows the customers to feel secure • Search engines lead people to your site. In countries such as China, Japan and France, Google, Yahoo and MSN are not the default search engines. Homegrown search engines are emerging and they are proving successful because they work in native languages and are focused on the habits and needs of their users. In addition, many of the key search engines, especially Google, are developing the capacity to run searches in Hindi. Having pages of your site available in Hindi ensures maximum potential for your site being picked up in searches. Making a website in Hindi or translating the existing website does not complete the task. There are a lot of important, cultural, ethnic issues which form an essential part of the contents of the website in Hindi. Some examples, which need to be decided upon, in greater details, are mentioned below: • Images and pictures – as they carry subtle cultural intonations in them. • Symbols - as with pictures, symbols can cause problems. Icons using fingers such as an OK sign or V-sign may mean different things to different cultures. Western symbols do not always mean the same abroad. • Colors – they are also loaded with cultural meanings. • Ease of navigation - Access to certain pages is also a factor that can be considered as relevant. Culture affects everything we do, say, read, hear and think and even websites cannot escape the influence of culture. The impact of culture on the translation of a website is huge. The above few examples are literally the tip of the iceberg.

About the Author: Ostom loves languages and has 20 years experience of translation. He provides consultancy to businesses on translation, linguistic brand analysis and other language related services. Ostom also writes on travel and patent related issues. Contact for website translation from English into Hindi.

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