Indeed, Google statistics show that the total number of indexed pages grew from one trillion in 2008 to more than 30 trillion in 2013. Although English remains the most commonly used language among Internet users, with Chinese not far behind, 70 percent of all Internet traffic originates in non-English-speaking countries.
Customers are increasingly expecting engagement in their native language: 72 percent of internet users spend all or most of their time on sites in their own language and nine out of ten people will always opt for a native language Web site when available.
This is critical when challenged with penetrating or expanding into global markets. Put the local customer at the heart of the online experience: do your research, understand the market you’re entering and invest in content that will engage customers. When preparing content for global audiences it must be locally relevant.
Machine translation (MT) solutions can offer enterprises scalable and cost-effective options that can help automate some of these processes. Here are five keys.
1. Sentiment analysis: Brand makers need to know what customers are saying about products by region and language so they are enabled to use
that data when designing new product rollouts, adding value to existing products and solutions, or improving the customer experience. With MT, companies can better predict the customer journey
based on localized, hard facts about behaviors and buying patterns.
2. Global knowledge bases: When consumers have a question, most will first try to find information on the company's site or online. If that content is not translated, it’s difficult to find in other languages, leaving customers to try to understand English, abandon their search, or call the call center -- all of which can lead to a negative customer experience.
Using machine translation, companies can publish more of their knowledge base and support content across
languages in a shorter amount of time to enable self-service across languages.
3. Multilingual email: When a customer cannot find an answer online, email and online inquiry forms are often a welcome alternative to picking up the phone. These inquiries are typically routed to an agent that speaks the language of the customer, which can cause a delay in response due to the location of call centers and the bandwidth of agents.
Using MT, support agents can communicate with customers across multiple languages, even if they don't speak the
languages themselves. Because agents are no longer limited to a single language queue, the company can better leverage existing resources for broader coverage across regions and time zones. Customers
get their answers faster, and avoid making phone calls that drive up a company's support costs.
4. Cross-language chat: Real-time support is growing in popularity, and the use of chat for customer support is accelerating. Today, practical cost considerations force companies to limit live chat assistance to only one or two languages, which can make finding an expert that can address incoming chat inquiries across languages difficult.
Leveraging machine translation within a live chat application enables every support agent to become a multilingual
communicator. Companies can improve multilingual customer service without hiring new resources, while also improving out-of-hours coverage across geographies and languages and proactively managing
demand spikes without compromising service.
5. Global support forums: Forums are a great opportunity to extend customer support by enabling “many to many” community support. Like anything on the Web, they are available to a global audience and need to take language into account. Traditionally, forums have been segmented either by geographical location or language with very limited ability for forum visitors to interact with one another across these barriers.
Organizations must support bi-directional and multi-directional conversations, facilitating the flow of information from consumer to company and from consumer to consumer. The challenges that this presents are just as relevant in global markets as they are in domestic markets.
Machine translation can help deliver timely global content, create familiarized and relevant opportunities for customers and companies to interact, and better leverage multilingual information added by others from around the world.