How Do You Calculate Website Translation ROI?
You could do more harm to your business by translating your site and not supporting it than by just leaving it in English in the first place. Your brand, your goodwill, and your reputation are at stake. And this is even more important once you’ve expanded into foreign markets.
So what investments do you need to localize your website, and does the payoff make it worthwhile? That seems to be the million dollar question.
The first thing you need is a baseline which sets the standard by which your options can be measured against. Without a baseline, ROI is meaningless. Don’t get complicated, a simple measurement within a given time period will suffice.
For example, you could choose:
- revenue – what will be the projected revenue for the coming year if we do not translate our site?
- new membership – what will be the expected number of new members without translation?
- new support tickets – what will be the expected number of new support tickets if we do not translate?
- tweets – what will be the number of tweets we expect without translation?
- you get the idea, anything that you want to use as one of the deciding factors based on your site/products/services.
Once you have your baseline you can apply your translation expectations to it.
The question you are trying to answer, without the fancy corp speak, is ‘am I going to make money, and how long and how much will it take’?
The following formula is a simplistic method for trying to answer this question. You will notice that a few of the required numbers are pretty subjective. That’s okay. The point of this is to just help with decision making.
Now, the formula:
ROI = (E * M) + (L * M) – T/ T
E = Projected net revenue for the coming year per language.
M = Number of markets you are translating into. This assumes each market is equal. To be more precise simply add each individual ‘E’.
L = Leverage and reuse savings you realize from content reuse. Very hard to calculate but a good starting point is the TM savings from your word count analysis. Take the total cost without repetition and fuzzy, subtract the reps and fuzzy matches, and you get the reuse savings. We can sample calculate this at about 10% of the total cost of translation.
T = Total costs of translation and localization including:
- The project management necessary to plan, prep, launch, and monitor the site translation throughout the given year.
- The cost of translation (TEP) if you already know it.
- The cost of engineering for your site, graphics, data, reprogramming, traffic SEO.
- The cost of quality testing.
- The cost of launching the site in the target languages, including initial marketing, etc.
- The cost of supporting the site for the initial year.
- And don’t forget opportunity cost of projects that have to be put on side while this is completed. This one is a little harder to calculate and understandable if you leave it out, but should be considered.
Simple Example Translation ROI
Let’s start with the baseline. For this example, let’s say revenue is $100,000 for our untranslated site. We estimate the following values for
Next, let’s determine the sample variables.
E = A modest $25,000.
M = 4; French, Italian, German, and Spanish
L = A conservative $5,000
T = Total cost for the year is say an overestimated $75,000. (really, think about the true costs, maybe $10,000?)
ROI = (25k *4) + ($5k * 4) – $75K/$75K
Did I do my math right? 60%! are you kidding me? Show me another fairly simple process where you can get more than 20%, let alone 60%. That is for year one, after that your development costs fall off and your ROI should skyrocket.
Does that answer your question? Does that justify your investment in translation; in this site?