We’ve touched upon a lot of subjects when it comes to translation and localization as enablers of your business global growth.

Once you’ve done your research, planned the execution process of your localization project, and managed to finalize it, you can say that you know your stuff. Now, what about translation ROI?

You need to remember that measuring performance and planning further global conquests go hand-in-hand. That’s why you should know how to calculate a translation ROI. In this blog, we’ll explain how to do this properly.

#1. Define performance indicators

Any ROI (Return of Investment) calculation for localization will depend on what matters most to your business. However, content for translation needs also to be localized to fit the cultural aspects of your target market. If you do this properly, it will have a very positive impact on and give a great user experience to your customers.

The main thing to bear in mind is that translating your content into a specific language and measuring the revenue is simply not enough. You will first need to analyze your target audience, website performance, and marketing campaigns – all of the resources that you’ve invested in and expect a return from.

#2. Determine what kind of content you want to localize

The first step in successful localization is determining the purpose of the content. Once you’ve established this and the target audience, you will be able to choose the right translation service as well.

Localization costs are based on the content volume that you translate and localize. Carefully analyze which content truly needs to be translated for which target markets. To find out how to do a proper research on target markets, read our article here.

#3. Choose the translation approach

Note that if you are translating simple marketing materials, catalogues and e-commerce websites, machine translation may be more than enough. This approach saves a lot of your time and money because after the translation project is created, your whole content is pre-translated by machine translation and edited by a human translator to make sure everything is translated correctly.

However, professional technical documentation or more complex manuals should be translated fully by a human translator and additionally reviewed by a proofreader. This process guarantees the highest quality level of translation but is also pricier than the MT + Human Review approach.

Remember, you need to have an idea about the translation quality level your content needs to have and what type of translation is needed. From there, you can start calculating the costs of translation.

#4. Calculate translation cost savings

When the editing of a machine translation is just not cost-effective, using a professional human translator instead may be a better option for you. This will enable you to foresee possible translation mistakes and add additional reviewing costs ahead of time.

Note that the costs of poor quality translations, manual processes, and project management can be reduced by using the right TMS (Translation Management System).

#5. Put some numbers together

Once you’ve already managed to calculate the costs of your translation project and establish performance indicators, you can put them together to actually measure your translation ROI. The most important thing is to keep it simple and go for a more detailed analysis over time, and never the opposite.

Your initial Translation ROI KPIs can consist of:

  • Traffic by country
  • Traffic by language
  • Number of new customers
  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per conversion
  • Translation cost vs revenue

Starting with a comparison of these numbers, you’ll be able to obtain an initial overview of the translation ROI of your project. Keep in mind that when the number of translations and target market increase, the translation ROI increases as well!

Bonus: Translation ROI for websites

It’s definitely easier to determine translation effectiveness and ROI for websites. The availability of analytics, page views, likes, and shares makes it much easier to determine the performance indicators that you are most interested in.

It’s also pretty easy to calculate the total cost of website translation, given that the majority of advanced translation platforms give you the cost estimation at the very beginning, depending on the translation approach. If you want to read more about how much website translation should cost, check out our post on it here.