How to measure the ROI of translation services: 4 simple steps

If you’re running a business that caters to clientele with different primary languages, you likely have various client-facing collateral that you want to make available in the languages your customers speak. But when you seek out translation services, how do you know how they’re impacting your bottom line? Keep reading to understand how to measure the Return on Investment of the translation services your company acquires.

What’s the value of translation services?

Professional translation services make a big difference in how your brand is perceived by customers with a different primary language. If your website can only be translated by Google, for example, consumers who don’t speak another language may feel less valued, and seek out another company that caters more to them. In fact…

67% of consumers say it’s important for brands to provide them with personalized experiences.

A 2019 study by Nosto (FKA Stackla)

In some instances, failure to translate your customer-facing collateral can even lead to serious consequences. For example, in Quebec, Canada, you may face legal repercussions if your public-facing content is not in the French language. So if you’re an English-run business, you’ll need to seek out translation services to ensure you’re meeting the legal requirements as a Quebec business.

Looking for a trusted translation partner? Rossion works closely with your team to deliver quality localized content on time and budget. Discover why many Canadian brands rely on Rossion for their translation needs.

4 Steps to measure the ROI of translation services

Alright, so the value of translation is clear — but how do you know you’re getting the Return on Investment (ROI) you expect of your translation services? It starts with setting clear goals for what you expect to get out of your translation services, and then defining how you’ll measure the success of those goals.

1. Understand your motivation

First, clarify why you’re soliciting translation services in the first place. You might be trying to break into a new market, which requires you to present your organization in a new language. Or you might be trying to double-down your localization efforts, for example in a Canadian context of presenting your brand in both official languages.

2. Set clear SMART goals

A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound. A clear understanding of your motivation will help you define goals that make sense in the context of your organization.

In the context of translation services, your SMART goals might be something like…

  • Increase website traffic to French-language pages by 10% month-over-month for the first 6 months after going live.
  • Reduce churn from French-speaking clients by 5% in the next year.
  • Improve customer success rates from non-English clients by 5% in the next 3 months, and 10% in the next 6 months.

3. Define how you’ll measure success

Once you’ve defined the desired outcome from your translation services, you’ll need to have some predefined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to benchmark and measure your goals. Some KPIs that might make sense to look at in relation to your translation goals are:

  • Website traffic from specific locations
  • Churn rates within certain customer profiles
  • Advertising performance in translated languages
  • Customer success rates among secondary language clientele
  • Conversion rates on translated web pages or landing pages
  • Revenue from target customer demographics

4. Contextualize your results

Finally, it’s important to ground your results in something. This is the investment part of the ROI calculation. You’ve monitored your return — how does it measure up to the investment? To contextualize the results of your translation services, take a look at 3 key factors of your investment:

  1. Time: How much time did you and your team put into sourcing, briefing, and exchanging with your translation service provider?
  2. Effort: What level of effort was required for ongoing communications and support for your translation service provider?
  3. Cost: What was the total cost of your translation services? You might include internal costs in this measure, like salaries of the team members involved in the project.

Key takeaways: Maximizing the ROI of translation services

Ideally, you’ll get a sense of how to measure the ROI of your translation services before you seek them out. This way, you’ll be well-prepared to measure and monitor their impact. But either way, keep these main takeaways in mind to get the most out of your translation services:

  • Clarify the end result you’re hoping to achieve through soliciting translation services.
  • Set more specific goals that align with your higher-level ambitions, and define the KPIs to track those goals.
  • Consider how you’ll contextualize your results to measure the return against the investment.