5 benefits of hiring a bilingual employee

Bilingual employees offer innumerable benefits to your business. Many scientific studies have found that people who can speak more than one language enhance the workplace for others, as these individuals are often skilled multitaskers with impressive communication skills. 

Companies looking to hone their business globalization efforts should hire employees with diverse language skills, as these workers can not only assist with picking the best localization services to adapt website content, but they can also make the workplace much more productive for others in the company.

"70 percent of employers believe Spanish-speaking skills will be highly sought after in the next decade."

A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Phoenix Research Institute found that demand for bilingual employees is expected to rise over the next ten years, with 70 percent of employers predicting Spanish-speaking skills will be highly sought after and 42 percent believing Chinese-speaking skills will be popular among job candidates.

But bilingual employees offer a wealth of benefits that extend beyond mere language acquisition. Consider the following next time you are assessing the skills of potential bilingual workers.

1. He or she can help you reach international consumers
Bilingual employees can be a valuable resource, whether they speak the language of the region you're targeting or not. Those who have grown up speaking two or more languages understand how complicated communication between two cultures can be, including knowing which areas require sensitivity and which call for being stern. 

When it comes to generating content that is consumer-facing, bilingual individuals can help pinpoint which regions are more likely to interact with geotargeted posts and graphics. For example, after posting to social networks set up in a different language, your bilingual workers can read comments to assess how people are reacting to certain posts and help your business examine how to best move forward. This presents an exciting opportunity for your business, as researchers at the Nieman Journalism Lab found that geotargeted posts are six times more successful than regular ones.

2. Localization becomes a breeze
The same can be said about how well your website and social networks are localized to individual regions. Using localization services allows you to translate longform content or website pages in a different language, all while keeping regional preferences and buying behaviors in mind. Your bilingual staff member can act as the liaison for your company, assessing how well the localization process went and if there are any additional site features that should be adapted for particular regions.

In addition, employees who speak the language of the region you're hoping to target can help with the more specific facets of localizing your website, such as working with a team to develop a regional search engine optimization plan and providing firsthand feedback regarding features on the site.

Geotargeting your website content is critical for <a  data-cke-saved-href=Geotargeting your website content is critical for business globalization efforts.

3. You have a multilingual proofreader on staff
Unless you have hired a bilingual staff member specifically to write and translate content across several languages, he or she likely will not have the time to create all new website copy while also performing the responsibilities of his or her position. However, after investing in professional translation services to accurately adapt your content, you may be able to set aside time for your bilingual employee to review the company's work. This individual can view the copy through the eyes of a local, spotting grammatical or factual errors that may impede a global consumer from trusting your brand. 

The same sentiment extends far beyond mere website copy. Having a second pair of eyes to review legal documents, contracts or packaging that any international consumer would view is a great way to ensure your copy is error-free, helping your brand establish itself as both trustworthy and reputable in the eyes of international buyers.

4. Bilingual employees are better multitaskers
Comprehending the intricacies of two separate languages requires a significant amount of brainpower and as a result, many bilingual individuals are excellent multitaskers. According to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, people who speak more than one language have a much easier time switching between two tasks than those who only speak one. Researchers asked bilingual and monolingual children to complete a series of computer tasks that assessed their ability to juggle moving between different questions. They found that multilingual children could change more quickly than those who only spoke one language, a clear indication of their superior multitasking skills, suggested Peggy McCardle, Ph.D., chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch at the NIH National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.  

"In simplest terms, the switching task is an indicator of the ability to multi-task," McCardle explained. "Bilinguals have two sets of language rules in mind, and their brains apparently are wired to toggle back and forth between them depending on the circumstances."

The ability to multitask is often highly sought after in the workplace, as corporate environments are constantly in flux. Employees who can both perform their duties while assisting with foreign language translation efforts can have a profound impact on how well your business functions each day.

"Bilingual employees may conduct tasks quickly and more efficiently than other workers."

5. These workers have excellent communication and listening skills
Northwestern University conducted a study that yielded similar results, discovering the cognitive benefits of bilingual individuals extended beyond multitasking. Researchers found that people who spoke several languages could process information more quickly and efficiently than those who only knew one. Viorica Marian, lead author of the study and professor in the university's School of Communication, noted that the cognitive benefits stemmed from the fact that bilingual individuals have become accustomed to working the muscles of their brains. 

"Bilinguals are always giving the green light to one language and red to another," Marian said. "When you have to do that all the time, you get really good at inhibiting the words you don't need."

This ability to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information allows these individuals to hone their internal processing skills, making them ideal workers for any company.

Who’s going global this week?

Corporate executives recognize how valuable business globalization can be for companies looking to attract a wider range of international consumers. The global market continues to expand, allowing businesses both large and small the opportunity to gain new consumers across the world.

Many companies have paved the way for global business expansion, allowing corporations the chance to view successful international ventures before undertaking one of their own. Several businesses recently announced their plans to expand globally in the next several years, pioneering the way for other companies that wish to follow in their footsteps. 

Netflix set to expand globally over next two years
Wildly popular video streaming service Netflix remains one of the most well-known and successful companies in the United States. The business is expected to make a highly anticipated move into the international market, offering its services to consumers in six different countries across Europe, including Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Thanks in part to the move into international territory, the company now serves more than 57 million consumers across the world. 

@netflixusImage via Instagram, @netflix

The company has no plans to stop expanding anytime soon. In a report released to Netflix shareholders, the company's leadership team explained that it would soon begin operations in New Zealand and Australia, and that later in the year it would announce several more countries as part of its global expansion plan.

Restaurant service app Zomato to begin operations in India
Zomato is a mobile app that allows people to discover local restaurants in 19 different countries across the globe. The brand recently acquired Urbanspoon, a U.S.-based app that offers similar features for users. In the next several weeks, Zomato plans to begin operations in India, where it will work with nearly 2,000 restaurants to provide recommendations for people living in the region. 

Localization remains a top priority for company executives. The site itself can be viewed in several different languages, and it's likely the business invested in app translation to get the details right during the process. With a consumer base of 35 million and counting, the business will continue to find ways to best serve its existing customers while targeting potential ones living in different countries. 

"Deezer will expand to more than 150 countries in March."

Music streaming service Deezer expands across the globe
Deezer, a music streaming service that launched May 2014, announced it would offer its services to users in more than 150 countries, making it the largest global streaming service on the market. The expansion takes place March 19, so users in Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific will have access to more than 35 million songs in the service. 

The company has seen significant success since it first launched. In just under a year, it has reached more than 16 million users, a number that will continue to climb as its international base grows along with new services. As the company develops its materials geared toward global consumers, it will need to place business language localization toward the top of its priority list to ensure users can navigate through pages.

Which social networks are best for international audiences?

Business globalization requires that small-business owners seek various ways to communicate with consumers living in different countries. As you begin to develop your internationalization strategy, it's important that you take a deeper look at your social networks and how each site may help your global endeavors.

Your brand should already be represented on popular sites like Facebook and Twitter, but when targeting audiences outside of the U.S., there are many other factors to consider when developing social media profiles. Regardless of which network your company chooses to join, content should be localized to the specific region, meaning features and language should be adapted for each page to best reach consumers in targeted countries.

But which sites are best for your business? Billions of people across the world have already joined the most noteworthy networks, but depending on which segment of the population you're trying to reach, some may be more effective than others.

"82.4 percent of Facebook users live outside the U.S."

1. Facebook: Largest online international audience
There's no contesting just how far-reaching Facebook is. With more than 1.39 billion active monthly users, Facebook remains comfortably planted in its throne as King of the Social Networks. While a large portion of Americans have Facebook profiles, the site has a pretty significant global pull as well, noting that 82.4 percent of its daily users live outside the U.S. and Canada. The company currently has offices in more than 35 international cities, including Paris, Tokyo and Auckland, ensuring that any visitors from other countries have access to the same features as users in the U.S.

This site is ideal for business owners looking to target global consumers, as it permits people to create pages in many different languages to best reach audiences outside the U.S. Maintaining an international Facebook page is equally as important as building one, as your consumers will expect customized content and information pertinent to their regions. Localization services can help you initially develop these pages, providing accurate translation and expert recommendations for moving forward with postings.

2. Twitter: Most effective for mobile marketing
Twitter may not have the sheer volume of users that Facebook does, but the site is wildly popular among those with mobile devices. In fact, 80 percent of the site's daily visitors come from mobile usage, highlighting a very large opportunity for small-business owners looking to target people via mobile marketing. 

Similar to Facebook, businesses can create separate pages geared toward international consumers in different regions. Twitter noted that 77 percent of its users live outside of the U.S., highlighting an important need for sites that are geared toward this expanding virtual audience. This site is an invaluable tool when it comes to customer support, in particular. Establishing your business as a knowledgeable resource for international followers can expand your buyer base in these regions as more people become aware that your company can address concerns in a timely and accurate manner.

The majority of Twitter's monthly users access the site on mobile devices.The majority of Twitter's monthly users access the site on mobile devices.

3. Instagram: A picture is worth a thousand words
Unlike other social networks, Instagram allows users to connect primarily through visuals. Users can post both images and videos to the site, but there's a small space for text underneath each post. The site noted that as of December 2014, it had more than 300 million monthly active users, many of which resided in different countries across the globe.

Developing individual Instagram pages for each international audience can provide them with content tailored to buying behaviors geared toward specific regions. For example, after using professional translation services to get accurate copy, your business can adapt pictures with colors or images that perform best within different regions. Study up on which colors inspire global buyers to purchase and which kinds of photographs – whether stock images or pictures of products – get the most attention on your site.

4. Pinterest: A dark horse gaining global steam
Pinterest is another visual-based medium that offers benefits to small-business owners and consumers alike. The site allows users to collect pictures, links and videos from across the Internet on virtual boards tailored to specific interests. According to Bloomberg Business, the company made an impressive push in May 2014 to attract more global users to the site. More than 70 percent of Pinterest's users live outside of the U.S., but the site has sought ways to localize features and content to people living in Asia and Europe.

"Pinterest recently made a push to localize features for users in Europe and Asia."

Small-business owners should not pass up this opportunity to tailor their own international strategies on the site for people living in these regions. They should not only ensure any pins they've created adhere to business language localization, but have a specific audience in mind each time a new pin is posted. Remaining as specific as possible when developing and promoting new content on Pinterest can drastically help companies reach the widest and most relevant audience possible.

5. YouTube: Ideal for international viewers
When it comes to developing content for international audiences, YouTube remains a pioneer in the realm of social media. More than 80 percent of the viewers watching videos posted on the site are outside of the U.S., an impressive figure when you recognize that the site gets 1 billion unique visits each month. Creating and sharing videos for people living in different countries requires a great deal of planning, with small business owners investing in professional translation services to oversee content.

YouTube itself is one of the most globally friendly sites on the Internet. Presently, it's localized in 61 different languages and available in 61 different countries. This means when posting videos to the site, small-business owners must adapt content to suit the audience of their choosing.

8 reasons why companies are succeeding at translation

As more businesses set their sights on reaching global audiences, executives continue to search for ways to adapt their services to meet the needs of consumers living in different countries. Business globalization calls for services tailored to international buyers' diverse range of interests and purchasing habits. This includes localizing websites, mobile apps and social media pages to maximize your business' reach in individual countries across the world.

Investing in professional translation services can help propel your company to international success, as many studies have found that companies' global ventures thrive after developing and honing translated content. Consider the following facts next time your brand is examining how to best use localization services to its advantage.

1. 9 out of 10 executives believe their international consumer base will grow in the next three years 
The Economist Intelligence Unit conducted a large-scale study among nearly 600 business executives representing companies in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Across this vast range of companies and decision makers, 90 percent indicated that their brands will expand across the borders over the course of the next three years. Along with new international ventures comes a necessity for cultural research, business language localization and updated marketing tools to adequately reach global buyers.

2. More than 50 percent of online consumers only purchase from sites in their native language
It's no secret that global buyers are more likely to purchase from sites that feature their native languages, but according to a study compiled by Common Sense Advisory, more than 50 percent will only purchase from these companies. These consumers will entirely neglect companies in languages unfamiliar to them, further highlighting the necessity that businesses offer translated pages for languages most popular among potential buyers. 

"Fortune 500 companies that invested in translation were 1.5 times more likely to report higher revenue."

3. Fortune 500 companies that invested in translation were 1.5 times more likely to report higher revenue
When it comes to translation, small businesses and large corporations alike recognize the opportunities presented by localized content. Common Sense Advisory published a separate survey among executives at some of the world's largest companies, discovering that those with translated sites reported higher revenue, better customer service and larger market share than those that did not. Specifically, Fortune 500 companies that invested in translation endeavors reported revenues that were 1.5 times higher than those that did not. The study attributed the increase in revenue to companies' abilities to better communicate via the Web with potential partners and clients in different countries.

4. 90 percent of executives think tackling communication hurdles can boost sales, revenue and market share
Communication remains one of the top reasons that companies invest in translation. According to The Economist Intelligence Unit, nearly 90 percent of surveyed executives remarked that improving communication between the borders would reap significant financial rewards for their companies. Moreover, many executives admitted their businesses were not doing all they could to improve such relationships abroad, recognizing that their communication efforts needed to include cultural training along with a greater emphasis on language development among employees.

5. Localized ads are 86 percent more likely to have higher click-through rates
Is your business using mobile strategies to target international consumers? Localizing your mobile content is equally as important as adapting your company's website. Appia, a mobile user acquisition network that helps businesses develop mobile marketing strategies, conducted a study to discover how global users interacted with advertisements presented within apps. The company examined which ads were more effective: those localized to specific regions or those entirely in English. When it came to both click-through and conversion rates, localized ads outperformed English ones by 86 percent, prompting CEO Jud Bowman to note that language and user experience are crucial for adapting to your desired international audience when targeting through mobile.

Localized apps see much higher adoption among global audiences.Localized apps see much higher adoption among global audiences.

6. Only 25 percent of international consumers regularly purchase from American companies
In the same vein, international buyers who may have a working knowledge of the English language are not more likely to purchase from your brand on a regular basis. Common Sense Advisory found that while international buyers may purchase from an English website, only 25 percent frequently visit the sites. Researchers noted that language remained one of the largest hurdles preventing people from purchasing, but there were many other factors that professional localization services could adapt for greater success. These included website functions – including payment options for global purchasers – and basic features, like time and layout.

"Localized ads are 86 percent more likely to have higher click-through rates."

7. 47 percent of executives believe employees do not receive enough language and communication training
Your staff members remain among the most important factors driving how effectively your brand communicates with buyers living in different countries. These include people who work in customer service, website development and business services – all three of which have a profound impact on how accurately your company communicates with global buyers. Executives who responded to the Economist Intelligence Unit discovered an untapped opportunity among their staff, with 47 percent noting that their companies needed more training with regard to language and international communication.

8. Geo-targeted posts on social media are six times more effective than others
Adapting your social network for the various regions your business serves is critical to your brand's success. NPR recently conducted an experiment on its own Facebook page, examining the effect of geo-targeting efforts among its numerous pages. The company began its trial in Seattle, posting articles about the region itself – such as "Why don't people in Seattle use umbrellas?" – instead of the same pieces it had been posting to its global sites. NPR discovered that Seattle-specific articles were six times more likely to get comments, likes and shares than articles pertaining to the country or the world as a whole. The study illustrated that targeting individual regions with specific content and marketing endeavors is crucial for success. One of the best ways for globally seeking brands to hone posts to certain regions is by using localization services that are familiar with individual countries and audiences.