Translation ROI: Measuring the Success of Professional Translations

Many companies struggle with one crucial thing when it comes to language services: defining what the return on investment (ROI) of translation and localization really is. Translation can be a touchy budgetary subject, especially when it comes to a business’ bottom line, so it’s even more important to make sure that your organization has a firm definition of what ROI of translation means for your specific use case. Understanding this encourages more strategic planning, better budgeting, and improved results overall.

First, let’s define what ROI is for translation in broad terms. Like with any investment, spending money on translation services doesn’t guarantee a successful gain or significant return right away. A big thing to keep in mind is that translating and localizing into target languages is a small piece of a broad strategy; one that considers new potential audiences to reach and competition to face. Translation is a long-tail game that requires patience, planning, and careful maintenance. When done well, translation ROI can be through the roof, making a significant impact on your company’s international future.

Here’s how to measure the successful performance of your translations, as captured through translation ROI.

Cost Savings 

When most businesses consider the ROI of translation, reducing cost as much as possible while still maintaining high-quality is one of the most prominent triggers. The financial gain or loss of every specific project that requires translation work is obviously a critical measure for any organization; carefully selecting the right translation service is, by far, the most significant way to influence this.

There are two things to be aware of:

  1. Translation ROI isn’t immediate.
  2. The more is invested in high-quality translations, the more return on investment is achieved.

Getting started as soon as possible with translations that are reliable, accurate, and affordable enough to meet all of your business needs will help steer cost savings in the right direction. At Language Department, we understand that not every project or budget is the same, so our approach is to be flexible and willing to work with businesses on specific requirements, contextually and/or about pricing. We charge by the word (with absolutely no added costs), charge a reduced fee for content that has been previously translated in the past but changed slightly, and avoid charging for repeated content – keeping things simple and honest.

Competitive Advantage

For many companies, having a successful international presence comes with the benefit of having a competitive advantage. It’s well-known that for people to be genuinely comfortable and happy with a purchase, the product information needs to be presented in their native language. According to research by the Common Sense Advisory, 70% of internet users are not native English speakers. More importantly, 75% of internet users do not make essential purchasing decisions if the product description is in a language they do not speak. Why is that?

  • Most people are conscious consumers who want to understand exactly where their money is going.
  • If they speak another language, the chances of them even being able to find your product/service (let alone purchase it) are slim to none.

When you invest money and other resources into language services for translating your website, help articles, branded content, online campaigns, and product/service materials, as well as utilizing multilingual SEO, you’re investing directly into future customers.

Key Performance Indicators

Being able to measure as much quantifiable information as possible is key to figuring out the ROI of translation. These key performance indicators vary from industry to industry, and with language services, they can often feel subjective. Getting the right KPIs in place to effectively track and measure the success rate of every focus area ties directly into having a better understanding of budget and cost, as well as the true value of translation services. Some examples of trackable translation KPIs are:

  • Cost per translated word after expenses
  • Profit per project
  • Revenue vs. translation cost
  • Translation error rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Market share
  • Traffic (by country and language)
  • Number of new customers
  • Online campaign conversion rates

Customer Satisfaction

By far one of the most influential indicators of translation ROI is measuring how happy your customers are – in other words, customer satisfaction. In many cases, this is shown through the translating of online materials, including customer support articles and product/service information. In fact, according to the International Customer Management Institute, 71.5% of customer service leaders interviewed “said support in a customer’s native language increased their satisfaction with customer support,” and 58.4% said it “increased their loyalty to the brand.”

Knowing that support materials are available in a customer’s own language helps facilitate sales, increases usability, decreases the number of support tickets, and improves customer loyalty by making it easier to find solutions and answer questions. Performing regular surveys to collect feedback directly from customers about their levels of satisfaction is the most straightforward way to get accurate answers. By actively monitoring this along with translation projects, you can directly attribute higher customer satisfaction with translation.


Getting a firm, consistent grasp of translation ROI means making a commitment to defining what metrics really matter for your company. Over time, high-quality translation work will always prove itself a valuable investment in a multitude of ways; in more helpful content, in increased revenue, in happier customers, and in greater market share.

While translation work is a great way to expand your reach and grow your business, not all translations are created with the same care and quality assurance process. Trying to save money by investing in less than ideal translation services can negatively affect your company financially and even publicly as a brand – the most affordable options are often the ones with the most translation risk and fallout.

Remember – translation ROI isn’t immediate. Now is always the best time to get started with reliable, accurate translations and start seeing amazing results! Curious about our translation services and how they could benefit your business? Take a look at what we offer and get in touch.

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