When aiming to appeal to a demographic that does not primarily speak English, one of the first things you may want to consider is translating your law firm’s website into the languages you’re targeting. This is a great step to take in reaching new potential clients, but there are a few common mistakes you’ll want to avoid when beginning this process.
1. Relying on an automatic translation tool like Google Translate. We understand how tempting it is to choose a “free” option like Google Translate when trying to trim costs. However, when your potential clients are looking for legal assistance, they want to use someone who is professional and trustworthy. If the information on your website is translated poorly (or completely mistranslated, which is often the case with automated translation) because it was handled by a machine, the individuals you are targeting are likely to continue searching elsewhere for help. Make sure your website is translated by a professional and experienced team so that your website’s tone is competent and worthy of their time from the moment they click onto your site. Professionals will also be able to help you localize the content for the exact market you want to reach.
2. Failing to translate contact information and lawyer biography pages. Sometimes you may wish to tackle website translation in different stages, which means some of the links within the site may be neglected on the first round so that the information you find to be most relevant for your law firm is translated first. One thing we recommend translating from the beginning that may be overlooked is the contact page and the lawyer biography section(s). Knowing who will be helping them on their legal journey is often critical for potential clients, so the more they can get to know and trust you from reading your biography page, the more confident they will feel about why you are the right person to help them. It is also crucial for potential clients to understand how to get in contact with you, so keep the contact page in mind when translating your website as well.
3. Having no one available to speak to them in their native language when they call. You don’t have to speak the languages of your target clients personally to be able to assist them when they call for more information, nor do you have to have a bilingual assistant available for these calls (though you certainly can!). Another option is to invest in a telephonic interpreting service plan so that you can be connected with an interpreter over the phone the moment you need one, and your potential client can feel more confident from their initial phone conversation with you. When it’s time to follow-up with an in-person meeting, reach out to your language service provider and schedule an on-site interpreter to assist you.
4. Not accounting for a foreign-language SEO strategy. Translating your website is vital for reaching new potential clients who do not speak English. However, it is not enough if your target clients cannot find you when searching online. You’ll want to choose keywords and phrases, for example, that your new audience will use when searching for legal assistance, to be sure your website turns up in those search results. When it doubt, seek professional help to ensure you are implementing the best foreign-language SEO strategy to get your law firm’s new foreign-language website launched and seen.