How To Measure ROI For Translation Management

Translation management is key for global growth, but decision-makers are often unaware of its growing importance and people responsible for translation and localization struggle to prove the value of what they do. This article encourages translation professionals to justify budget and quantify the business value of translation management.

Translated and localized content can work as an enabler and a multiplier for your business. It allows more consumers to learn about your products and companies that start localizing to sell abroad tend to grow faster.

Companies that invest in translation are 1.5 times more likely to experience an increase in total revenue according to a survey of Fortune 500 companies by Common Sense Advisory in 2011.

This clearly indicates that translation can contribute to revenue growth. But how do we prove the connection between language and revenue on an organizational level?

How To Measure The Value Of Translation – Defining Success

Information on ROI, “return on investment”, can quantify the business value of translation management and localization, but what should you track?

Any ROI calculation depends on what matters most to your business.

Companies measure success in different ways and most of them set business goals that focus on key metrics. Often revenue, market share and volume of new clients have priority. You might be also interested in information about increased brand awareness and higher customer satisfaction, which are less-tangible.

Make sure you tie your translation efforts to your business goals and associated metrics in order to measure ROI. Projects that are in alignment with strategic directives have a greater chance of being funded and getting support.

Tracking Down The Numbers

There are many performance indicators and metrics that you can measure. It is best to start small and keep KPIs simple.

Think first of what is most critical for growing your business.

Don’t be tempted to evaluate the value of translation only in terms of cost savings, but remember that quality and time-to-market are other important factors to measure.

The potential for ROI increases as the volume of translations, number of target languages, frequency of updates and the ability to use predefined workflows increases.

Translation KPIs on where to reduce costs specific to translation could be:

  • Cost per translated word after expenses
  • Cost of poor-quality translations, manual processes and administrative overhead
  • Profit per project

Impact KPIs on how translation and localization impacts overall business goals could be:

  • Revenue vs. translation cost
  • Conversion rate
  • Traffic (by country and language)
  • Market share
  • Number of new customers

Capturing Market Share

Reaching new customers is the first thing most businesses think of when investing in translation.

Translated content can reach new potential customers and result in increased sales, as much evidence indicates that people are more likely to buy a product when information is presented in their own language. E.g. FAMILO, a Hamburg-based Startup, multiplied its user base from 100.000 to 500.000 registered users after streamlining their translation and localization process by adopting Phrase’s localization platform.

Return On Investment For Global Websites

Global websites and landing pages represent a critical component in the customer journey.

You can count page views, likes and shares, but to measure translation effectiveness and ROI, determine how well your content resonates. Analyse for example why a campaign did well in some markets, but failed in others.

Translated websites and landing pages lead to higher conversion rates and also translated ads will result in better click-rates, which can be measured and compared easily. Phrase for example noticed that the average time spent conversion rate for landing pages increased by +17% after localization.

Gillian Meussig (Co-founder of SEO specialist MOZ) argues “Research indicates that 3 times as many readers of a website will convert to customers if you give them information in their native language. You don’t need to translate your legal and privacy info pages, but you do need to translate your important landing page and selling pages. Not to do so is to turn away 2/3 of your potential business.”

Translation Cost Savings

Cost reduction is probably the most obvious thing to trigger. Costs caused of poor-quality translations, manual processes and administrative overhead can be reduced tremendously by using the right translation management tools and can easily compared to automated and improved translation and localization management.

For example, Phrase clients save up to one man-day per language and month. Other indicators might be translation reuse (reduced number of words to be localized), improved authoring (standardized words and phrases in source content) or lower cost of per word localization.

Faster Time-To-Market

Using the right translation management tools and streamlining the localization process can remove unnecessary and repetitive manual work and administrative overhead.

From a business perspective this means greater efficiency and gaining competitive advantage through rapid and flexible deployment of products and information to any market. E.g. when using Phrase 95% of ordered translations are done within 24 hours, 80% even less than 12 hours.

This means you can enter new markets within 24 hours, whereas it took several weeks or even months before.


Calculating ROI is a commitment and defining metrics and tracking the numbers takes effort for sure.

However, when it’s time for you to make decisions on translation management budget and global expansion, ROI evidence will help you to argue for greater investment.

The value of translation and localization will show itself as content that is more useful to your customers, leading to increased revenue, faster time to market, increased brand awareness and higher customer satisfaction ratings.

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