How to calculate ROI on adding a new language to your website?

How to calculate ROI on adding a new language to your website?

This is a guest contribution by Alessandra Binazzi, a Localization management consultant. If you would like to submit a contribution please contact Bill Beatty for submission details. Thank you.

iGaming companies can decide to enter new foreign markets for several reasons. Regulatory changes in certain countries, market potential of specific local markets, local partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, may all open up opportunities for new business.

Given an existing opportunity, there are then many factors an organization needs to consider when deciding whether and how to enter a new market: local consumer betting behavior, internet and mobile penetration, availability of viable payment methods, customer service. Each individual market can vary greatly, and failure to do proper due diligence upfront, may result in failure to succeed in the new market and wasted investment in money and time.

Offering local language products

How to calculate ROI on adding a new language to your website?Once the decision is made to enter the new market the first hurdle that must be passed is adding the market’s local language to the company’s digital products, be it the websites, mobile sites, apps or digital marketing assets. Translation of all the company’s digital content can be a very costly business, however offering customers products in their local language will greatly increase profitability in that market. According to Common Sense Advisory research “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: 2014″, customers will purchase 56% more if the product is in their local language.

Translation ROI

How can you be sure that the cost and effort needed to translate your company’s products in a local language is worth the investment? In other words, what is the ROI on adding a new language to your website?


Let’s first look at the Investment side, as this is usually easier to estimate.

•  Volume estimation – Translation costs are largely based on volume of content that you need translated. Volume is calculated based on number of words. The organization will need to decide which content it wants translated in the new language. Not all content may need to be translated; for example should the customer service knowledge base be translated? Are all products being offered in the new market or for example is sports betting allowed, while poker isn’t? Once these decisions have been finalized, analyze your source content and calculate its total word count.

• Translation fees – Whether an organization outsources the translation or decides to use internal resource, a cost is attached to this service.

• External – If outsourcing to an agency, one of the main points of negotiation are per word rate on each language. Many providers will also calculate a project management fee, usually a percentage of total cost. A discount schedule for content repetition should also be negotiated. A good localization professional will be best suited to guide this negotiation process.

• Internal – If using internal resources, salary or hourly rate can be used. In this case you will need to estimate the time it will take the resource to complete the translation.

• Tool – It is important to use a CAT (Computer Aided Translation) tool that will record the translations in TM (translation memories). Language providers use such tools and the cost is included in the per word rates. Ensure that TMs remain property of the organization even if stored by the provider. If the organization uses other resourced and does not already use a translation tool, it should invest in one. If it has a translation tool, there is no additional cost for an additional language.


Calculating the return on the translations is much trickier. As outlined at the beginning of this article, success in a local iGaming market is dependent on many different factors, and language is just one of them. So if any of these factors has not been analyzed and executed properly, a well translated product may not do much to affect return in that market.

Let’s assume for our purposes that all other factors have been taken into account and implemented well and focus on ways to estimate return on a localized site and digital products:

• KPIs – What KPIs does the organization track? These are the KPIs that should be used for the calculations of the Return.

• Current return – In many cases an organization already has existing clients in the specific target market. These clients need to use the English language site. What is current return from those clients. This will serve as a base to calculate return on the localized site.

• Similar market with localized site – Hopefully your organization already offers a localized site in other languages. Select a localized site that targets a market most similar to the new market you’re looking to enter. To help you in this selection, revisit the original factors used to decide whether to enter in the market, i.e. consumer betting behavior, internet and mobile penetration etc.

• Return before and after localization – Once a similar market is identified, calculate the percentage increase on return from before to after the site was localized. Consider the time frame of data when calculating increase of return as this may greatly differ depending on the organization’s product. For example given the seasonality of sportsbook, it would be wise to look at data over a whole year; for casino where seasonality is not as important, one can consider a shorter time span.

• Estimate expected return on new localized site – Multiply current return by expected percentage increase of a localized site.

First time localizers

There is always a first time for everything! In case an organization is venturing into localizing its site for the first time, it will have no existing localized site to calculate percentage increase of return. Should these organizations give up on calculating ROI altogether and just hope for the best?

Naturally in this situation, the organization has less proven data to rely on, but it can still use general data for its calculations. The research from Common Sense Advisory has also found that when factoring in language competence, people with no or low proficiency in English are six times more likely not to buy at English-only sites than people with high English proficiency. Findings also report national averages of language proficiency and propensity not to buy for different countries. A good localization expert can assist an organization in estimating a rate of increase to use to estimate return.

Final ROI calculations

Now that the company has an estimate of costs and returns the operation is simple: Return – Costs = ROI. Hopefully the result will be positive and the organization can focus on implementing the creation of the new language site.

For more information on optimizing the process of adding a new language to a site, visit the article “Adding a new language to your website. Can it be as easy as a click of a button?”

Alessandra Binazzi is a Localization management consultant focused on developing localization programs tailored to needs of companies just venturing into or at the early stages of a multilingual business strategy. Specialized in the iGaming sector with particular attention to sportsbook localization.  Built a maturity level 4 localization program as Localization Manager at Pinnacle Sports.