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Anyone who launches and administers an e-commerce site quickly learns the value and necessity of high-quality translation services. The world is a very big market, and every language you fail to have your website copy translated into is a language you're not selling in.

Moreover, resources are finite, and you can't pay to have your online store translated into every language that exists. You have to ask yourself, "What language pairs are the most likely to generate business?"

1. Japanese

Japan has always been at the forefront of technology and the online lifestyle. In 2010, e-commerce sales were under $100 million in Japan. Today, they're closing in on $200 million and still growing by huge margins. Despite an aging population, Japan's citizens are shopping online in greater numbers every year, which mean this growth isn't slowing down any time soon.

2. German

Germany accounts for nearly 20% of all online sales in Europe, with $50 billion in annual sales through online outlets. Although overall sales are expected to drop by about 1% in Germany in 2014, this coincides with a predicted 25% increase in the proportion of sales conducted online, making Germany a growing market ripe for exploitation. Only the United Kingdom logs more online sales, owning about 31% of the market.

3. Spanish

Spain is recovering from an economic disaster yet still enjoying one of the highest rates of e-commerce expansion in the world. Moreover, Spain's share of e-commerce sales in Europe is expected to rise by about 14% this year alone, although it's coming back from record low numbers registered during the economic crisis. That also translates into opportunity as customers come back looking for places to make purchases. This combined with the worldwide Spanish-speaking population makes it an ideal choice.

4. French

France makes up about 15% of all online sales in Europe. Although e-commerce volume in France is slowing, this isn't a decline but a stabilization. French remains one of the most influential and widely spoken languages in the world, and it is an essential language for an e-commerce site.

5. Italian

A total of 66% of Italy's roughly 60 million people use the Internet, and it generated about $11 billion in online sales. Although only about 13 million Italians shop online regularly, their shopping tends to be for expensive, high-end products, making opening up your website to their market much more profitable than the initial numbers would indicate—and those numbers are bound to improve along with economic conditions.

6. Dutch

The Dutch e-commerce market grew by 9% in 2013 and shows no signs of slowing down. Despite the economic crash, Dutch customers still tend to be affluent, making them ideal customers to target via translation.

* * *

Though the economic situation across the globe is always changing—and changing in unpredictable ways, as the meteoric rise of e-commerce has demonstrated—and your resources are always finite, the right choices for localization of your business can translate into huge profits.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Ofer Shoshan

Ofer Shoshan is CEO of One Hour Translation, a professional translation agency.

LinkedIn: Ofer Shoshan

Twitter: @OferOHT