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How Law Firms Can Succeed by Connecting with Clients in Their First Language

— November 28, 2017

Professional industries like law succeed by projecting authority and trustworthiness in their fields. Credentials are obviously important, as they are cues for clients to understand credibility. Just as important, however, is that clients feel confident, which often comes from how a law firm presents itself.

Websites are now the new version of “putting out a shingle.” They are the first impression a firm can make on a client. How a website is designed, the information it provides, and how it speaks in local languages are key considerations.

For law firms working with clients who speak diverse languages, translation of a website from English into local languages is crucial to attracting new clients. Care must be taken that translations are accurate, reflect cultural norms, and convey trust.

Tips for Designing Websites with Multiple Languages

Various ways to say "Welcome." Image courtesy of
Various ways to say “Welcome.” Image courtesy of

Use Human Translators. Machine translations, which are software tools that scan documents for translating from one language into another, are cost-effective and quick. For professional quality, however, they are not always the best choice.

The translations are literal, meaning they do not take into account context and nuance. With the inherent differences in structure between languages, grammar and syntax are often faulty as well.

For translating websites, it can be cost-effective to hire a professional legal translator to ensure quality translations as well as effective marketing.

Pay Attention to the Entire Website. A website is not simply a main landing page. Translating just the main page leaves potential clients lost when other pages are not in their first language. From a marketing point of view, the goal is to step through the pages leading a client to make that crucial first contact.

A client interested in a real estate transaction might be impressed by the landing page, but when they click through to a specific services page that has not been translated, they will leave the site. Translating contact pages and forms are especially important. By making it easy for the client to decide to contact a firm, the website achieves its goal of generating business.

Clients searching for legal representation are interested in the reputation of the firm, but they also want to know the lawyers they might engage. Translating lawyer profiles helps target the legal team to the local language market more effectively.

Lawyers are referred to potential clients all the time. These referrals are warm leads and more likely to convert to a client than a general search. Translated profiles send a positive message to clients that the person they’ve heard about really does care about their needs.

Remember to Translate Off-Site Content. All the print material generated by the law firm has the potential to reach new clients. Being aware of every marketing opportunity should inform what gets translated specifically for foreign language clients. Keep in mind email blasts, newsletters, and other updates that are sent to clients electronically.

Newsletters in particular make for versatile tools for client engagement. By speaking to clients in their first language and keeping in mind their cultural backgrounds, law firms can connect with them on a more personal basis. Take note of specific cultural events within local communities such as Chinese New Year, Cinco de Mayo, and other holidays, and schedule tailored newsletters to go out at these times.

Plan Multi-Language Website Translations and Marketing. A poorly translated website makes a bad first impression on potential clients. Clients feel that if a law firm cannot pay attention to details like proper writing in a foreign language, they might not be a good fit for communication issues either.

Hiring a professional legal language translation firm is a great option. These firms offer quality translations, often with a knowledge of the legal field, as well as understanding online marketing in foreign languages.

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