Selling complicated machinery to companies in highly technical manufacturing industries, Hardinge Inc. has learned to reap the benefits of greeting foreign visitors to its corporate website in their local language.
“We provide very technical specifications of our machines on our website and we need to make sure that the information is easily understood by our customers that span the globe and speak many different languages,” says Allan Snider, global marketing director.
Engaging customers in eight languages
Acting on its multilingual strategy, Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based Hardinge recently deployed translation technology and services that already is making its English-language corporate website, Hardinge.com, more widely used by new and pre-existing customers worldwide, he adds. “Our clients and prospective clients need the information readily available, and by providing this information in a total of eight languages on our new website we are making that customer experience even better,” he says.
Hardinge manufactures a variety of metal-cutting machines like CNC grinders, lathes, mills and various “workholding” products and accessories. Selling its machinery and accessories—a product lineup that varies in price from under $100 to millions of dollars—requires reams of highly technical information that Hardinge distributes through its website as well through print and other means.
To reach its worldwide markets with a consistent branded image backed by accurate information, it has developed a multilingual website platform that lets customers across the globe choose among eight languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese, with Chinese provided in both traditional and simplified versions.
Last September, Hardinge deployed internet-hosted language translation technology and services from MotionPoint Corp. MotionPoint provides a mix of hands-on translation services conducted by humans complemented by web-hosted software designed to ensure that translated content is relevant, accurate and up-to-date in each featured language across Hardinge’s product lines. MotionPoint doesn’t publicly note its deployment costs, but charges subscription fees covering 24/7 hosted managed services, says Craig Witt, executive vice president of MotionPoint.
Increasing website traffic and page views
Snider says it’s too soon to provide such metrics as percentage changes in website conversion rates and sales, but he notes that the presentation of its highly technical content in eight languages is already increasing the number of web users and page visits. “The global site is performing well,” he says.
Hardinge.com lets customers click to request a quote on a requested product. The website also links to ShopHardinge.com, an ecommerce transaction site where customers can research and purchase parts and accessories. Although the translated content doesn’t extend to ShopHardinge.com, that’s an option Hardinge will consider in the future, Snider says.
MotionPoint’s translation method starts out with a team of language experts translating a client’s base web content—in Hardinge’s case, its English-language corporate site—into each requested foreign language. It then uses its technology platform to develop personalized content for site visitors based on their local language and interests, and to check that translated content is consistent, accurate and relevant to each site user, Witt says.
Two key aspects of MotionPoint’s technology are its “proxy” approach to technology management and its EasyLink Management feature for personalizing and checking content, Witt says.
Getting personal with technical product data
Under the proxy approach, MotionPoint’s technology operates independently of a client company’s content management system and other website management applications—but integrates with them through application programming interfaces. “We sit between the origin website and the user experience,” Witt says. “When a request comes in for translated content, we translate it in real time and render the translated content to the end user.”
MotionPoint’s EasyLink Management tool is designed to recognize the geographic location of first-time as well as returning website visitors, learn their product interests, and provide personalized web content. When visitors first arrive at a site, they’re greeted in the language of their local market, letting them instantly realize they’ve landed on a site that speaks their language without having to search for a translation menu, MotionPoint says.
The EasyLink system also routinely checks that content is up-to-date and accurate across all featured languages, the company says. It also checks for relevancy. Snider notes, for example, that a term like “machine tool” can mean different things for website visitors from the automotive industry or another manufacturing industry, so the EasyLink system will check against a glossary for the relevant term in each language for each industry.
Going forward, Hardinge will consider adding languages, such as Polish and Russian, as market opportunities arise, Snider says.
“We want to continue to look at opportunities like MotionPoint that will improve the customer experience with Hardinge,” he says. “At Hardinge we strive to always put our customers first, and we will continue to look to do that today and into the future.”
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