English is a very common language, but Mandarin Chinese is even more common – to the tune of 836 million people (or more, depending on which source you use.)
And you might want to consider other languages, too, such as…
Hindi (333 million)
Spanish (332 million)
English (322 million)
Bengali (189 million)
Arabic (186 million)
Russian (170 million)
Portuguese (170 million)
Japanese (125 million)
German (98 million)
French (72 million)
And it gets even more interesting. What percentage of online shoppers speak English? Probably 80-90%, right?
Actually no. So it must be 50-75% then?
You might think so, but no. The answer is just 27% of online shoppers speak English.
Can you see now why you might want to target other languages?
So how do you translate your website into another language? You might use Google Translate http://translate.google.com/translate_tools or any of the translating plug-ins that are available. Of course, these are only machine translations, and your results may vary. Sometimes wildly.
A better course of action is to hire someone off of the freelancing sites who is fluent in English and your language of choice.
Once you’ve got your website translated, you can then offer products in that language, including your own. Naturally you’ll want to get those translated as well.
Be sure to do research into the country you are targeting, just as if you were moving there. Find out what is important to them, what is offensive, who their celebrities are, what slang is commonly used, etc.
If you are really serious about marketing in this new country, you might want to learn the language. No, you don’t need to speak it fluently, you just need to be able to read and write it (easier than speaking.)
Find people you can trust, such as freelancers and even business partners native to that country or region.
And one more thing to consider: Keywords. Unfortunately, keywords don’t necessarily translate well, and so you may want to get some help with this as well for your multi-languange search engine optimization efforts.