Keeping your online business alive in the age of coronavirus

By Ofer Tirosh

Free at last! Or are we? Just as we thought that the global Covid-19 pandemic was slowly easing its way onto the pages of history, it seems to have turned to the next page instead. There is now talk of an impending second wave of the coronavirus crisis and further, and perhaps even more stringent lockdowns and maybe even full quarantine measures being put in place. 

Can we learn any lessons from the previous instance? 

Can we use that knowledge to stave off disruption and ensure business continuity? If the second wave of COVID hits, will you be prepared? 

Globalization – Why the digital economy continues to grow

How does the digital realm aid in the immunity of business environments to global crises in any form?

We were already entering a much more digital age of eCommerce long before the onset (or onslaught as the case may be) of the global Covid-19 pandemic. ECommerce is defined by Investopedia as being any type of business model that allows people to engage in commerce, exchange, or other business ventures on the internet. 

There were in fact a great many businesses that managed to do very well, even during the height of the coronavirus crisis. By and large, these were limited to firms that were already well established online and diverse enough that any disruption to business operations could, comparatively at least, be easily rectified. 

ECommerce increase and globalization online

Those businesses that had already established a firm digital presence and were conducting business online were in the best position to ensure business continuity of operations even at the height of the global medical crisis. Some businesses barely managed to survive doing business under Covid-19 as they learned to adapt by going online to weather the storm. Doing business online allowed many businesses to continue operations even as they made major adjustments to ensure business continuity, but they did survive. Today, there is an abject lesson to be learned from that, even as talk of a second wave of coronavirus quarantines begins making the rounds. 

In fairness, some of those companies were in some ways, actually assisted by the medical pandemic. There was a notable increase in demand for telehealth services, remote live interpreters, and of course, a major increase in demand for medical document translation and medical interpreters as doctors, scientists, and academics around the globe sought to stave off the worst of the virus. 

In other cases, there was a similar cause for the increase in business as people became more reluctant or even incapable of going out, even for important activities such as shopping or for entertainment such as movies. As such, according to the Associated Press, there were some major increases in eCommerce sales most notably in a few select and important areas. 

Garden essentials online increased by 163 percent, do-it-yourself sales online increased by 136 percent, home furnishings went up 97 percent, and even electronics sales online increased by almost 30 percent. The companies that were involved were able to capitalize only because they had already established their digital presence online and because they had diversified supply chain logistics in order to ensure business continuity. 

Translation, localization and work-from-home employees

How do remote employees work? How do organizations track and manage remote employees? 

There is ample evidence to indicate an increase in productivity from remote employees, though it should be noted that this is as a rule, only true for companies that have established remote worker policies. There is also the added benefit of having virtually the whole world entered into the employee pool. 

The ease with which business process outsourcing can be utilized in so many aspects of the business has allowed businesses to grow beyond the traditional closed office space and to diversify operations to successfully mitigate any disruption to business operations. 

In many cases, this will result in a more international effort, in terms of employees, marketing, and even production in many cases. In this section we will focus on the use of remote employees as this has been shown to increase productivity and result in better business operations, keeping your business alive no matter what the world is like around us. 

Many services such as accounting, IT, and most commonly perhaps, legal services are commonly outsourced to third-party providers. Given the digital nature of the world we live in, it has also become increasingly common to outsource work to freelancers or other remote workers employed by the company. 

There may be some translation services required in order to create all of the relevant company documentation in additional languages. There will also likely be some need to use tracking software in order to ensure that the foreign-based employees, or any other remote employees are actively engaged in work during working hours. 

While this can seem like something of a chore perhaps, there is numerous research available that indicates that this is a very profitable resolution for most companies. An April 2020 report posted on ZDNet shows many helpful tools for tracking remote employees. 

This same report also notes that companies like Cisco have saved literally millions of dollars, and the average company enjoys savings of around eleven thousand dollars per year for each remote employee. Tracking remote employees has been seen as a challenge for some human resource departments, though there are many solutions for remote tracking, many that can be customized to meet the needs of the company. 

Among the most popular tracking apps are Time Doctor, Monday, Trello, and Timely, though there are a host of options for tracking remote employees online or off. The individual needs of the company will vary of course, but many of these tracking programs offer enough options for them to be adequate for virtually any task that must be outsourced. 

Internationalization – Globalization with localization for business growth and expansion

How does the Brick and Mortar Business build an online empire, untouchable by physical limitations and restrictions? The primary audience here will already have some type of online presence, but there may be others who do not. 

Regardless of whether or not you have an online presence, these steps will help you to establish and expand so that you can build an international online electronic empire, seek out an international audience and potentially increase profits while diminishing the ability of your competitors to compete. 

It is important to note that while English is the prevalent language on the internet, it is not by any means the only one. In fact, according to data on the W3 website, there are eleven languages that makeup roughly 98 percent of all online content. 

There are more than twenty languages with more than fifty million speakers and more than eighty languages with more than ten million native speakers, which means there is a very large, untapped market online. 

Given the ease with which you can find affordable translation services online, there is no excuse not to engage in a complete multilingual international marketing campaign. The presence of a multilingual website using a complete website translation is important for many reasons and a great place to begin. 

Website translation, localization and internationalization

There are many translation apps and plugins for websites but these have a serious drawback that is detrimental to online business. None of these instant translations are going to be perfect, guaranteed and perhaps, more importantly, none of these instant machine translations are indexed by the search engines. 

Remember when we pointed out the very limited presence of foreign languages used on the internet? A full website translation is not only affordable, but will have very little direct competition on the foreign language search engine results page if you have done the research and determined what languages to target and where there is a viable foreign audience for your products or services. 

Video translation, localization, and international markets

YouTube is the second most popular website on the internet following only Google in terms of traffic. Video marketing is also one of the most popular means of converting visitors into buyers and increasing both visibility and profits online. However, a great many videos are routinely viewed with the audio turned off. 

While there are many reasons for watching videos without sound, the bottom line is that people are prone to use subtitles or closed captioning, but is there any difference between these? Is it important? 

Subtitles are generally hardcoded into the video files, a process made much easier with many of the video editing programs online today. But this is not ideal in terms of effective video marketing.


The addition of closed captioning will clash with the sub-titles and make the video difficult to view and reduce views and interactive action for the video, including likes, shares, comments, and even the number of views. 

Closed captioning files are generally either txt (or text) files or srt files, both of which are indexed by the search engines. Srt files can also be easily uploaded no matter how many languages you deem appropriate for video translation and your expanded international target demographic. 

Thus, there are two immediate benefits from using closed captioning files that are readily seen, and a third which also merits consideration. 

The two immediate benefits are first, the attraction of a multilingual audience that can now view the video in their own language, thanks to a single video translation. The second benefit is that not only is the video going to rank for more keywords in the original language, but it will also rank especially well for the keywords in the languages used for the translation. 

This serves to greatly increase the ranking of the video on the search engines, including the YouTube search engine which is the second or third largest search engine on the internet, in a constant back and forth with the Amazon search engine for second or third place behind Google. 

The video will now be seen more not only on the search engines, but also on the YouTube recommended list. The videos will rank better on the search engines and the use of srt files have also been shown to increase the amount of time people will remain to view the video. 

There is also an indication that not only views, but comments, shares and likes, and even the video comments. This provides the enterprising entrepreneur the opportunity to actively engage with their target audience on a very personal level. 

Translation and multilingual social media marketing

While Reuters may be best known as a news organization, it also conducts a great deal of research. Reuters notes the common nature of Social Media platforms actively supporting numerous languages. Despite this, there are commonly more languages used on these sites than the sites actually support. 

In the case of Facebook, there are 111 languages that are supported, but more than 140 languages in common use. It is much easier to rank on foreign language search engine results pages when more than 98 percent of the competition is no longer competing. 

Videos and content are more likely to be shared on social media platforms, and it is not a stretch to imagine that most people will share among speakers of the same language. The multilingual video marketing campaign allows your new expanded audience to actively engage in researching your products and services. 

Once you have the full website translation and even more information to convince your readers to become buyers, you have everything you need to actively target a new and virtually never-ending supply of hungry, largely underrepresented audiences with your international multilingual marketing campaign online.

About the author

Ofer Tirosh

Ofer Tirosh is an entrepreneur and the CEO of Tomedes, a language service provider. 

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