Since mid-June online hypermarket bol.com has been available in English to increase its appeal to non-Dutch speakers in the Netherlands and Belgium. The feature is in the beta phase and bol.com has been using automated translation software to translate the content from Dutch to English. So how is it working out so far?
To carry out the translations, bol.com is working with Microsoft Translate. Because the translation is done automatically, the English doesn’t always come out perfect. Bol.com admit to their customers in the drop-down information bar that they don’t quite have the service ‘under the knee’.
You can, of course, buy a dictionary from bol.com to look up the original Dutch phrase onder de knie, which mean’s you’ve mastered something. Books, music, computers, washing machines, baby clothes, cat baskets, bikes… you name it, bol.com probably sells it.
Since being founded in 1999 bol.com has become the biggest online store in the country. And after receiving a number of queries from the non-Dutch speaking community it started developing a translated version of its site. There are already over 200,000 people in the Netherlands who would rather shop in English than in Dutch. Most of these customers surf Dutch or Belgian webshops with the aid of Google Translate, albeit with mixed results.
Easy to switch
You can switch to the English version of the site by clicking on the country flag in the top right-hand corner of the screen and selecting “translate into English”. Emails are not yet translated but contain a link that will take them directly to the relevant information in English on bol.com. Customers who have their browser configured in a language other than Dutch or English will automatically see a translated website.
You can switch back to Dutch at any time using the flag. Customers can help to improve the translations using the feedback service on the translate bar, by saying if they understood the translation easily and whether it suited their the needs.
Bol.com plans to continue improving its English machine translation step by step in order to ensure accurate English throughout the site.
To be continued!