Secret cables from @Robileaks confirm the fact that senior management of Robi (erstwhile Aktel) have secretly taken into heed the request from Bangladesh Corporate Blog to have a Bangla version of its website. Irated with the akika from Aktel to Robi, we did give them quite an earful in this post here, which also included a tip to have a Bangla website. Although we haven’t received any note of thanks from senior Robiuls as we Bangalees usually prefer not to acknowledge our sources of inspirations and ideas and generally claim all to be our very own. So never mind.
Hats off to Robi for taking the lead to have a Bangla version of its website, not only as the first Bangladeshi telecom operator to have done that but also the very first Bangladeshi leading brand to have done that I believe. Please let me know if you are aware of any other Bangladeshi companies who have a website in both English and Bangla. Although just having a website in Bangla may not have any direct impact on increasing its popularity and profitability, it goes without saying that those 1. in rural or urban Bangladesh 2. who are more comfortable consuming information in Bangla than in English 3. who want to know through internet more about Robi - would find this initiative to be very timely, locally sensitive and culturally adaptive.
Robi sets an example for companies in other industries too. Say for example if you are an IT company and if you are trying to woo new clients, partner companies in Denmark primarily – then try having a Danish version of your website too. Just having a target market language version of your website will not be a clear cut guarantee for winning new business but somewhere there is this social element regarding languages in business that it creates a first impression if you attempt to communicate or represent your credentials and expertise in the language of your customers. In the end of the day, you will not win any IT outsourcing business if you have a great Danish version of your website, but your programmers and management included are incompetent and unnprofessional.
Its going to be even more important to have business content in local languages available online. Not only will this increase the outreach of that content to an audience who are more comfortable with local languages, it will also push up local language search engine optimisation, which I guess is still in its infancy.