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How to Attract Chinese Real Estate Buyers

Chinese home buyers have led the pack in foreign sales for the past four straight years, and according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2016 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, Chinese buyers account for over 27% of all international home sales in the United States. Not only are Chinese buyers purchasing more often than any other international buyer, but they’re spending more as well. In 2016, the average purchase price for other foreign buyers was $477,462. The average purchase price for Chinese buyers was $936,615! And ~71% of those purchases were paid in cash. If your company is not already focusing on this demographic, it’s a great time to start. Here are a few ways you can appeal to the Chinese homebuyer.

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· Translate listings. A Chinese buyer will likely be using search terms in his/her native language. If your listings are already translated into Chinese, it will simplify the process for potential buyers and ensure your listings show up in more search results for them.

· Attract via social media. It’s important to note that the Chinese do not use traditional social media channels like Facebook and Twitter that we use here, due to strict Internet regulations in China. Instead they use apps like WeChat, and it’s likely they’ll prefer communicating directly within the app since it’s actually the primary way the Chinese connect these days. You can download this app now and create your professional profile to start promoting listings right away.

· Learn about Chinese culture. Take a few minutes to look into what is considered proper etiquette to a Chinese buyer. You can find a great list here. This will help you learn more about Chinese customs in order to make positive first impressions.

· Consider the language. You can, of course, hire an agent who is also fluent in Mandarin. However, this is not necessary. Even if buyers do not speak English, you can communicate with them by utilizing on-site or telephonic interpreting services.

· Be patient! These clients live in China, which means they are 12 to 15 hours ahead of realtors here in the U.S. Email and text communication may take 24 hours to complete, since each person is in an entirely different time zone. Be patient and know that building a proper relationship with this person may take some time, but if you are consistent, prompt and helpful, they are more likely choose you as their realtor when they decide to invest in a property.

If you’ve had success with Chinese buyers in your area, we’d love to hear success stories and your own pointers. Feel free to comment below and share them with us!

How to Prepare Your Product for Certifications Before You Export

When deciding to export your product to another country there are many things to consider. One of these things is potential product certifications in these countries that you may not have to have obtain here in the U.S. Knowing which certifications are required for exporting your product is vital in gaining approval to sell your product abroad.

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If you are exporting to countries within the European Union (EU), you’ll want to look into the European CE Marking Guidance. Once your product has the CE marking, it shows that the product has been or will be certified to meet EU health, safety and environmental requirements to ensure consumer safety. Once you’ve obtained this CE marking, only then will you be able to market your product throughout the EU. For more information on the program (and whether or not your product may require the CE marking), you can review the program overview.

If, on the other hand, you decide to export your product to China, you’ll need to work on obtaining the China Compulsory Certification (CCC Mark). This went into effect in 2002, replacing the certifications of the China Import and Export commodity Inspection Bureau and the China Commission for conformity Certification of Electrical Equipment. If it has been many years since you exported products to China and you are looking to do so again, be sure to familiarize yourself with the new certification process for the CCC Mark.

If you find that a specific country’s certifications, standards or trade barriers for your product are unfairly arduous or discriminatory, you can seek help from the U.S. Government to press for their removal. You can look into filing a complaint online with the Trade Compliance Center or you can also contact the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) at 202-395-3000.

Although you can certainly complete the steps for certification on your own, you may also find that you wish to work with a professional agency when you decide to certify your product in a foreign market. There are several from which to choose, so if you do decide to go with one to potentially simplify things for you, check around for the company or agency that will best suit your needs.

*Accessible Translation Solutions provides this information for informational purposes only and is not responsible for its use or perception by the reader. For more information on any of the product certifications mentioned, rely on your own research in order to make the most informed decision possible.

Translating Foreign Legal Documents: What to Remember

Legal translation is a very complex task, and it’s one that not just anyone can take on. A translated legal document must be able to stand up in a court of law and therefore needs to be translated, edited, and perfected by a team of linguists who can make this happen. Here are a few things to consider about the translation process when you find you need to have a foreign legal document translated.

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  • It is imperative that the team of linguists who handles the translation specialize in legal translation. Working with a non-legal translation team can seriously impact your credibility (and have possible legal ramifications) if the translated document is not found to be completely accurate and true to the original.
     
  • If the language pair you’re translating into/from uses a different alphabet or series of characters, supplying your translation provider with parties’ names to ensure that they are listed correctly on the translated document is vital. Otherwise, they will have to make their best guess of how to portray it phonetically. If text is difficult to decipher on the scanned copy, supply that text as well. If it is not provided, the translation team will write “[illegible]” instead of trying to make a best guess. Signatures and stamps/seals are sometimes not translated unless requested, but will include “[signature]” and “[stamp]” or “[seal]” where appropriate as well.
     
  • Determine whether or not you need a sworn translator to complete the work or if a letter certifying the translation will be sufficient. Sworn translators have been certified by their country to execute a sworn translated document that is legally valid and binding in his or her country. Examples of documents that must be legally valid in a foreign country—and so, are often handled by sworn translators—are birth certificates, patents, and proofs of identity such as a driver’s license, state ID or passport.

    A certified translation, on the other hand, is accompanied by a signed statement affirming that the translation is accurate and complete to the best of the translator’s knowledge. Documents used for hearings or trial, such as evidence and transcripts, can often just be accompanied by such a statement.
     
  • Depending on the country it will be presented in or the judge requesting the document, you may also need to have the translated documented notarized or bear an apostille. An apostille will be issued by the embassy of a country that has signed the Hague Apostille Convention and is usually signed by an embassy official. Please let the agency know if an apostille or notarization is necessary for your particular document or case so that they can ensure these steps are handled on your behalf. You will also want to factor in the extra time it will take to get the notarization and apostille, as typically you must have the original translated document in hard copy to show the original seals and stamps necessary.

Since taking the appropriate steps for your translated document can make a difference in its validity in the courtroom or in other legal settings, it is important to make sure to handle them correctly. Be sure to use a professional agency or translation team and always ask any questions you may have along the way.

Localization Fails in International Markets: Don't Let This Be You!

Localization is the process of adapting a product to your target market’s cultural, technical, and linguistic requirements. Localizing your product and marketing strategy ensures your international audience is able to interact with your product effortlessly in a way that seems like it was created just for them. Having a professional team handle the localization process is crucial, as these 5 brands found out after their own localization blunders!

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1. Apple. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, the Apple II was localized for various European markets and Japan. In a race to launch before competitor IBM, Apple failed to localize their keyboard for European markets, and did not include umlauts, accents and other punctuation marks necessary to write in many European languages. They also neglected to translate their user manuals entirely into Japanese! IBM may have reached these markets more slowly, but their focus on proper localization meant they had greater success over Apple’s hastily handled global product release.

2. Pepsi. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, Pepsi decided to go international. Their slogan at the time? “Come alive! You’re in the Pepsi generation!”. The campaign was a success in the West, but ran into some hitches when they tried to localize it for China and Germany. In China, it was mistranslated as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead!” and in Germany as “Rise from the grave with Pepsi!” Not exactly the slogan they were hoping for!

3. Honda. In 2001, this Japanese car manufacturer decided not to change the name of the Fitta when releasing the compact car in Sweden. Unfortunately for Honda, “fitta” is a vulgar word in Swedish, referring to a woman’s genitals. Yikes! Honda quickly made a change and decided to call the car the Honda Jazz in Europe and the Honda Fit in the U.S.

4. Parker Pens. In 1994, Parker Pens decided to market its pens to a Mexican audience. Their headline was “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you” but the word for “embarrass” was mistranslated as “embarazar” which means “impregnate” in Spanish! The mistranslated ad read “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant”. Oops!

5. Starbucks. In Italian, “latte” means “milk”, so Starbucks used the term to sell their café latte drink in their European and English-speaking markets. This worked well pretty much everywhere… except in Germany. In German, “latte” literally means “pole”, but is used as a slang term to mean “male erection”, so you can imagine the reaction when Starbucks began selling lattes in its German locations! The German people, however, took it mostly in good humor and Starbucks actually still includes the untranslated drink on its menu there even today!

To successfully launch a product globally, be sure you’ve got a professional team handling it for you. This will ensure you do not succumb to potentially disastrous errors for your company abroad (and it keep you off of lists like these!).

Specific Challenges for International Students and How to Overcome Them

When it comes to starting a career at a new college, all students have their own sets of challenges. International students, however, face a unique set. Not only are they beginning a new semester at an American university, but they are beginning this journey in an entirely new country. Here are a few of the challenges international students may face when they arrive on your campus.

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  • Culture shock. Coming to the United States from another country can be quite difficult for international students. They have to become accustomed to things like what foods we eat, how we dress, how to address their fellow students and professors, etc. Also, students may find themselves with more or less structure or leisure time than they would in their home countries, which can be quite an adjustment. These may seem like minor issues, but culture shock is real.
     
  • Academics. The academic world can be very different in the U.S. as well. Grades may be calculated differently here than back home, and they may not be used to the idea of having homework every day to complete after classes have finished.  There is also a larger focus on general education requirements in the U.S. than there are in other countries, so international students may be confused by having to take Gen. Ed. courses that are so far removed from what their major actually is.
     
  • Classroom structure. International students may not be used to having discussions in class, as in many countries, the professor leads lectures and students simply listen, only speaking when spoken to or asked a specific question. This means that international students may not be comfortable speaking up in classroom discussions and may need some extra encouragement to participate. Some professors may be more or less formal than what they are used to in their home country as well, meaning the student has to figure out the appropriate way to adjust to each individual class.
     
  • Language barriers. Even though international students have to pass an English proficiency exam to study in the U.S., this does not always mean adjusting to life in a completely English-speaking world will be easy. Students come to your campus from different parts of the country and will have differing accents, slang terms, and speak at different speeds.  Over time, this should get easier and easier for your international students, but there is certainly an adjustment period.
     
  • Homesickness. International students are usually excited to be here, but that does not mean they do not miss friends, family, and their way of life back home. For some, this can make the rest of the adjustments all the more difficult.

While you may not be able to necessarily relieve these issues for international students, understanding some of their unique challenges is key in being able to help them adjust to student life here in the U.S. more easily, making your university a more welcoming place for them to spend their semester. This, in turn, means that they are more likely to recommend your university to their peers back home.

Strategies for Teaching ELL Students in the Mainstream Classroom

Educators know that the needs of each student can be different and there is no one-size fits all approach to teaching. While the same can be said for the English Language Learners (ELLs) in the classroom, there are a few techniques that may help them succeed and master the content being taught in the mainstream classroom.

  • Use visual aids.  ELL students often have a more difficult time processing spoken language over written language. When possible, write simple, clear instructions on the board. You can also add pictures and diagrams for more complex topics when teaching to help aid their understanding of the topic. If it’s something you can demonstrate or show them how to do first, even better!
     
  • Respect that there may be times when your ELL students wish to remain silent. Don’t force them to talk if they don’t want to during these periods. Chances are, as long as ELL students pay attention and feel encouraged in other areas, they will be happy to participate in oral discussions once they feel more confident in their language abilities.
     
  • Work with an ESL teacher if available to help determine English proficiency. An ESL instructor can be a valuable resource for determining what may or may not be too advanced for a particular student based on where they are in the learning process. You may also be able to work with this ESL teacher to let them know what topics you plan to cover in class, and they can incorporate some of that vocabulary in the ESL class, as well.
     
  • Let them use their native language as needed to help them work through a problem or question. Obviously, you don’t want their native language to be the only one your student speaks in the classroom, but using it to help think through a problem and come to a solution can be a great tool for proper understanding. An ELL student may need to count in their primary language, for example, in order to solve a math problem. This is natural and shouldn’t be discouraged.
     
  • Speak clearly and a little more slowly. Modify your vocabulary for ELLs when possible, being sure not to use slang or expressions that are only common in the U.S., as these will not necessarily be mastered yet by your student. Also be careful not to simply speak loudly. Remember, ELL students can hear you just as well as your native English-speaking students. ;)
     
  • Try not to correct oral grammar mistakes in front of peers. If you need an ELL student to clarify something, it’s okay to ask. However, correcting grammar in front of the rest of the class may result in the student no longer feeling comfortable speaking up and participating in class. You can sometimes correct grammar with your responses to the statement, though. If, for example, an ELL student tells you, “I go to the park yesterday” you can say something along the lines of, “Oh, you went to the park yesterday? How fun!” These types of corrections can be helpful as long as they are integrated into a conversation. Students will pick up on the differences and will incorporate them over time.

Above all else, it is important to take ELLs seriously. They are usually working harder to master concepts than the rest of the class, since processing information in a second (or third!) language can take two to three times as long as it does to process in their native language. Feel free to communicate directly with your students and their parents to determine if you need to make any adjustments to your teaching technique with them, since, like any other student, their individual needs may vary significantly from someone else’s.

Marketing to Speakers of Other Languages: A Step-By-Step Plan

With 2018 in full swing, you’re likely considering new ways to market your business. One thing you may want to consider is reaching out to a new demographic. Have you ever thought about marketing directly to speakers of languages other than English? It may seem a little daunting if English is the only language you’re comfortable speaking. The great news is, however, you don’t actually have to speak another language to effectively market to a demographic that does! You can market to this audience in a variety of ways, which can have a positive impact on your brand in the new year. Here are 5 steps for targeting your non-English speaking client base in 2018.

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1.    Start with your website. Websites are a great way to interact with customers who do not speak English. Your customers are most likely starting their online search for a product or service by searching for those with information available in their preferred language. If your website and offerings are translated and localized on your website, they will feel confident in your ability to assist them, and they will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to tailor your content to them. Be sure to use a professional translator or agency to handle this. Errors caused by free translation tools can be extreme and really hurt your brand, even though you have great intentions!

2.    Develop a multilingual SEO strategy. Once you have professionally translated and localized your website, you’ll want to consider a multilingual Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. If your website isn’t showing up in search results, the translation you’ve paid to complete will not provide much return on your investment. Analyze your audience and tailor this new strategy to them. You’ll find that it often differs greatly from what you’ve already created for your English-speaking customers. 

3.    Focus on your local market first. While online marketing is important, it is not the only way to reach your new audience. Partner with local businesses in your community, specifically those who already have an existing customer base in your target demographic. See if you can leave your business cards or brochures there as well. And if these items are translated, even better!

4.    Deliver an effective and targeted email campaign. If you are already sending out email newsletters, consider translating them for your non-English speaking readers. You may not have to translate everything within your newsletter, but if you know your customer's email address and preferred language/region, you can target your content specifically to that group. Email blasts in someone’s preferred language are more likely to drive traffic to your website and are a quick and easy way to stay in touch with those who have already decided they trust you enough to hand over their email address!

BONUS TIP #1! Don’t forget to ask for referrals or testimonials you can use in your marketing or on your website. Once you’ve driven more traffic there, it’s a great way for new and/or potential customers to see why working with you is such a wonderful option.

5.    Put your information in local multilingual publications. Don’t neglect print marketing! Dedicate some advertising dollars to multilingual publications in your area, ensuring the advertisement is localized for your non-English speaking audience. You can direct customers to your website for more information, which will help drive traffic there and deliver more information to this target audience!

BONUS TIP #2! Utilize interpreters (on-site or telephonic) as needed for your new customers. Once they have reached out to you, make sure you have a way to communicate with them if you do not already speak their language. You can use telephonic interpreters for initial meetings, and look into bringing in an on-site interpreter for client meetings or any interaction that involves contracts or providing more information as things progress, if you prefer. Trust us… the growth you’ll see from marketing to a new demographic will be worth the investment!

How to Effectively Target the Hispanic Market with Your Real Estate Business

At a time when home ownership is the lowest it has been in around 50 years, it is important to figure out where potential growth can come from for your real estate business. The demographic to watch and focus on is most certainly the Hispanic demographic.

According to the 2016 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report, Hispanic homeownership rates have been increasing for the past two consecutive years whereas the overall national rates have been declining. Hispanics are earning more money, are becoming better educated, and are forming households at a faster pace than any other demographic in the country. As more and more Hispanics enter their prime home-buying years, this rate of homeownership should continue to increase.

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As a realtor wanting to focus on attracting Hispanic homebuyers, what can you do?

  • Market your brand with this demographic in mind, but be sure to avoid Hispanic stereotyping in your advertising or messaging. Instead, tailor your message to speak to their wants, needs, and values without including an insensitive stereotype.
  • Translate your listings and other searchable information. Work with an agency to have a professional translation team translate your listings into Spanish to appeal to Hispanic buyers. Not only will a translated listing be more likely to come up in a search result if your potential client is using search terms in Spanish, but buyers will also feel more confident about the property and their decision to purchase through you. Make sure you don’t try to run translations through any automated tools like Google Translate or similar. Doing so will turn up results that are often laughable to your customers and will not bode well for your business or an accurate understanding.
     
  • Look to add a Spanish-speaking agent to your agency’s team. Approximately 7% of real estate agents in the United States are Hispanic. However, 25% of Hispanic buyers say they would prefer to work with a real estate agent who can assist them in Spanish. As the Hispanic home-buying market continues to grow in the coming years, this disparity will become more and more obvious, especially if your agency does not have someone who is able to communicate with this group in their preferred language.
     
  • If you do not have a Spanish-speaking agent available, you could utilize the services of an on-site interpreter to show homes and have meetings with clients, or you might consider telephonic interpreting as an option for these contacts. Even if you do not speak Spanish, knowing that an interpreter is available will make Hispanic buyers feel more at ease with you if Spanish is their preferred language.

Hispanics are typically a very brand-loyal consumer base. Once you effectively engage with this group and begin to grow your Hispanic client base, it is essential that you do everything in your power to make their experience a positive one. If not, negative word-of-mouth and online feedback could hinder your agency’s ability to build a relationship with this demographic in the coming years.