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Tips for a Custom Welcome Packet for International Students

International students have a lot to prepare for before they begin their first semester at your university. Having a comprehensive welcome packet created with them in mind can truly go a long way in making them feel a little less nervous (and a little more ready!) about adjusting to life in the United States and at your institution.


Since students will receive your university’s welcome packet while they are still in their home country, and will likely be going over certain aspects of it with their families, it can be beneficial to have certain parts of the packet translated in a dual-language format. This way, both the student and their family can review the information together in a way that helps everyone feel confident about the student traveling so far away from home. It will also solidify their decision that your university is the right place for this next adventure.

While translating the entire packet may not be necessary, here are a few sections you may consider translating before sending future welcome packets to international students:

Tips for preparing to come to the U.S. There is a lot that goes into preparing for international travel and study. From visas, to travel tips about U.S. airlines, which documents the student will need upon reaching a port of entry, to even whether or not his or her mobile phone will still work here, there are so many factors to consider. Many students may wish to review this section with their families. Having it available in their native language will make the process that much smoother.

Finances (tuition, budgets, banking). Many families may be assisting with or covering tuition costs or other monetary needs for the student. Making this information available in the family’s primary language could prove very helpful in the event the family needs to reference it in order to help the student prepare his or her finances and budget in advance.

Information on medical care and options. The health care system in the United States is quite different than in any other country. If your international students will be automatically enrolled in any type of insurance through your university, or if they need to shop for some sort of plan on their own, this is an important distinction to make and something students may also wish to review with their families before departure. This helps everyone to know that the student is safe and covered in the event of a medical emergency or simply for routine doctor’s visits. It may also be helpful to translate information regarding the different types of immunizations that may be required before the student travels to the U.S.

Providing this information in a student’s primary language can be a great start in making things just a little easier for everyone involved. Above all, though, simply having an easily accessible and specific welcome packet emailed to the student once they are accepted to your university will create a lasting impression that they are valued and welcome on your campus.

Three Things to Consider Before Exporting Your Product to Another Country

Three Things to Consider Before Exporting Your Product to Another Country

Thinking about launching a new product overseas? There are certain factors you should consider before you do. While it can be very lucrative for your company to expand to other markets, it can also be detrimental if you overlook some key considerations. So how do you make the call for your business? These three points can help you decide if your business is ready to launch a new product overseas.

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How Societal Values and Customs Can Make or Break Your International Deal

How Societal Values and Customs Can Make or Break Your International Deal

If your company is based in the United States, you are likely familiar with business etiquette here in North America. It would be normal, expected even, for you to arrive on time (or better… early!) and shake someone’s hand when you greet them during a business meeting, for example, or even to invite fellow associates out for dinner to both discuss a potential deal and socialize with your colleagues.

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ATS Client Feature: VoicePad

ATS Client Feature: VoicePad

It's time for a brand new ATS Client Feature in our monthly series! In case you're new to our Client Features, each month we share one of our favorite translation and interpreting clients. This month we're pleased to feature a client who has been with us since we opened our doors, VoicePad. If you're a real estate agent and could use their services for your business, please reach out to them!

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Your Website is Translated... Now What?

If you’ve recently translated your website, then you’ve taken a huge first step in terms of growing your marketing demographic! However, you may notice that your customer base does not necessarily grow right off the bat just based on the translated website alone. Your goal to expand your customer base into other cultures is a great one, and here are some steps to help drive traffic to your newly translated website and continue along the path of reaching this new demographic.

  • Create marketing plans aimed at bringing in your new target demographic. Advertise your content in sources relevant to this group, localizing your advertisements to reach these new customers. If your customers do not realize that there is an entire web page designed with them in mind, you won’t see the full benefit of its creation!
  • Use social media to your advantage! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are just a few popular social media channels that can help you reach more people faster. Know which social media platforms you’d like your company to start with, and focus on those. Learn what drives customer engagement across these channels and begin to implement these. Create a Facebook business page specific to your company’s niche within this target market. Point people to the content on your site whenever it’s relevant to send people there so that they engage with you where you’d like them to end up. Ensure your social media pages are easily identifiable as your own brand, but specific to your new market. If your company’s brand is typically associated with being carefree, make sure your new page adapts that perception, but tailor it to your audience. You might, for example, have someone run a “Business Name_Mexico” Instagram page to ensure the content is relevant. Such relevant and engaging content will drive your customers from social media to your website.
  • Engage with target customers on review sites when possible. This lets them know their voice is heard and that your company is serious about engaging with them in their own language on topics that are important to them.

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Once you’ve driven traffic to your website, it is important to keep these customers engaged to avoid losing them. Make your website visually appealing and tailor it to your target market. Be sure the first things your customers see when they visit the site are relevant to their needs. If it is not visually appealing or puts the customer off in any way, you run the risk of them leaving the website and not returning. You can also get feedback by surveying your customers while they’re using the site. Many people will gladly share their opinion and may help you identify any potential issues on the site as it relates to that culture (or in general!) and how you could possibly fix that going forward. This newly translated website is a great step in ensuring you are reaching your new customer base, and with the right focus on demographic going forward, you should see your website’s traffic increase along the way.

What is Localization and Why Should It Matter to My Company?

Localization, often abbreviated as L10N, is the process of adapting a product to a specific locale or culture. Having your product localized can make a huge difference in ensuring that it is perceived well in the market you are trying to reach. It is easy to think translating your product is enough. Although translation is a part of localization, it is only one step in the process. Knowing what to consider when deciding whether or not to localize your product could take your company to the next level and increase your bottom line.

 As mentioned, translation is part of the localization process. Translating your source text into the language your intended audience speaks is critical as to whether or not they will understand it. Therefore, having a text translated into a target audience’s native language is key. However, it is not the only step to consider. If you expect your product to reach other audiences, especially overseas, ask your translation vendor about the localization process and how it may benefit your particular product.

Burger King's Steakhouse Burger was introduced to Argentina with this colorful advertisement, which included the pronunciation of "Steakhouse" and pricing in pesos. As Argentina is known for its beef, the content of the burger did not need to be adapted. (Photo: Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo, Buenos Aires, 2011)

So, if localization is not just translation, what more does it include? Let’s take the idea of a company’s website. If your company launches a website in the United States, but wants to begin shipping the items to other countries, there are several items to consider. First, decide which country or countries are in your target market. In this case, your company decides to begin shipping to the United Kingdom and Mexico. You know you need to translate the website into Spanish for the Mexican audience, but what else? This is where localization comes in. Here are a few things to consider when localizing your website to these particular markets:

  • Language
  1. Even though English is also the official language of the UK, it is a different variant of English than that spoken in the United States. Many terms and phrases that work well in North American English do not mean the same thing in the UK. Localization can help avoid potentially confusing terms or phrases, as well as let the readers know that the text was written with them in mind.
  2. Simply using a Spanish-language translator for the Mexican audience may not be enough. Just as English in the UK is different than English in the United States, Mexican Spanish will be different than the Spanish spoken in other Latin American countries or in Spain. Proper localization will ensure the translator is fluent in Mexican Spanish to ensure the language meets the needs of your intended audience.
  • Currency

    A product that costs $50 USD will cost 650.14 Mexican Pesos or 29.38 British Pounds (as of June 27, 2014). Your company must ensure your website converts these prices properly and charges enough to cover the added cost of international shipping, if you so desire. This will help drive more sales in your international market. Consumers will be more likely to purchase the product if the prices are listed in their own currency.

  • Formatting/Design
  1. Text that fits properly on your current website may not fit the layout of the translated version. When translating from English to Spanish, the space needed tends to be more. The localization team will help ensure text boxes are expanded to allow for the text to fit on the page without displaying a messy layout on the website itself.
  2. Localizing the graphics for your intended audience is also important. If part of your site contains a graphic showing children playing baseball in front of an American flag, it may not hold the same appeal overseas. The localization team suggest using a graphic with children playing soccer in front of the Mexican flag, for example. Changes like these will help continue to drive traffic to your site if consumers feel like the page is geared toward them.

There are many more factors to take into account when localizing content. A few other points to consider are changing the format of dates, addresses, and telephone numbers, changing color schemes if there are local color sensitivities, etc. A properly localized product will look as though it was developed within the local culture and not simply translated for a basic understanding of the text. Your product will have much more appeal to audiences within these locales if localized properly. Talk to your translation vendor to determine whether or not localization services are provided and what specific benefits it could have for your particular project, as well as for your brand.

When translating marketing materials makes sense for your company

If your company uses marketing materials to reach potential customers, you may have already considered translating these materials into other languages, and wondered what the benefits could be for your company if you do so. Deciding whether or not translating these materials would benefit your company is a big decision, and we understand it may not be something you take lightly. There are a few things to keep in mind when making this decision:

-        Who is your target market? If your business is located in an area with a larger population of Limited English Proficient (LEP) speakers, it may make sense to target this demographic as potential customers. Translating marketing materials into a customer’s native language can help the customer feel appreciated and also help him or her fully understand your business. A customer who does not understand your advertisements is less likely to feel engaged with your brand. According to the 2010 Census, 12.4% of Americans speak Spanish as their main language, 3.7% speak other Indo-European languages, and 3% speak Asian and Pacific languages. Take a look at the US Census for further detail as to language use in your specific area. This is a great tool to help determine the need for translated materials and what languages make the most sense for your company.

-        How does it fit into your budget? Although translating your marketing materials may seem like an unnecessary cost up front, especially if you have a large number of materials to translate, it could easily mean a full return on your investment (and then some) in a short amount of time. If your translations help to attract new clients, it will earn your company new business. If these customers feel appreciated and fully understand how your business works, they will be more likely to become repeat customers, which is wonderful news for your bottom line. Moreover, you may not need to translate all of your materials at once. Prioritize those that will be most effective for this target market. Other materials can always be translated at a later date.

A professional translator will understand how best to deliver your specific brand and message to the desired demographic and provide that translation for these new customers. If the potential client base is there, whether in the U.S. or overseas, we certainly recommend making the initial investment to translate your marketing materials. The long-term payoff for your company is well worth the initial cost to start the translation process. For a free quote, contact us today.

Marketing Your Website To a Global Community: Transcreating Your Brand

You may have heard us talk about "transcreation" before. It's a term that we adopted from a colleague and friend, Joe Kutchera, author of Latino Link: Building Brands Online with Hispanic Communities and Content. Our CEO, Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo reviewed Joe's book in Multilingual Magazine a few years ago and one of the chapters that intrigued us most was Chapter 8: "Localizing your website for Latinos". Ok, we admit that we were intrigued by every chapter, but this one really stood out to us. Many of our clients request translation and localization of their print materials, but they don't always take into account that the way most of their clients find them is via the internet. Yet, a lot still have not translated the text on their site, nor localized the images and language used to fit their multilingual and multicultural target markets. We like to tell our clients that we want to "transcreate" their sites and materials, not just translate and localize them. Yes, both of these are part of the transcreation process, but it's important that companies like ours offer their services in a way that allows our clients' marketing materials to stand out and maintain the heart and message of the brand itself. This means that not only are we translating the text and making sure that images, colors and other visual aspects are appropriate for the target market audience, but we also take it a step further and have our in-country reviewers (i.e. reviewers that look for certain elements in the produced material that will ensure that the brand's message carries over not only to those who speak the foreign language on U.S. soil, but also in the country or countries where the language is spoken).

A basic example of this is the too-often seen image of a man sleeping by a cactus on anything that has to do with Mexico. Many times in the U.S. we see this image on Mexican restaurant signage. However, for most Mexican nationals, this image is offensive, as it promotes a sense of laziness in the culture that could not be further from the truth. In-country reviewers would never allow such an image to appear on marketing materials for a company who wants to do business in Mexico or in the U.S. with the Latino market.

Another element is the language used. Sadly, many people are too quick to integrate a plug-in on their site that allows visitors to click on their language and suddenly the page is translated into what claims to be an accurate translation in another language. However, many of these plug-ins are simply electronic translations that are pulling information from all over the web to match up words and produce a text within seconds that is mostly incomprehensible. This type of plug-in shows multilingual visitors that the company does not care enough about its site and marketing to take the time to reach them properly. They will know that the information was not written for them, and most will not bother to try to decipher the jumble that remains once they click. Think about this carefully....yes, it's free and quick, but would you feel that a company cared about you as a customer if you could not even read their site coherently? We would not, and most people we know would not.

Take the time to get a quote from a professional language service and see what you can do to reach out to a global community. You'd be surprised how much more traffic will be driven to your site, and the market you will attract just by reaching out and transcreating your brand.

We'll leave you with something tweeted by a skilled translator recently...oh, the irony.

"So sad to have to translate stuff like this [...] 'To help you navigate our website, please use Google translate, a third-party service that provides automated computer translations'".