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How a Quality Website Translation Will Help You Reach More Customers

In the current economy, eCommerce is the go-to shopping platform for many consumers, and the number of online shoppers grows each year. This opens up an effective way to reach new target demographics, both in the U.S. and abroad. In order to reach these demographics, your company should aim to use marketing materials, both print and online, in the preferred language of your target consumers. Your website is the perfect way to reach these consumers... if translated professionally! Here’s how a quality website translation will help you reach more customers.

Don’t assume an English-only website will suffice.

On the whole, people prefer to read information in their native language. By maintaining your website only in English, you risk alienating an entire potential consumer group. In fact, a study by Common Sense Advisory found that over half of consumers simply will not make a purchase on a website if information is not readily available in their native language. 

Translating print materials and advertisements may not be enough.

If you have taken the step to translate some of your marketing materials, like advertisements, mailers and flyers, it is even more critical to offer a seamless website experience in those languages. If a customer is intrigued enough that it drives them to visit your website to learn more, they will expect to find information available in their language once they land on your website. If the process feels seamless and easy for consumers, they are more likely to continue through the sales funnel, because they feel they can trust your company, as well as the information presented.

You could reach more people than you realize with a quality website translation.

More than two-thirds of the world’s internet users speak a language other than English primarily. If you are looking to target a demographic outside of the U.S., it is imperative that you localize your website for these users specifically. Even if you are only looking to reach more U.S. users, the census data shows more than 15% of all adults in the U.S. speak a language other than English at home. This is a large percentage of the population that you could reach in a market where not everyone is already doing so, potentially giving you a huge advantage over competitors.

A quality website translation is an investment in your business. While it may be tempting to use a free translation service or ask a friend who studied the language to do it for you cheaply, this could have disastrous effects for your company and brand. You worked hard on creating the perfect text for your website; make sure that level of quality is reflected in the translation, too! A professional translation will not only correctly display the text in the desired language, it will also capture the nuances and tone you intend to convey to your new target audience, resulting in a more positive experience for your users... and more sales for your company!

If you are interested in translating your website, but are concerned about the budget for the initial investment, we recommend reading Translating and Localizing your Website on a Budget: Where to Begin

And of course, if you have any questions or concerns, let us know. The ATS team is always available  to help.

How Partnering with a Translation Agency Will Maximize Your Marketing Efforts

Translating your marketing content can have huge benefits for your company, especially if you have partnered with an agency that is well-suited for helping you meet your goals in foreign-language markets.  Here are a few tips for working with a translation agency when it comes to maximizing your marketing campaign efforts:

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1. Know your audience. As important as this is in marketing in general, it’s just as important in translation of marketing materials. Where does the ideal audience live and work? What dialect do they speak? Do a little homework on the group you want to reach so that you can provide this information to the agency you choose for your project.

2. Inquire about localization. Whether your content will be in print, on your website or part of a social media outreach plan, localization encompasses more than the translation of a text to reach a specific population. It incorporates the entire concept of the message via the terminology, language, images, colors, etc. used to be relevant to the audience in a specific region or locale. Localization allows you to avoid promoting content that might be offensive in another culture so that you can truly sell your brand well to consumers.

3. Ask about the translators assigned to your project. The translators who handle your marketing content should specialize in the type of translation you require. You wouldn’t want a medical translator who is a native speaker of Chilean Spanish to translate your site’s digital brochures meant for customers in Mexico City. It is perfectly acceptable to ask your project manager about a translator’s credentials so that you can feel confident the work is in good hands.

4. Don’t leave a translation request for the last minute. As soon as you know about the translation project and have the final document in hand, reach out to the translation agency so that the project manager can begin assembling the right team to handle your specific materials. Be up front about your preferred turn-around time on the project. Allow for adequate time to translate your content accurately and professionally.

5. Feel free to request the same team of linguists if you are pleased. If you are pleased with the work the agency has completed for you in the past for you, it is perfectly okay to ask that they utilize the same translators, editors and proofreaders that handled your previous projects. Agencies keep track of the teams it assigns for each project, and ensuring consistency can be as simple as maintaining the same team to work on projects that require similar terminology and context.

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!).

How to Make Updates to Your Translated Technical Materials

When you release a new product, it is often accompanied by an instruction booklet or user manual. If you are targeting a demographic in another country or even one in the U.S. that does not primarily speak English, you’ve likely had manuals like these translated as well.

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If and when your original (or source) English manual changes, it is important to remember to update your translated documents as well. Sometimes, you may release a similar or updated version of the product that only needs a few changes or additions within the existing manual. Here are a few ways to make sure that the translated updates are handled professionally and flow well without needing to have the entire user manual translated all over again.

  • When possible, it is best to work with the same team or agency that translated the original text. They will likely have the ability to use the same team of linguists who worked on the project previously. Since each person has their own unique writing style, even within translations, using the same linguists will ensure your updates read the same as what was originally translated. Consistency across the board is key.
     
  • If you are unable to work with the same team or agency that previously handled your project for you, be sure to send the new team the entire file that was previously translated. This will help the team build a database with resources to get the style of the new text as close as possible to the original translation.
     
  • When you are updating part of the text or adding to it, send over the newly updated English file along with your request. You can highlight the text that needs to be updated or added. Seeing the new text in context will help the team working on your project to deliver the best possible translation for you, without any potential for errors from lack of context. This tip is especially important, as context is everything when it comes to translating texts. If the translation team cannot see the new text in context, there is a potential for errors or misinterpretations of the text. This little step takes only a moment, but it can make or break the outcome of the updated translation.

If you have any questions or concerns about updating product manuals and guides, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are happy to both provide a free quote for the updates, or answer any questions you may have about the process along the way!

How to Ease the College Application and Registration Process for International Students

Applying for and registering for college can be a demanding process for any student. From visa requirements to English proficiency exams, international students face a number of unique challenges when it comes to this same registration process. Here are just a few ways you can help make this process a little easier for incoming international students, and in turn, be a more attractive option for those considering attending your university.

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1. Create a step-by-step guide that includes all the requirements a student will need to fulfill when applying for and registering for classes. This guide should be easily accessible on your university’s website. Consider having separate web pages for each subtask to keep things organized and easy to follow, as well. Each link should be clearly labeled and each page should provide links to the next steps in an easy-to-follow format so that a potential incoming student has no trouble navigating the steps in the process.

2. Consider having a professional translate portions of the admissions web pages. Students often rely on family members or other to help them enroll or make a decision on which institution to attend. Having potentially complicated information available in the student’s/family’s primary language could certainly be helpful in helping them make a decision about choosing your university as their home for the next four years.

3. Provide phone numbers that will connect students directly to someone knowledgeable in international student admissions.  If certain admissions officers or advisors are trained in fielding questions and concerns about different guidelines and forms for international students, route the phone calls directly to these individuals for the best possible experience when these students need help during the process.

Once the student is accepted, offer a separate and required international student orientation when he or she arrives. This orientation should cover all aspects of how your university is equipped to help them succeed as an international student on your campus. This will show students that you are not only dedicated to their success from the very beginning, but it also allows you to instruct them on the resources available as they continue their journey at your university.

What the General Data Protection Regulation Could Mean for Your Company

If your company has access to data from customers within the European Union (EU), it is important to understand what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will mean for you. The new data protection standards by the GDPR will be made effective on May 25, 2018. This not only affects companies based in countries within the EU, but it will also impact U.S.-based businesses that have access to data for their EU consumers. Since violating the new GDPR standards could result in serious fines for a company, we’ve put together a few key points to make sure you are ready for the changes coming up on May 25th.

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  • Do not assume you will not be affected just because you don’t have offices in the EU. All companies that have access to data from EU consumers need to be aware of the changes. If, for example, your company manufactures and sells products via a website that is accessible in Europe and provides the option to pay in Euros or British Pounds, this affects you, too.
     
  • The regulations do not only apply to data you collect moving forward, but retroactively as well. If your company has not already taken steps to examine and assess where all of your data is stored, it is important to begin now. Your organization will need to make sure you have the ability to do the following with this data, according to the new regulation’s standards:
    • erase a consumer’s entire data profile at their request;
    • provide information to the consumer about exactly what data you are processing, where you are storing it, and the purpose this data collection serves;
    • provide the consumer with a copy of the personal data you’ve collected about them at their request.

The consumer also has the right to question and fight all decisions that may impact them if the decisions were made on a purely algorithmic basis.

  • Failing to meet the requirements of the GDPR could result in a fine of up to $23 million or 4% of your company’s annual worldwide turnover. Fines this hefty could put some companies out of business. There are cyber insurance policies available, but whether or not to invest in this type of service will depend on every company’s individual needs.

The standards put in place by the GDPR are quite different from the more liberal U.S. approach to consumer data collection. So if your company may be impacted by these changes, it is imperative that you begin preparing now for the May 25 changes. Should you need help providing the information to consumers from any of the bullet points above in specific languages, now’s the best time to get the ball rolling and plan for 2018. We’re here to help!

How to Become Known as the "Go-To" Realtor Among Speakers of Other Languages

With the ever-growing number of LEP individuals in the United States, it may seem like learning multiple languages would be the best way to help grow your real estate business. According to HUD, nearly 9% of the U.S. population has limited English proficiency, and about 65% of those LEP individuals speak Spanish at home. Although being able to speak with buyers in their own language is helpful, it thankfully isn’t the only way to connect with this market. Here are a few ways you can become their go-to realtor in other ways.

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1.     Find your resources. Many state REALTOR® associations provide translated copies of forms and contracts for association members. If you are a member of your state association, be sure to request this information in the languages you encounter most often. Work with lenders and title companies who offer translations of their documents, as well. A buyer who understands what he or she is agreeing to is more likely to feel appreciated and supported during the purchasing process, and therefore, more likely to recommend you and your office to friends and family when they are considering purchasing a property. The Federal National Mortgage Association, Fannie Mae, offers a translated glossary and other forms in Spanish, as well. It is worth downloading these forms for your clients to ensure they understand the process.

2.     Offer interpreting services when necessary. It is vital to ensure that your clients understand the entire property purchasing process. If your client does not completely understand what is happening, you could potentially omit steps that may be important to him/her. Your client could, for example, forego a home inspection contingency in the purchasing agreement without realizing it if they misunderstand what you’ve said in a review of the contract itself. Providing an interpreter, either in person or over the phone, will help your client feel more at ease asking and answering questions, especially when it comes to the more complicated or technical components of  contracts and negotiations.

3.     A little effort goes a long way. You don’t have to be fluent in another language to make a lasting and positive impression on your LEP clients. Make an effort to learn a few key phrases and greetings in the languages you come across most frequently. Your clients will appreciate the effort, knowing you’ve taken the time to learn how to greet them in their own language. You should also learn more about the culture of your LEP clients when possible. Knowing whether to greet with a handshake, or another form of greeting will go a long way with your clients. Handing your customers a professionally translated one-page sheet with information about you and your background can truly sell them on wanting to work with you as their realtor. It shows that you took the time to provide them information in the language in which they feel most comfortable, and you’ve told them more about yourself, which makes them put trust in you and your expertise.

Bonus Tip! The National Association of REALTORS® offers language books and programs to their members at no additional charge. You can search for offerings on their website at https://www.nar.realtor/library 

As the foreign-language market continues to grow here in the U.S., becoming the go-to realtor for one or some of these demographics has huge growth potential for your real estate business. Buyers who have a positive experience with you and your office are likely to recommend you to their friends, family, and colleagues who may need someone more sensitive to their language needs. If you’ve found other ways to effectively engage with your foreign-language market, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

Is there such a thing as Universal Spanish in translation?

Although we know that producing translations that are localized as specifically as possible depending on the particular locale of your intended audience(s) can be fruitful, many people find it may not be realistic to have their project localized for all of the different varieties of Spanish spoken in different locales. In 2010, Spanish was ranked number two in terms of the number of native speakers worldwide, falling second only to Mandarin. There are many different countries with Spanish speakers, and oftentimes, a company may want to release its product to an audience that spans across several of these different locales.

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While each area has a different dialect, and therefore could require specific changes in the final localized product, it is not always within a company’s budget to go through this process for every locale. So, one might pose the question, “Is there a universal Spanish I can use? Something everyone will understand?” The answer to this is both “yes” and “no” and may also depend on the text itself.

Even though there may not be an official “Universal Spanish” dialect, there are certainly terms and phrases that are considered more "neutral" without the influence of local jargon or slang. The Real Academia Española, for example, strives to provide terms that are recognized by speakers of various dialects and does well to provide the standard definitions of words, as well as their various possible colloquial meanings, which may vary by country or region. For this reason, it is a good resource and starting point to localize a translated text into a Spanish that is somewhat universal.

However, it is still noteworthy to mention that the translators and editors of your content are influenced by their own respective countries and locales, which can inadvertently impact a word choice for even the most skilled linguist. They can work together to provide the most neutral Spanish possible, and a skilled team will provide a great rendition of the text with terms that are understood as widely as possible. There is always the potential that someone will read a translated word or phrase and not immediately recognize it as one they would use in their own dialect, but typically, context allows one to perceive the intended meaning.

In short, it is definitely possible to translate a text and localize it for a more universal Spanish overall. However, in doing so, there is no guarantee that the language team will not choose a term or phrase that is more commonly used in one area over another, despite its general neutrality. If you know that your target audience is specific to a few locales, it is best to let your translation project manager know so that he or she can ensure the finalized product is best suited for your needs. It may be the case that your text is better suited to a specific area, rather than trying to remain universal.