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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 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.

Marketing Your Practice to Speakers of Other Languages: A Step-By-Step Plan For the New Year

With 2018 just around the corner, you’re likely considering new ways to market your practice. 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.

1.    Start with your website. Websites are a great way to interact with clients who do not speak English. Your clients are most likely starting their online search for an attorney by searching for those with information available in their preferred language. If your website and service offerings are translated on your website, they will feel confident in your practice’s 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 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 clients. 

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 to your clients, consider translating them for your non-English speaking clients. You may not have to translate everything within your newsletter, but if you know your client’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 clients 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 for your practice to multilingual publications in your area, ensuring the advertisement is localized for your non-English speaking audience. You can direct them 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 clients. Once your clients 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, depositions, etc. 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 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!

When to Call an Interpreter for Your Next Employee Meeting

Good, clear communication can be difficult enough to accomplish when you and your employees all speak the same language. If your employee does not speak English at all or has limited English proficiency (LEP), then the task of communicating during your HR meetings is especially problematic. Whether discussing a personal matter during a disciplinary meeting or handling ongoing training for a group of employees all at once, it is important to know when to bring in an interpreter. Here are just a few examples of when to call in a professional interpreter to assist you.

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1.     Your meeting involves disciplinary action. Even if your LEP employee has been able to “get by” during the vast majority of your meetings, it is best to use an interpreter if you need anything signed involving disciplinary action, and especially for terminating employment at your organization. If you are giving an employee feedback on his or her job performance, it is critical that he or she understand both what is expected moving forward and why the meeting was called in the first place. If the employee does not understand both of these things, there is little chance that he or she will be able to implement the necessary changes to continue to move your organization forward, and protect you both from any misunderstandings if proper language access is not made available.

2.     Training your LEP employees on new material. You may also need an interpreter if you are training a group of LEP individuals on something critical to their job performance. Someone may have a very good grasp of the vernacular used for everyday conversations within the workplace, but he or she could be completely incapable of understanding specific jargon or more technical training, especially in written forms like manuals or signage. It is worth the investment to ensure your employees understand what they need to do to perform their jobs properly. This will help eliminate turnover and also ensure your company is performing at its peak if your employees do not have obstacles impacting their training.

3.     The employee requests one. This one may seem obvious, but dismissing an employee’s request for an interpreter can make your meeting very difficult. Even if you seem to be communicating well before the employee’s request, your employee knows when he or she would feel more comfortable having someone interpret instead. If your employee is comfortable communicating with you, they will be less likely to come back to you later with issues or claim that they didn’t understand what was happening at the time of your communications.

BONUS TIP! If your employee is deaf or hard of hearing, you may actually be required to bring in a qualified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter or other sufficient auxiliary aid based on Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Remember, ensuring good, clear communications between you and your employees is key to guaranteeing the best workplace environment possible. It will protect you from any potential issues that may arise from language barriers and will save you from having multiple meetings on the same subject. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and offer to bring in an interpreter, or even use a telephonic interpreting service when it will be sufficient.

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.

Looking Beyond Your ESL Teachers for Translation/Interpreting Needs

Looking Beyond Your ESL Teachers for Translation/Interpreting Needs

It may be tempting to use your English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers to translate texts your school needs in another language, or to ask them to interpret for parents who don’t speak English well. However, it is important to note that unless they have a background as a professional translator or interpreter in the particular field you need, your ESL teachers are not those best skilled to handle this task.

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3 Reasons Why Foreign Language Departments Are Not the Place to Look for Translators

3 Reasons Why Foreign Language Departments Are Not the Place to Look for Translators

It may be tempting to email the chair of your university’s foreign language department to translate texts that you need in another language. However, it is important to note that unless those you are approaching have a background as professional translators in the particular field you need (let’s say, a text for marketing), then more often than not, foreign language professors and students are not those best skilled to handle this task. Why’s that? Well, they didn’t study marketing. And they probably didn’t all get a degree in translation.

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