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

With 2019 in full swing, you’re likely considering new ways to market your business. Have you ever thought about reaching out to and marketing directly to speakers of languages other than English? Even if you only speak English, don’t worry. 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 this year (and beyond!). Here are 5 steps for targeting your non-English speaking client base in 2019.

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1. Start with translating your website.

Your website is the best way to interact with customers who do not speak English. Customers will most likely start their online search for a product or service by searching for those with information available in their preferred or primary language. If your website and offerings are translated and localized on your website, your target market 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, automated translation tools can be extreme and do real damage to your brand.

2. Consider multilingual SEO strategy.

While your site is undergoing translation, you’ll want to consider a multilingual Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. After all, it needs to be compatible with the terms your target audience is actually searching for! If your translated website content isn’t showing up in search results, the translation you’re investing in will certainly not give you the best bang for your buck. Analyze your audience and tailor your strategy to them. You’ll find that it often differs from what you’ve already created for your English-speaking customers. Work with your translation provider to ensure they know about your SEO strategy while creating your foreign-language website content.

3. Don’t forget about your local foreign-language market!

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. Don’t forget to translate and localize your hard-copy marketing content, too!

4. Consider reaching out with a translated targeted email campaign.

If you already send 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. Don’t worry about asking; most people love giving their opinion and will happily do so for you!

5. Remember to translate your print marketing materials.

Dedicate some advertising dollars to one or two of the most widely read publications in your area, ensuring the advertisements you place are localized for your non-English-speaking audience. You can direct customers to your website for more information, which will help drive traffic and deliver more information to your target audience.

BONUS TIP #2! Utilize interpreters as needed for your new customers.Once a new customer reaches out to you, make sure you have a way to communicate with them if you do not already speak their primary language. You can use over-the-phone interpreters for initial meetings or unscheduled calls, and look into requesting an on-site interpreter for client meetings or any interaction that involves contracts, providing more information, etc.

In short, keep an open mind when it comes to your marketing strategy to a foreign-language market. Like all strategies, it will take time to set the moving parts in place. But the growth you’ll see from marketing to a new demographic will be worth it!

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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.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Translating Your Law Firm’s Website

When aiming to appeal to a demographic that does not primarily speak English, one of the first things you may want to consider is translating your law firm’s website into the languages you’re targeting. This is a great step to take in reaching new potential clients, but there are a few common mistakes you’ll want to avoid when beginning this process.

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1. Relying on an automatic translation tool like Google Translate. We understand how tempting it is to choose a “free” option like Google Translate when trying to trim costs. However, when your potential clients are looking for legal assistance, they want to use someone who is professional and trustworthy. If the information on your website is translated poorly (or completely mistranslated, which is often the case with automated translation) because it was handled by a machine, the individuals you are targeting are likely to continue searching elsewhere for help. Make sure your website is translated by a professional and experienced team so that your website’s tone is competent and worthy of their time from the moment they click onto your site. Professionals will also be able to help you localize the content for the exact market you want to reach.

2. Failing to translate contact information and lawyer biography pages. Sometimes you may wish to tackle website translation in different stages, which means some of the links within the site may be neglected on the first round so that the information you find to be most relevant for your law firm is translated first. One thing we recommend translating from the beginning that may be overlooked is the contact page and the lawyer biography section(s). Knowing who will be helping them on their legal journey is often critical for potential clients, so the more they can get to know and trust you from reading your biography page, the more confident they will feel about why you are the right person to help them. It is also crucial for potential clients to understand how to get in contact with you, so keep the contact page in mind when translating your website as well.

3. Having no one available to speak to them in their native language when they call. You don’t have to speak the languages of your target clients personally to be able to assist them when they call for more information, nor do you have to have a bilingual assistant available for these calls (though you certainly can!). Another option is to invest in a telephonic interpreting service plan so that you can be connected with an interpreter over the phone the moment you need one, and your potential client can feel more confident from their initial phone conversation with you. When it’s time to follow-up with an in-person meeting, reach out to your language service provider and schedule an on-site interpreter to assist you.

4. Not accounting for a foreign-language SEO strategy. Translating your website is vital for reaching new potential clients who do not speak English. However, it is not enough if your target clients cannot find you when searching online. You’ll want to choose keywords and phrases, for example, that your new audience will use when searching for legal assistance, to be sure your website turns up in those search results. When it doubt, seek professional help to ensure you are implementing the best foreign-language SEO strategy to get your law firm’s new foreign-language website launched and seen.

Translating and Localizing your Website on a Budget: Where to Begin

Expanding to a global market can be an exciting time for your business. Millions of Internet users speak a language other than English, and localizing your website to some of these specific target audiences allows your company the opportunity to reach a broader scope of people. Even in countries where English use is fairly widespread, consumers still prefer to seek out information in their native language, so having access to your content in that language will give your company an edge in a competitive market. Localization, which includes translation, also entails adapting your website’s content for other markets. Ideally, all aspects of your company’s website would be fully translated and localized for all target audiences you have decided to reach. However, it is not always within a company’s budget to localize the entire website at once. Knowing where to begin can be helpful in terms of adhering to your budget while still making your website more accommodating for your domestic or international market. We’ve prepared some ideas to help get you started.

Choosing your initial target audience(s)

If you plan to localize your content for multiple domestic or international audiences, it may be easiest to handle a select few first. Decide which languages and markets will be most beneficial for your company to reach. Not only will you have learned from the process of localizing the content for a few select audiences first, it will also allow you to spread out the costs of localization over time, which may be more desirable for your company budget.

Deciding which pages to localize

Localizing your website’s content can also come in stages. It is important to decide which pages are critical for your business, and which have messages that are important for your domestic or international audience. If you have a local events page or careers page, for example, these would not be of high importance to translate or localize, since they would only be necessary for your original English-speaking audience.

On the other hand, pages that are specific to your company’s brand, such as your mission statement or an About Us page, would be of higher priority so that your new customers feel connected with you from the beginning. Some other pages that may be important for your company to consider up front would be forms you need the customer to fill out like requests for information or pages with news about company updates.

Ultimately, what you decide to prioritize will depend on your company’s mission and vision for your domestic or international reach. We are always happy to assist you in deciding the best path to take when it comes to expanding to new audiences. Please feel free to contact us today for more information!

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What If I Just Use the Google Translate Button on My Website?

What If I Just Use the Google Translate Button on My Website?

It’s not uncommon to hear someone ask about using Google Translate (or another free machine translation tool) for their translation needs. Those in the language industry probably hear this question fairly often, especially since there is a Google Translate button on many websites, both personal and professional, prompting users to translate a website into the language of their choice with just the click of a button. Although those in the language industry will have immediate reservations about using free, automated machine translation professionally, it is not difficult to understand why many would feel this is a good option. After all, Google provides some amazing services, many of which are free. If you have grown to trust Google for these other services, it might stand to reason that you feel comfortable trusting Google for a free translation, as well. Trust us, we completely understand! However, your organization’s brand and your website’s accuracy may be at stake if you are relying on this method to translate content for your visitors.

The ability to correctly maintain both the meaning and the intended impression of your website’s subject is something, at least at this point in time, that can only be accomplished with professional human translators. These translators are able to dissect the content of the page, understand the intention of its message, and then convey that same message and intention in another language.

Automated machine translation such as Google Translate is unable to identify all of the nuances of a language, and often makes errors involving both the grammar and vocabulary of the target language. If you have ever used the Google Translate button to translate a non-English website into English, it was likely very obvious that the translation was automated and not done professionally by a native speaker. This type of translation does not capture the true original message, even if we can make out what the proper words should have been, some of the time.

If your organization values its branding and professionalism, it is important to have your website translated professionally. A professional translation agency will ensure that a native speaker of the target language who specializes in the subject matter translates your content. The translation will also be reviewed by a proofreader or editor to ensure the quality of the final product. This helps to maintain the professionalism your company conveys through its branding, and it can also keep your company out of legal trouble in certain cases, should your information be translated incorrectly. If you are a food vendor, for example, and your website mistranslates allergy warnings, this could have major legal ramifications for you if one of your customers falls ill.

Even if there are no legal implications, native speakers of a target language will know when a website has been translated through an automated system and may look to your competition for a company that will better communicate with them. After all, good communication is a form of good service.

The process of taking your message, breaking down its intended meaning in all places, understanding the nuances of your ideas and messages, and putting it all back together in another language is complex. Although we completely understand the appeal, we urge you not to rely on a seemingly free service to do this. Just as other aspects of your business are handled by their respective professionals, we recommend doing the same for your translations to help prevent potential mistranslations and bumps down the road.

Choosing the Right Font for your Multilingual Project Doesn't Have to Be Hard

Choosing the right font for any project is certainly important, but it doesn't have to be hard. The font you choose for a document or project can impact the piece’s readability and overall tone. While you wouldn’t expect an important legal document to be printed in a whimsical calligraphy style font, you also wouldn’t expect a lighthearted children’s book to appear in boxy, bold, capitalized lettering. When you add in the fact that a document will be translated into another (or several other) languages, the font you choose becomes even more important, and the reasons for choosing it even more complex.

When designing the layout for your translated document, you will want it to have roughly the same, if not identical, formatting when compared to the source files. You want both the tone and style of your document to be consistent, so choosing a font for your source file that will work well in the language you’ll be translating it into can really save a lot of headache down the line when formatting your translated projects. Here are a few key things to keep in mind when choosing a font:

  1. Determine which languages you’ll be translating into, and choose a font that will work in each one, or at least one that has a similar counterpart in your target languages. If one or more of your target languages uses non-Latin characters (Hebrew, Japanese, Russian, etc.), for example, you will have a more limited selection of font choices. If your original font will not support these characters, you will have to replace it with a font that does when translating. Depending on the font choices, this could make a big difference in the overall look and feel of the source and target texts.
  2. Size does matter. Keep in mind that text can often expand in a translated file. What may only take 5 words to convey in English could take 9 in Spanish. If your font is small to begin with and your text box is also small, you run the risk of either not being able to fit all of the text in the target file’s text box without making it minute, and potentially illegible. When designing your source document, choose a font size that will also work if it needs to be reduced to a slightly smaller size without impacting the overall readability and layout of the page.
  3. If you are using multiple font types within the same document, use fonts that work well together, no matter the language. Fonts should work well together, complementing each other throughout.
  4. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. If you aren’t sure if something will work in the target language, your translation agency can most likely provide a desktop publishing option to ensure your project is properly formatted for both source and target texts.

5 Translation tips you need to know!

When faced with a translation project for your company, it is likely you will have many questions about where to start. Whom do you hire? How quickly can the project be completed? What type of translation do you need? We have compiled five quick tips about translation to help your company get started.

  1. Research your options. There are a lot of companies and individuals out there who are able to deliver the translation back to you. Look for a reputable option that will best fit your needs. A translation agency should be able to offer translation, proofreading, editing and quality assurance. Compare quotes, but we definitely recommend ensuring your quote includes more than just translation. Having a second linguist review the original translation is a good way to avoid any potential errors the translator has possibly made.
  2. Don’t wait until the last minute. As soon as you find out about the translation project, reach out to your translation vendor of choice. The project manager assigned to your translation will be able to give you an idea of how long your project should take. This will allow you to plan ahead, and will also allow the vendor ample time to ensure that the translators and proofreaders who specialize in that field are available to translate your document in the time frame you specify. It will also help you avoid paying rush fees for a very quick turnaround time.
  3. Provide background on the audience when possible. If you are translating a document into French, will it be seen primarily by an audience in France, or perhaps Canada? Are the expected readers adolescents or adults? The more you are able to share about the intended audience of your translation, the easier it will be for the translator to appropriately convey the meaning of the original text, and the better the translation will ultimately be because of it.
  4. If you have other translated materials, share them. If your website is already translated into the target language, but you are now looking to translate the brochures in the office, let the project manager know this and share the link to the website. The translator can use the website as a way to maintain consistency between the website and the brochures. Also, if there are any terms you would like to keep in English, make sure to mention that. This is often the case with trademarked terms, for example, but a translator will need to know in advance.
  5. Be available for questions, or have someone available who is. Although much information is conveyed at the onset of the project, it is possible that the translator may have a question regarding a specific term or phrase in the original, and may need to know more in order to translate it correctly. Having someone available for the project manager to contact in these cases assures that valuable time is not lost in finishing your project.

These tips should help ensure the translation process goes as smoothly as possible for your company. If you have any other questions about how to get started (or what to expect along the way), please contact us!

What Machine Translation Cannot Do

Machine translation (MT) can be a handy tool when used properly. The key is understanding when to use it, but also understanding its limitations. To know when to use MT, it is important to know what it is. In its simplest terms, MT occurs when a computer translates a text without a human translator’s involvement. Current translation software tools often have a form of MT embedded within them, so many translators do use this functionality to begin their translation work, however it is merely a tool and should not be treated as a solution.

MT can do various things. It has the ability to scan common grammatical rules and even specialized dictionaries related to the text type. Another type of MT utilizes corpora from numerous texts already translated and available. It basically pulls from these documents and tries to detect patterns associated with the various sentences in that particular text. Once it detects these patterns, it “guesses” what the most accurate translation should be.

You might ask, “If such an intelligent software exists, why hire a translator at all? Doesn’t the software do all the work?” Quite the opposite. Machine translation is a great starting point when used correctly. However, every language has its own nuances and can be ambiguous in nature at both a syntactic and lexical level. The use of MT increases the risk of missing the nuances and ambiguity. A human translator is fluent in both languages and therefore understands the importance of maintaining grammatical and lexical accuracy while still ensuring no meaning is lost during the translation. While MT can extremely helpful during the translation process, using it alone is not a solution and often results in a subpar translation, if not a complete mistranslation, at times.

One of the benefits of MT software is that when a translator uses MT in the translation process, it often leads to faster delivery. Since some of the segments not already translated by the translator’s translation memory (TM) can be pre-translated by the MT software, it allows the translator to review these segments and make changes as necessary, speeding up the process. The result is that your text can be delivered back to you quicker than if the translator were working without the additional tools, and you can rest assured that the translation is accurate and conveys the intended meaning of your text.

The automatic translation of a web page is a great example to use when displaying both the strengths and weaknesses of MT. If you’ve ever read an article online that was originally written in another language, your browser may have suggested that you translate it to English. Google Chrome, for example, uses Google Translate to do this. Google Translate uses a version of MT to automatically translate the web page to English so that you are able to read it. Most browsers have a similar function, though they may use different translation software to achieve the end product.

While some sentences may be surprisingly accurate, one can easily notice that web pages translated with these tools alone often display poor grammar and sentence structures. Machine translation can convey the main idea of an article, but it may not deliver it with precision. In a recent Chinese news article, for example, a translated sentence reads, “Xi Jinping run the test area for great concern, repeatedly giving directions and instructions.” Combining the sentence with the others around it, we are able to get the gist of its meaning through context and inference. However, we can also see where the translation contains poor grammar and word choice with “Xi Jinping run the test area for great concern.”

While MT can help provide you with an idea of what is being said, it’s important to remember what it cannot do for you:

  • MT cannot proofread the web page to make sure the translation is accurate.
  • It cannot always accurately choose between two meanings when the original word has a homonym.
  • It may not recognize set phrases and sayings, resulting in a translation that could be too literal.
  • It will not recognize many nuances of the original language, often losing some of the meaning in the process.

So, while reading through a translated web page, it would be best to fact check something that seems odd or out of place; it may be an inaccurately translated sentence. And if your company is looking to translate a text, we highly recommend hiring a professional translator or translation agency to ensure a correct and precise meaning is conveyed at all times. After all, your brand is on the line.