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Foreign Language Social Media Marketing: From Post to Purchase

Social Media is a key strategy for just about any business’ international marketing strategy. Having an engaging foreign language social media presence is not enough, however. Once you engage your users on social media platforms, it is essential that users have a positive experience from the moment they click on your post to the moment they check out and purchase your service or product. Here are a few ways you can ensure this experience is seamless for your foreign language market.

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1.    Choose social media channels carefully depending on your target market. Facebook and Twitter may be dominant players across many international communities, but you may also find that your target market hangs out on social media channels you are unfamiliar with. If you are marketing to consumers in China, for example, you will want to familiarize yourself with their top 3 social media channels: WeChat, Tencent QQ, and Sina Weibo.

2.    Localize your content. Language is the first step, and it’s vital to getting it right. Proper translation of your posts is critical to making sure your message is received in a positive way. Since “speaking” to your audience in the U.S. is different than speaking to those in another country, localization is the next step after translation. Not only do your words need to translate well, but the images, colors, slogans, etc. that you use must also resonate with potential customers. Knowledge of trends and culture will take you far with this step. But don’t worry if you aren’t sure how to tackle localization. Professionals specializing in localization for various markets will be a key factor in the big picture, and you can hire someone to help you.

3.    Focus on where your content takes your audience. Once you’ve engaged your audience with social media posts, make sure the pages you link to are also translated and localized for this market. If the page your post directs users to is only in English, potential customers will get confused. Instead, provide links to pages specifically designed for them. They will be more inclined to continue reading about your product or service if it is in their own language and localized to fit their demographic and culture.

4.    Ensure your checkout experience is tailored to your market. If you have spent the time and money to localize your social media posts and product landing pages for your target demographic, the last step is the “buy” button or checkout experience. If your target market resides in Germany, for example, the total amount due should be shown in Euros and the shipping and billing address fields should populate with the proper fields for a German address and not request a U.S. zip code, for example. The consumer should not feel confused by this step. Instead, they should feel confident that their items will be delivered to them without any hitches.

Knowing how to guarantee a seamless experience, from the time your team uploads your posts to the moment the consumer makes a purchase, is key when beginning your international social media-marketing journey. When done correctly, international and foreign language social media marketing can deliver tremendous ROI and turn a sizable profit for your business.

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 Involve Students' Parents Who Speak Foreign Languages in End-of-Year Celebrations and Events

As this quarter and semester come to an end, it's time to start thinking about those end-of-calendar-year celebrations your school puts on for students and their families. Whether these celebrations include classroom parties or outdoor game days, having parents around as volunteers can be helpful (and necessary!) to make sure everything runs smoothly. As you start to prepare these fun and interactive events on your school's campus, consider making some simple, but special, efforts to include those parents who may not speak English and may or may not have the same cultural customs as we do here in the United States.

So, how do you inform these parents of what's going on and how do you get them involved? We have some simple tips that you can put in place in the next month or so that we know will make a difference in their involvement!

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1. Start thinking now about the notes you will send home with your students and any social media messages you will post to school-specific groups and channels.

Do you have a series of notifications you send out to let parents know about the special activities and events coming up to celebrate specific holidays or end-of-year events? Consider having these announcements professionally translated so that these parents know you're making efforts to include them and inform them about what's going on in their children's classrooms. Be careful not to use any automated tools for this, as your translation will likely come back riddled with mistakes. If children need to bring something specific to class or to an activity or meal, these are important details to relay in the parents' primary language. After all, no child likes to show up to school empty-handed when his/her peers are prepared.

2. Ask for volunteers in order to get parents interested and involved. 

Many parents whose primary language is not English may seem uninterested in what's going on at their children's schools, when in reality, they just don't have the information they need in their language. Most parents are happy to be involved and asked to take part in their children's activities. So, while you're at it, ask them if they'd like volunteer to hand out art supplies for a special holiday project, bring a favorite dish, or prepare an activity. You may even have the opportunity to learn more about this family's culture just by having them share something special to them that pertains to a certain holiday or season.

3. Say "thanks".

A gesture that is absolutely universal across all languages and cultures is saying "thanks". Take a moment to recognize these parents and family members at the event/celebration so that they know you appreciate their time and work. You might even prepare a small token of your appreciation with a thank-you note in their language. It may seem like a small gesture, but these are the types of details that will keep these parents coming back and getting more involved in their children's school activities.

Finally, think outside the box. If you know that the end of the year also lines up with a holiday that several families in your student population celebrate, ask them to come to their children's classrooms and share their traditions and a special activity or dish with the class. Not only will they be touched that you asked, but the other students in the classroom will be intrigued by this extra opportunity to learn something new.

If you have any special announcements, social media posts or informational materials you'd like to send out to students' parents who speak other languages, feel free to request a free consultation. We'd be happy to help with your end-of-year fun!

How to Leverage Campus Groups to Recruit and Retain International Students at Your University

As you well know, students are looking at the schools they're going to apply to right about now. Applications will need to be submitted soon, and decisions have to be made about what school offers them the best bang for their buck. 

Some of the best academic minds, sports players and community leaders come from diverse backgrounds. That's why it's vital for universities to recruit and retain international students in a sustainable and effective way. So, while the various offices on campus are busy preparing recruitment materials and events, we have some tips on how to appeal to international students and their families.

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1. Partner with campus groups and offices that regularly reach out to international students.

Consider campus life offices, undergraduate experience initiatives, campus religious groups, graduate student organizations, sports teams, etc., and find a way to collaborate with these groups in order to provide prospective and current students with more information in their native languages. This simple gesture will show these students that your university campus leaders care about them and want them to succeed on your campus.

2. Think ahead to various student events and programs that could be excellent venues for international student involvement.

Is there a specific group on campus that welcomes students, offers food at its events, holds concerts or intramural sporting events? Reach out to these groups and offer to help host a special meal in celebration of these international students, or organize a special sports tournament these students can get involved in. Bonus points if the sporting event is one that is often played in these students' home countries!

3. Communicate on their terms.
 

This may seem like the obvious tip from a language services provider, but having documents and materials for these students in their languages is one of the most effective ways to recruit and retain international students. Make sure there is a web presence about your campus and its offerings in the languages your campus tends to hear the most. Students are constantly searching online for information and ways to get involved. If they can find it in their languages, they are much more apt to respond to your calls to action and recruitment methods. On the same note, leverage social media BIG time. If the number of Facebook users worldwide were a country, it would form the largest population in the world. Do a little research to see where these students hang out online, and prepare messages in their languages that will "speak" to them. Tip! Be careful not to use automated tools that can result in translations riddled with errors.

If you have any special announcements, social media posts or informational materials you'd like to send out to students or their parents, feel free to request a consultation with us. We'd be thrilled to help your campus further recruit and retain international students!

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.

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