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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!

If you found this information useful, you may also like:

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5 Tips for Creating Effective Print Marketing Materials For a Foreign Market

Now that you’ve decided to expand into a foreign market, creating properly localized and unique print marketing materials can really help you market your business successfully there. Whether the materials you create are print, digital or both, you know how important it is to gear it toward your target demographic and customer base. Here are a few tips to for creating the best possible print materials for a successful marketing campaign.

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  • Get to know your foreign-language consumers. Ask yourself, “What’s important to my customers and how can it be incorporated into our print materials?” Customs and preferences in your target foreign market may be different than what your U.S.-based customers experience, so be sure to take that into account. Also, a professional translation of your marketing content in the language your target audience primarily speaks is essential, even if English is prevalent in that country or region. There is plenty of research to support that consumers feel most comfortable consuming information in their primary language, so the translation piece of this marketing puzzle is critical.

  • · Select the right visuals for your foreign-market materials. What works in print marketing materials for your U.S.-based customers will not necessarily work for a foreign audience. Although it may be easier to just use the same images that you already chose for your U.S.-based customers, it’s important to choose visuals that fit seamlessly into your target market’s culture. Select images that represent them so that they connect and engage with your brand through your marketing! Remember, however, to be careful not to display images that portray cultural or gender stereotypes, as these might not be well-received.

  • Organization is key – optimize your selling points! As with any brochure, there should be a clear and clean flow of text and images that tell your business’ story. Make them as enticing as possible so that potential customers will feel engaged with your content. Use catchy headlines that are relevant to your target market and will “speak” to them. Remember, these headlines may be different than the ones you used for your U.S. consumers! Once you have their attention, show them how your business will benefit their work or lifestyle.

  • Choose relevant content for your foreign-language market. Share information that is both useful and concise. If readers see a lot of text immediately, they may not be inclined to read it all. White space is vital to maintain in your marketing visuals. Keep in mind that some text will be longer once translated, and some shorter, depending on the language. Spanish translations, for example, are often about 30% longer than their original English content, so be sure to consider this when deciding what to include and how your customers’ eyes will “travel” across the page.

  • Make it simple for them to respond to you! If potential customers are interested in your content, it’s important to be easy to contact or find, as most people won’t go out of their way to do so. They need to know what action to take next and how to reach you, whether it be to purchase your product or service, or to get more information. List your business name, phone number, website, and social media channels on the marketing materials for an easy connection. If you have someone who can help customers in their own language, make sure this is clear so they feel comfortable reaching out. If you don’t, not to worry. A telephonic interpreting service could be the answer.

Remember, every piece of literature you send out represents your business and leaves an impression on potential customers, so your goal is to make this impression a positive one from the start! If you are unsure how to effectively localize your brochures and other promotional materials, be sure to choose a professional company to help you with the process. This will help avoid potential blunders with content in unfamiliar foreign markets.

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4 Ways to Avoid Mistakes When Marketing to Foreign-Language Consumers

If you are interested in reaching new target markets abroad, or those right here in the U.S. who primarily speak a language other than English, you’ve likely considered translating some of your marketing content. But if you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry! Here are four questions you should ask yourself to avoid translation mistakes when marketing to a foreign-language consumer group.

4 Ways to Avoid Mistakes When Marketing to Foreign-Language Consumers

1. Will an automated translation work for your job?

Automated translations sound like a wonderful thing. They’re free, they’re instant, and they do a pretty great job... or do they? Not so fast. While free, automated translation tools can be semi-useful when it comes to some phrases, and can be handy when trying to get the gist of a statement or paragraph, they are not meant for the kind of professional translation your brand calls for.

Generally speaking, marketing materials contain idioms, colloquial language, or phrases with words that could have more than one potential meaning. Machines simply do not have the capabilities to translate 100% accurately or to understand the nuances of language. You’ve got one chance to make a positive first impression on your new target demographic, so make it a professional one and steer clear of those tempting automated tools.

2. When should you send off your document for translation?

Having your materials translated is an investment (and one that is certainly worthwhile if you’re reaching out to a new target demographic!). However, there are a few ways to save on this investment. Making multiple changes can be costly. Making changes mid-process can be inevitable at times, but waiting until you have the final version of a document ready for your translation provider will save you both time and money. Put this savings toward an investment in next quarter’s budget.

3. Should any of your brand’s terms and product names be left in English?  

You’ve spent a lot of time developing your brand and product names! And because it’s important for customers to recognize your brand, your business name, trademarked products and proper names that pertain to your business and/or industry should remain in the source language. In fact, many times, these terms are not commonly known in other languages and may just confuse your customers more. Save a list of trademarked names and terms that you wish to keep in English so that your translation vendor does not mistakenly attempt to translate these terms. Your provider should also let you know if there are any concerns about these terms in the target language.

4. Is localization an important step for my marketing project?

The localization process is a great way to take your translations a step further. Localization ensures that the language, images, layout and more are engaging for your target market, not considered offensive or inappropriate in any way (yikes!) and practical in terms of everyday customs and culture. The images and design of your materials are just as important as the text you send off for translation, so it’s important to make sure they convey your intended message to your new consumers.

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How to Welcome Back Study Abroad Students

As students return for the Fall semester, you will be welcoming them back from a variety of different activities. For some students, they will have spent much of their summer abroad studying in a foreign country. For many, returning to classes on your campus may take some readjustment, and they may wish to share stories of their experience abroad with professors and classmates in order to ease the transition.


Here are some ways to welcome your students back this semester after their time abroad.

· Hold a “welcome back” reception. During this type of event, students can mingle with fellow students, faculty and staff. This also gives you an opportunity to outline the options your students now have at your university as a study abroad alum. You can create pamphlets or invite speakers to discuss how to make the readjustment back to life in the U.S. and how to reflect on their time away and keep in touch with their new friends.

· Organize a submission contest. Allow students to showcase the photos they took or submit essays reflecting on life abroad. The photos and quotes from essays can be displayed during events throughout the year, encouraging other students to study abroad so they get a sense of what student life is like and the experiences others have had. Encourage participation by awarding a prize like a small scholarship to be applied toward a future semester.

· Allow students to become ambassadors. Students who have already studied abroad are the perfect advocates for your university’s study abroad programs! They can help fellow students to prepare if they decide to make the leap in the future, encouraging more participation in your study abroad programs. These student ambassadors can also help with events and other promotional campaigns.

· Ask students to take a survey about their experience. Use this feedback to work directly with the groups offering the study abroad options to ensure an even more positive experience in the future. It’s the perfect way to see what is going well and what can be improved in future semesters. Request consent to use their positive experiences in testimonials to further promote the programs your university offers.

If you have any more tips for successfully welcoming your students back to campus, please feel free to share in the comments below. We’d love to hear what works best for you on your campus!

How to Encourage ELL Students after Returning from Summer Break

As summer winds down and a new school year begins, you will likely be introduced to an entirely new group of students in your classroom. While each student will have his or her own specific strong suits and challenges, it is important to note that English Language Learners (ELLs) have a unique set of challenges compared to other students. If you have ELL students in your classroom this year, here are a few tips to help ease the transition from their summer at home back into the English-speaking classroom.


1. Work with the students’ previous teacher or ELL teacher to understand more about their skillsets. Find out what helped them the most the previous year and what did not seem to help them succeed. When possible, incorporate some of these best practices – no need to reinvent the wheel if your colleagues have already worked with these students successfully!

2. Be patient. While some of your ELL students will have spent their summer engaging in activities that helped them practice their improving English skills, others may have spent the majority of the break only speaking their native language at home. Just as there is expected to be some information loss across normal school subjects, your ELL students who have not been practicing their English language skills may be a bit rusty at the beginning of the year.

3. Incorporate SWRL (Speaking, Writing, Reading and Listening) in class daily. SWRL encompasses the domains of language acquisition. When ELL students exercise all four of these domains on a daily basis, it will help improve their language learning more quickly. ELL students may not read, write, or speak perfectly, but encouraging them to practice these skills frequently will help them improve more quickly. However, you should also respect that there may be times when your ELL students wish to remain silent. Encourage participation, but do not force them to speak aloud, as they will likely engage more in classroom discussions as their confidence improves throughout the year.

4. Use visual aids.  ELL students often have a more difficult time processing spoken language over written language. When possible, write simple, clear instructions on the board. You can also add pictures and diagrams for more complex topics to help aid their understanding of the topic. If it’s something you can demonstrate or show them how to do first, even better!

Above all else, it is important to be patient with and encourage ELL students. They are usually working harder to master concepts than the rest of the students in the class, since processing information in a second (or third!) language can take two to three times as long as it does to process in their native language. Feel free to communicate directly with your students and their parents to determine if you need to make any adjustments to your teaching technique, since, like any other student, their individual needs may vary significantly from those of native English-speaking students.

How to Stage a Property to Appeal to Foreign Buyers

If your goal is to appeal to foreign buyers, there are a few tips and tricks to making sure your properties stand out and are appealing to these buyers. As you know,  your client’s personal style may be quite different from what is appealing to the buyers you’re hoping to target. But by having your clients make a few changes before listing their home, you can potentially attract foreign buyers and sell the home more quickly and at a higher price point.


· Think about your target demographic and what is appealing to buyers in these countries overall.  If you are looking to target Chinese home buyers, for example, you may want to consider the feng shui of the property, as incorporating feng shui principles can help a Chinese buyer feel more confident that their purchase will help bring them good health, happiness, and success. Don’t forget about landscaping! Trying to adhere to some of the basics of feng shui, both inside and out, can help sway a buyer who is otherwise on the fence.

· Choose decor or design elements that give a little pop of local culture while still being simple enough that the buyers can see themselves in the home without having to make any drastic changes. If a foreign buyer is looking for homes in your area, then there is likely an element of the local culture that is particularly appealing to them. By adding something that is specific to the city where the home is located, like a centerpiece or painting, the staged home will be even more appealing. Showcase this in your property photos as well.

· Make sure your photos and videos of the home are clear, and include many different photos on the website. Since foreign buyers are often unable to view the listings in person right away, the photos you share are crucial for making sure they have enough information to decide whether or not they want to pursue a listing.

· Most foreign buyers are starting with an online search. To ensure your appropriately staged homes are reaching the right audience, translate you’re the pages where your listing appears in order to appeal to the demographic you’re looking to reach. If you want to appeal to Canadian homebuyers, you may wish to have your listings in both English and Canadian French, for example. Read more on this topic here.

Of course, every property and every buyer is different, but considering what appeals to a market of foreign buyers can go a long way in taking your property from “for sale” to “sold” rather quickly! 

How to Improve Internal Communication for Your Multinational Company

Multinational corporations have a lot to juggle—everything from opening new offices and making new hires to considering time zones when it comes to logistics and communications, and even to simply how to communicate between the main headquarters or office and those overseas. Just like in any company, clear and proper communication is a key to success. Here are our top tips to maintain excellent internal communication with your company’s offices/locations abroad.


· Identify current barriers. First and foremost, it is important to determine the types of communication issues you may currently have with your international locations so that you know the right game plan to move forward. In what areas do these locations excel? Where do they struggle, and could internal communication be part of the cause? Do employees understand the corporate vision? Once you can pinpoint the areas to improve, it is easier to move forward.

· Translate content to local languages. If the foreign office is located in a country where English is not the primary language, it is highly beneficial to have human resources documents and communications translated. These include employee handbooks, job training materials, and even announcements and memos that will have an impact on how these employees perform their jobs. This way everyone can be on the same playing field and interpret the information as it was intended. It also helps to eliminate the “gray area” that could otherwise be caused by language barriers.

· Consider an interpreter for conference calls and site visits. If leadership at your international locations do not have a high level of fluency in English, it can be extremely beneficial to use a telephonic interpreting service for important conference calls or an on-site interpreter for site visits. These services ensure the information exchanged at your meetings is rendered and understood correctly among everyone present.

· Promote relationship building to encourage communication. When your company’s offices are dispersed across different countries, it can feel nearly impossible to have a strong connection or company culture among employees or managers who work in the various locations. This could result in issues where managers and employees abroad do not feel that they can ask questions when something is unclear. Certain projects can become delayed or neglected. To avoid these pitfalls, try to carry out regular videoconferences, or use an intranet team page for project collaboration. You could even have a “virtual coffee room” for employees to chat while on a break so that team members can get to know each other better.

Although internal communication among multinational sites can sometimes feel complicated, there are lots of ways to make these interactions run more smoothly. If you’ve got best practices for how you communicate with your international locations, let us know! We’d love to hear what works for you.

What You Need to Know about an Interpreter’s Code of Ethics

With the recent events at the presidential summit in Helsinki and the request for the Trump/Putin interpreter to be subpoenaed to testify about what was discussed during this meeting, many have started to wonder and ask about the interpreter codes of ethics.


As with many different types of professionals, interpreters abide by a strict code of ethics for the assignments they handle. Although each type of interpreting professional (medical, community, court, etc.) could have a different code of ethics, the basic components remain the same across the board.

· Accuracy. An interpreter cannot embellish, omit, or change anything that is said. He or she must interpret only what is said, exactly as it is said. This remains true for the usage of slang, obscenities, inflections of tone, etc.

· Impartiality. The interpreter must remain impartial and neutral during the assignment. He or she should not reveal his/her opinion about the discussion, nor attempt to sway anyone listening, with word choices or emotion.

· Proficiency and accurate representation of credentials. That is to say, the interpreter must be qualified for the assignment he or she accepts, and should be willing to continuously improve his or her skill set via workshops, conferences, trainings or other classes.

· Confidentiality. Unless otherwise authorized, an interpreter must not discuss what he or she has heard while on an assignment. This is often likened to attorney/client or doctor/patient privileges.

If you do decide to contract an interpreter for a hearing, deposition, or meeting, you can rest assured that a professional will adhere to these core components of their code of ethics. Breaching the tenant of confidentiality (or any other) could easily ruin an interpreter’s career or have other serious repercussions.