Common Sense Advisory: “How to Craft a Multilingual Web Strategy”

Common Sense Advisory, Inc., an independent market research firm specializing in the language services industry, has released “How to Craft a Multilingual Web Strategy.” The report uses the US Hispanic market to showcase the best and worst online ethnic marketing strategies from 12 global companies, including GE, Samsung and McDonald’s.

For info, email info@commonsenseadvisory.com or visit http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com

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Creating a Multilingual SEO Plan

Multilingual SEO Best Practices

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a valuable way to reach your market and increase relevant traffic to your website. Often times, however, companies that localize their site in multiple languages neglect to implement the same strategies they use in their original content SEO. When done effectively, multilingual SEO can be more valuable than traditional advertising methods and can put your company’s content right in front of a potential customer.

Managing Content Costs

Naturally, there are budgetary constraints on how much content can be localized with tender loving care. Granted, machine translation is easy, but that translated content may not pass along the same message if it isn’t translated professionally. So prioritizing which content would be most valuable to translate for a foreign market is essential to monitoring costs and ensuring quality.

Keyword Research

A basic principle in marketing is understanding how your potential customers think; how will they describe their needs in terms of your product. Through monitoring analytics and reviewing what keywords are most useful to draw views to a website, can you determine what phrases and words to focus on when optimizing SEO. The same idea applies to multilingual SEO. But simply translating a popular English search phrase or keyword into Spanish, for example, isn’t the most effective way to optimize in Spanish (have you ever tried to translate curse words and/or phrases? It’s not really the same is it?). Understanding how your translated content will be found by your target market is essential. Use your company’s resources in your target locale. Have the in-country marketing team review and approve translated keywords and phrases.

Enhance your Reputation

Providing great content to your customers is a great way to establish trust. When your international customers see that your and your company are making an effort to communicate clearly with them, that extra effort is appreciated, leading to an improved reputation and increased sales.

It all boils down to understanding your market. What are your customers needs? What can you provide to fill those needs? Helping your customers make informed decisions, in all languages, is paramount to maintaining a successful global brand.

View Lingoport’s latest webinar to learn about culturizing your brand.

For more information on this topic, please view Best Practices: Successfully Marketing Your Brand to a Global Audience

Facebook Set to Introduce Translation Feature on Comments

With the introduction and prominence of Google’s web translator, companies like Facebook have a more prominent need to provide users with translation features within their display. Often times users, myself included, will leave their Facebook tab to translate something their friends commented on or made a status about. Since introducing Facebook in multiple languages, users have soared to 750 million people. Obviously in such a connected world, these users need the ability to communicate quickly with each other, and Facebook is prepared to provide that plugin.

Languages available for translation will be few at first, and include English, Spanish, French, Hebrew and Chinese. At times, translations will be unavailable due to unrecognizable comments, which happens sometimes with the slang used by many users (everybody has their own language, even groups of friends). This feature could help to further help the world communicate through social media.

One thought I had about rapid translation (especially among friends) is that it may hinder the need for multiple languages to be learned by one person. Sometimes I enjoy staring at a friend’s Spanish status or comment and figuring out what they’re saying myself; people learn better that way. Granted, it’s not like the feature is an automatic translator: it’s a clickable button (meaning the user has a choice whether to click it or not). But hey, maybe we’ll all end up with a babel fish in our ear and understand every language…

For more, read Inside Facebook

Google Releases Paid Web Translation for Businesses

Google announced last week that they are introducing a paid version of their Google Translate API for businesses and commercial software developers. Jeff Chin, Product Manager at Google said in the release that, “The Google Translate API provides a programmatic interface to access Google’s latest machine translation technology” allowing translation support between 50+ languages.

Translation costs will run at $20/million characters, or about $0.05/page assuming 500 words/page.

Free use of the Google Translate Research API will remain for academic users.

For a full diagnosis of the issue, check out the official Google Code Blog

Preparing an E-Commerce Site for a New Locale

This is a summary of an article on Lingoport.com from October 2009.

As I have shared in previous posts about localizing content for a specific locale, creating a website that works in multiple target locations is essential for creating an international business. If your company website sells to an international market or creates content that appeals to people around the world then it is important to communicate in a clear manner.

The process of preparing  a site can take time, but it is important to do it right the first time in order to save costs. Remember that simply translating a website into multiple languages doesn’t necessarily make it easier for international customers to use your site. There are differing date formats, currency formats, and address formats to consider; i.e.: England uses “postal codes” while the US uses “zip codes.” This difference is rather subtle, but as a company selling to international customers, it is important to be as clear and concise as possible throughout the purchasing process. This point brings up the difference between simply translating a site to multiple languages versus translating a site to multiple locales. Locales are more specific, obviously, and have their own purchasing behaviors.

On the more technical side, the architecture of the code in the back end of a site will likely need to be changed to support a new market. The process of internationalization extracting embedded code stings can more easily improve the process of translation, and ease the work load of software developers by cutting back the time it takes to search through lines and lines of code. Additionally, supporting the character set support Unicode offers will dismiss any mis-translated gibberish.

Now if you’re operating a smaller operation and consider machine translation, through Google Translate for example, then there are easily implementable strategies to consider when catering to an international audience. Using short, concise wording in your site’s content will help the machine translation better communicate your message. Additionally, when repeating the same idea, use the same phrase so that foreign readers can identify that you are talking about the same thing. Staying knowledgeable and up-to-date with your customers will go a long way in garnering success.

For the full article, please visit http://www.lingoport.com/building-a-site-for-worldwide-customers

Google Webmasters Question – Localized Content

I like to stay up-to-date with what Google Webmasters is doing so I check in every week or so to watch the help videos posted on the GoogleWebmasterHelp YouTube page. I wanted to share a video that has a direct effect on the internationalization and localization community. The question is posed whether it is more effective to have separate domains for each locale (mydomain.fr, mydomain.nl, mydomain.ca, etc.) or to contain all translations within the main domain (mydomain.com).  The presenter emphasizes the importance of good “human” translations to make the translated site resonate with users best.

Worldware Presentation – Bringing I18n to MT Development: Challenges, Solutions, Case Studies

The affect of machine translation (MT) in the globalization industry has been astounding do to MT’s ability to cut costs and shorten the time to market for products. With growing demand for MT, the question is posed as to how MT applications are able to overcome new linguistic and technical challenges (such as internationalization) and how these problems are being addressed by companies using machine translation.

Presented by:

  • Olga Beregovaya, CEO of PROMT Americas, the Enterprise division of PROMT