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

What Does English Sound Like to a Foreigner?

Most of us have an idea as to what foreign languages sound like. We can identify the different tones and sounds as belonging to say German or Italian, although we don’t fully understand all the words. So what does English sound like to a foreigner? Thanks to this short film entitled Skwerl we get an idea…

Website Localization: Factors to Consider

The Emergence of Brazil

With nearly one-third of the world population using the internet, more and more opportunities are arising for people to communicate and for companies to reach new markets. Adapting an e-commerce website to a new locale has become an essential way for online businesses to survive and thrive in new markets. In an insightful post from the GPI Translation Blog, we learn first hand some of the strategies that go into localizing a website for a new locale; specifically Brazil.

Brazil will be in the world spotlight in the coming years with the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. China gets the headlines as the next economic superpower, but Brazil lies-in-wait as another market ready to explode. With a current base of 50 million Internet users, Brazil presents an excellent business opportunity for companies. But what specifically must be done to sell to these new consumers? Selling strategies in the United States do not stick in Brazil; new approaches must be developed.

Brazilian Market

  • The Internet is predominantly used by upper and middle-classes, but government initiatives have worked to gain funding for Internet cafes to help lower income groups have Internet access.

Brazilian Consumers & Culture

  • Brazilian society places high importance on looking good and appearance.
  • Brazilians prefer goods made within their own country whenever possible.
  • Decision-making power for Brazilian women has increased.
  • Brazilians are often budget-conscious and look for the absolute best value they can find.
  • Latin cultures place great emphasis on family and community, Brazil included.
  • Brazilian culture values masculinity which can be depicted as achievement, success, adventure and fun.

Brazilian Portuguese vs. European Portuguese

  • When localizing a website for Brazil, consider many of the spelling and verb tense differences within the two main Portuguese dialects.

SEO & SEM in Brazil

  • As all marketing strategies go, Brazilian SEO campaigns need to be multidimensional.
  • Be advised that while focusing on Portuguese search terms is important, bilingual users also use English to search and navigate the Internet.
  • Keywords and key phrases need not just be translated. Cultural and linguistic issues affect what people search for.

For more information on this subject, please visit:  http://blog.globalizationpartners.com/brazilian-website-localization.aspx

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

How Language Transformed Humanity

A talk from Mark Pagel on Ted.com 

Language is a mystery we do not fully understand. Why did it emerge? In this 20-minute video, Biologist Mark Pagel shares his thoughts on why humans evolved their complex language system and how that sets us apart from every other animal.

https://ted.com/talks/view/id/1203

How Does Localization Relate to Social Media?

This post was inspired by an article written by Clinton Lanier on Technorati. The article can be viewed here: http://technorati.com/business/article/a-new-theory-of-social-media/

Many companies use social media to get in direct contact with their customer base. This allows consumers to engage with each other as well as the product makers about their issues, concerns, recommendations or satisfaction with a product. This instant feedback approach has reshaped how companies deal with customers: feedback is instant.

But what if their is no forum for your company’s customers to discuss their concerns in their own language using their own forum? Companies that have localized their product to multiple locales need also to consider localizing their social media messages for that same location. As I wrote before in a post about localized software in China, a successfully localized product considers all aspects of a product, not just translation. This same idea applies to the social aspects of said product.

A feedback avenue should be established for international customers to discuss their concerns, just as there is for domestic customers. In his article, Lanier suggests companies establish a social media presence in every locale they sell in, but his argument doesn’t necessarily apply to tech companies. His examples include Starbucks and Panera Bread shaping their message to specific demographics across a country (Happy Cinco de Mayo! Show this tweet and receive a free drink!). This messaging is effective for its goal, but goals as they relate to software and technology are obviously different (and that’s what we’re focusing on here).

Companies that have localized well have already established a presence within the locales they sell in. Assuming a trust has been created between the company and the consumer in a locale, setting up a social media avenue should be easy. My suggestion would be to do a little research into what social media platforms are most popular in a given locale, and set up an account focused on that area. Assuming your product has already been localized to that area, you should be familiar with the concerns of customers in that locale. Use this background information to establish a dialogue with customers to help further refine your product. Localization isn’t a one-time process, it’s ongoing and never ending as technology improves at an incredible rate. Staying on the front lines through social media will undoubtedly help shape a successful localization campaign.

Top Five Reasons Localization isn’t even a Choice Anymore

With so many internet users and gamers consuming content in a language other than English, development companies no longer have the choice whether to localize or not; it’s a must! The following is the top five reasons why localization can no longer be overlooked.

  1. Because your competitors will gain the upper hand on you. If you’re not going to localize, someone else will. Since consumers best identify with products in their own language, they will gain a respect for your competitor for their product and overlook you.
  2. 75% of gamers come from non-English speaking markets. This doesn’t include all the high-tech games on Xbox and PS3; games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars are immensely popular in their localized versions.
  3. Non-native English speaking web users are growing rapidly. This new developing group represents a new market websites and game developers can target. 90% of these users prefer to use the web in their own language.
  4. Many immigrant communities need translated material for legal purposes. There is a real demand in the market requiring companies to address visitors of their web sites in languages other than English.
  5. People prefer buying in their own language. Have you ever traveled abroad and felt awkward when purchasing something because you either don’t know exactly what it is or aren’t sure of the conversion? Having access to that knowledge is powerful in the hands of the consumer.

Read more: 

 

The Basics of Unicode

We’ve posted a number of things in the past about Unicode. From 30-minute epileptic movies to a brief Unicode introduction video (which has been one of our most popular YouTube videos), the subject has yielded great interest. I wanted to recycle an old article written by Lingoport President, Adam Asnes, as a sort of introduction to the basics of Unicode.

Unicode is essentially a global dictionary of tens of thousands of characters. It allows for companies to create applications and websites that are translatable and eliminate any need to redevelop the same site or app over and over again in a different language. Remember that when you boil down software, you reach the binary level of zeros and ones. This mapping of zeros and ones is what’s called character encoding. The issue arises when there are not enough zeros and ones to represent accented characters or the more complex characters of Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Unicode solves this problem by creating an extended character encoding map, creating a more manageable translation process. No longer are we in the bad old days when websites and applications based on different languages needed to be developed independently.

The full article, including a more technical approach, can be viewed here: http://www.lingoport.com/unicode-primer-for-the-uninitiated

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 – Emerging Markets

Emerging markets can no longer be overlooked as global economic opportunities have become more desirable for companies to explore. Join three industry leaders as they share their experiences in entering emerging markets, the differences between an emerging market and a well established market, and what strategies have worked for their respective companies.

Presented by:

  • Ghassan Haddad, Facebook’s internationalization director
  • Bob Jung, Google’s director of software engineering for internationalization
  • Nico Ponser, LinkedIn’s principle international product manager

The Lingoport Daily

Follow the daily news in the fields of internationalization, localization, globalization and translation with The Lingoport Daily on paper.li.  Personally, I’m fascinated with the amount of information and quality links paper.li can pull from our @lingoport twitter feed and a few of our most popular hashtags. Check it out, read up and watch what’s happening in the world of i18n, l10n, g8n and xl8. Here’s the link: http://paper.li/Lingoport

 

Internationalization and Medical Translations

Recently, Adam Asnes of Lingoport and Andres Heuberger of ForeignExchange Translations sat down over a cup of coffee and discussed how one can expect to see a return on investment after internationalization and how i18n can be utilized by the medical field. It is interesting to note that the medical field is one of the last fields to be internationalized due to liability issues.

 

Foreign Exchange Software Localization Roundtable

Please note that the Foreign Exchange Software Localization Roundtable has been rescheduled for another date. We will provide an update with the new date when we are provided with that information.

On Wednesday March 23, Marita Hoeh, Software Localization Manager for CaridianBCT, will conduct a presentation about the best software localization practices. The presentation will include a discussion about the upcoming challenges for software localization and a case study on CaridianBCT. The event starts at 8:30am at the Renaissance Boulder FlatIron Hotel in Broomfield, CO and will conclude at 11am. Breakfast will be provided as guests will be given a chance to network before the formal presentation begins at 9am.

Marita Hoeh has been working in the localization industry for the past 20 years, formerly specializing in translations for the medical field.

CaridianBCT is a software localization company specialized in medical devices based out of Lakewood, CO.  Hoeh created the software localization department where today she manages the software localization of all products.

Lingoport’s Adam Asnes will also be in attendance to provide his internationalization (i18n) and globalization expertise. Asnes founded Lingoport in 2001, and has since become an authority on internationalization and globalization of software.

Worldware Internationalization-I18n Conference

As with any business, there is a big difference between constructing an idea, and actually implementing that idea. The most in-depth internationalization conference is right on our doorstep as the countdown is on for the Worldware Conference in Santa Clara, California.  Come see i18n industry professionals who set the trends in product development share their ideas with a specifically targeted audience. Share your ideas and learn from the best. Friends of Lingoport and receive a 10% discount when you register for the conference (use discount code WW11SLD, not eligible for the preconference).

Last year’s conference was a big success, and this year’s looks to be even greater!

The event runs March 15-17 at the Network Meeting Center in Santa Clara, California.

Palo Alto Localization Technology Round Table

The Palo Alto Localization Technology Roundtable on Thursday, Feb. 3rd, 2011 brings together 5 industry leaders to present an open technology framework that speeds up time to market and drastically reduces your localization and translation costs.

Together, Lingoport, acrolinx, Clay Tablet, Milengo and Asia Online will show how advanced, modular localization technology addresses the… challenges faced when launching products or services to international markets in multiple languages.

You’ll learn the key considerations when taking an international product from design to launch through, Internationalization, Information Authoring, Content Management, Localization and Translation Automation.

And you’ll learn how this is achievable quickly, and with fewer resources, while maintaining a consistent brand and user experience that builds value, saves time and reduces costs.

You will also:

* Access a wealth of localization experience from industry experts
* Discover new technologies and new ways of working that are already changing the localization landscape
* Learn strategies that can streamline your localization efforts and help you quickly launch products worldwide
* Share information with like-minded peers and learn proven practices that you’ll find nowhere else

The Localization Technology Round Table event is free of charge, open to customer-side industry professionals and will be held at the Crowne Plaza Cabana Hotel, 4290 El Camino Real, in Palo Alto, CA 94306.

Learn more and register at: http://bit.ly/fbQZ9p

Webinar Recording: Internationalizing and Localizing a Medical Software Application

Lingoport recently hosted a Webinar with our friends from ForeignExchange Translations, a leading provider of medical translation and localization services.

Adam Asnes, CEO of Lingoport, and Jason Heaton, Marketing Manager at Foreign Exchange Translations, discussed basic principles and processes that make medical products different

This interactive online presentation focused on providing attendees with a wealth of medical internationalization and localization knowledge. Adam and Jason discussed product architectures, testing and solutions to verify functional and linguistic accuracy; they also took an in-depth look at:

We recorded the live Webinar and you may view the recording at your leisure right on your desktop.

Click the following link to view the recording of: Internationalizing and Localizing a Medical Software Application

Lingoport and Foreign Exchange Translations Webinar: Internationalizing and Localizing a Medical Software Application

Internationalization and localization for medical products tends to have special case business drivers and can take on life-and-death importance. First, there’s adapting products for better worldwide sales, but often issues like reducing liabilities and saving lives drive the process just a bit differently.

Join us for an interactive one-hour online presentation as Adam Asnes, CEO of Lingoport, and Andres Heuberger, CEO of Foreign Exchange Translations, discuss basic principles and processes that make medical products different.

Webinar: “Internationalizing and Localizing a Medical Software Application”
Date: Thursday, December 16th, 2010
Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm PT
Where: Your desktop
Register at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/242816048
Cost: Complimentary
Presenters: Adam Asnes, CEO of Lingoport, and Andres Heuberger, CEO of Foreign Exchange Translations

We’ll discuss product architectures, testing and solutions to verify functional and linguistic accuracy; we’ll also take an in-depth look at:

This event targets global manufacturers of medical device, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and healthcare products, including: localization managers, internationalization managers, software developers, engineers, engineering managers, information developers, and senior executives responsible for international market share as well as customer-side professionals involved in the translation and localization of medical and life sciences content.