The Buying Power of Asian Americans

In a Nielsen study done in 2015, it was determined that 77% of Asian Americans speak a language other than English at home. In fact, more than 8 million people living in America are speaking Chinese (3.3 million), Tagalog (1.7 million), Vietnamese (1.5 million), and/or Korean (1.1 million) and 40% of those people say they speak English less than very well.

Buying Power Statistics of the Asian American Population

Asian Americans represent about 6% of the total U.S. population, or the equivalent of 5.5 million people; however, that number doesn’t do justice to the size of their buying power.

By 2018, Asian Americans are projected to hold an estimated $1 trillion buying power, or 52.3%. Further, the average family income earned by the Asian American population is more than $20,000 higher than the U.S. average family income, which was $70,697.

CDC Comparison Image

The study further defines the types of products and services that Asian Americans buy. With a particular interest in fresh produce, organic foods, eco-friendly products, and electronics, Asian Americans are known to be rather selective shoppers who prefer to buy online.

Buying Power Summary Image

Businesses that understand the Asian American market can use their resources to stay ahead of their competition. Unlike Hispanic Americans, who mostly share one language, Asian Americans comprise different cultures, with different languages, making it difficult to deliver a culturally sensitive message.

3 Things to Consider When Incorporating the Asian American Market in your B2B and B2C Strategies

Some of the best ways to include the Asian American market in your business strategies include:

  1. Understand the cultural nuances within. Something that works for one market, or even one segment within a market, may not work for all and offending or alienating customers with high buying power could compromise market share and waste advertising dollars.
  2. Translate messages and information. Personalizing experiences for the Asian American market through translation and localization instantly enhances product and services loyalty. Recently Starwood hotels added in-hotel Chinese specialist and packets of translated local area information including shopping, sightseeing and key hotel information to improve the service offering for their non-English speaking travel guests.
  3. Don’t stereotype. Stereotyping may seem like an easy way to market to a group you don’t know much about but it can lead to sensitivities that can create an uproar for your brand.

Bridging Language Gaps Can Make for More Human Relationships with Business and Consumers

Finally, and certainly more important, remember that before we are a race and before we speak a language, we are human. And humans have values that are rather universal. Depending on which psychologist you read, values may include happiness, love, freedom, safety, respect, health, among others.

The work we do at NWI Global is intending to facilitate the relationships that bring those values to your life and we feel that language makes that possible. Whether it’s interpret a dialect, translating from English to Korean, or using signs with our hands, we are connecting businesses with consumers, students with knowledge, workers with job, and families with each other.

We are proud to do the work we do.

12 Acronyms Every Buyer of Language Services Must Know

I think we can agree that every industry has its unique terminology, right?

Working in a particular industry, we may not even think twice about the language we use. It comes naturally to us.

But can our target audience understand us? To them, our industry jargon could very well be a foreign language.

For example, HubSpot published an excellent article on business and marketing acronyms & abbreviations. If you are a professional marketer, you may already be familiar with the terms they mention.

In this article, I will explain the acronyms that are specific to the language services industry. If you ever find yourself in a position of buying or using language services, these are the 12 acronyms every buyer of language services must know.

1. LSP: Language Service Provider

According to GALA, language service providers adapt products and services for consumption in multilingual markets.

An LSP can be a company or an individual. For example, NWI Global is an LSP specializing in various language services, and John Doe is a freelance translator specializing in French > English translation.

Work with a company or an individual

There’s a related acronym you may come across as well: LSC. LSC stands for Language Service Company. LSC strictly refers to companies providing language services.

2. TEP: Translation, Editing, and Proofreading

There are processes in every industry. The TEP process is essential in language translation.

Ideally, each step in this process should have an individual assigned to it. A translator would complete the translation. The editor would then edit the translator’s work, and the proofreader would proofread and offer feedback on the content.

Every industry has processes

Working with a professional TEP team will improve the overall content translation quality.

3. DTP: Desktop Publishing

This acronym is commonly referred to as multilingual DTP. Multilingual desktop publishing focuses on the processes of creating localized versions of the source documents.

Japanese Translation inside Adobe InDesign

Factors such as fonts, line spacing, typesetting, and formatting are all taken into account in multilingual DTP.

Typical DTP software applications include Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Publisher, and QuarkXPress.

4. CAT: Computer-assisted Translation

Not to be confused with a house pet of the same pronunciation, CAT tools are used by language service providers to support and facilitate the translation process.

Not the CAT tools you're thinking of

CAT tools include:

  • Spell & Grammar Checkers
  • Terminology Managers & Databases
  • Electronic Dictionaries
  • Full-text Search Tools (Indexers)
  • Project Management Software
  • Translation Memory Tools

There are many CAT tools on the market, with SDL Trados and memoQ being two of the most popular ones.

Finally, in my opinion, these are the best tools for creating and managing multilingual content.

5. TM: Translation Memory

If you are looking for quality and consistency in your translated content, work with a language service provider that uses a TM system in their process.

A translation memory system is a database that stores segments. Segments can be sentences, paragraphs or other sentence-like units that have previously been translated. Once a segment is translated, it is stored in the TM database and can be reused in other contexts.

Kilgray memoQ Translation Memory

You could also save substantial costs working with a vendor that uses a TM since the translated segments can be leveraged for content created in the future. Your translation vendor should pass this discount onto you.

6. MT: Machine Translation

MT is a language translation carried out by a computer. In an enterprise environment, if you are looking to translate large volumes of text quickly, a professional MT vendor may be able to assist.

Servers in a data center

Computers are not perfect and are bound to produce errors. Please note that post-editing may be required by a human editor once you run your content through a machine translation tool.

Learn more about MT here and see if it’s right for you.

7. ASL: American Sign Language

Different countries and cultures have their own respective sign languages. ASL is the predominant sign language of Deaf communities in the U.S. and most of Canada.

Sign Language Interpreting

You should be aware that accommodations may have to be provided for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals. Such accommodations may be required by federal and state law.

8. OSI: On-Site Interpreting

On-site interpreting is any scenario where an interpreter is present in-person to help facilitate communication.

Some scenarios include patient/doctor interaction, business meetings, legal proceedings, public events and conferences. OSI can be done in both ASL and spoken languages.

Interpreters are especially important in pediatrics settings

You can work directly with individual interpreters or request interpreters through an LSP specializing in interpreter referral services. Here is more information on how to request an interpreter.

9. OPI: Over-the-Phone Interpreting

OPI, also known as telephone interpreting is a service that connects human interpreters via telephone to individuals who wish to speak to each other but do not share a common language.

Telephone interpreting

When looking for an OPI provider, some of the things to consider are 24/7/365 capabilities and the ability to service the languages you need.

Here’s how telephone interpreting works in detail.

10. VRI: Video Remote Interpreting

Similar to OPI, video remote interpreting is a service that uses technology such as web cameras or videophones to provide ASL or spoken language interpreting services.

Video remote interpreting

VRI is a great supplemental service to OSI and OPI, but could also be used by itself. VRI is used by many hospitals and medical service providers around the country.

11. ATA: American Translators Association

If you are looking for translations completed by certified translators, look for those certified by the ATA.

NWI Global is a corporate member of the American Translators Association

ATA is a professional association founded to advance the translation and interpreting professions and foster the professional development of individual translators and interpreters.

12. XL8

This one is not an acronym, but worth mentioning. #XL8 is the most popular hashtag of the language services industry.

Hashtag

According to this article, #XL8 stands for: “X” = trans; “L” = L (itself) and “8” = ate. Giving: “trans” + “l” + “ate” = “translate”.

Conclusion

This article is not an all-inclusive language service acronym list by any means. However, now that you know these 12 acronyms, you can feel more confident buying language services and communicating with language service providers.

Got a language service acronym to add to the list? Comment below with the term and its definition.

3 Types of Web Content Your Company Should Translate

Content marketing is a huge driver of business for many companies.

According to recent research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, 71% of B2B marketers meet to discuss their content marketing programs at least once per month.

That number is even greater for companies with a B2C business model. Over 77% of B2C marketers use a blog as a content marketing tactic to engage their respective target audience.

The numbers are there to support a case for having a content marketing strategy. And you may already have one.

But I bet your content, just like this article, is only in English. That’s perfectly fine if that’s your target audience, which in NWI Global’s case it is.

Consider this though – you might be missing out on new audiences or under-serving your existing audience who speak a language other than English. One way to serve those audiences is by offering translated content.

Here are the three types of web content your company should translate to attract and retain a bigger audience.

1. How-to Articles & Guides

People are always looking for quick answers when searching the web. How-to articles and guides are some of the best types of content you can produce for both B2B and B2C consumers.

Your approach to how-to articles will generally include identifying a problem and listing detailed steps to a solution. Be as detailed as possible by including diagrams and pictures. Many people are visual learners and will appreciate having those resources. These visual guides are also useful in your translated content, as they are ready-to-go resources that don’t need translation.

How-to articles and guides also have a great long tail search potential, since many people are searching the web using introductions such as: “How to…”, “How do I…?” and “How do you…?” You may have already discovered this since you’re producing how-to content in English.

Weber Blog with Tips and How-tos

Now take that how-to content and translate it into Spanish or a few other languages. Out of all the Spanish speakers in U.S., there are over 78% that use the internet. Those users are most certainly looking for the same solutions as English speakers for how to effectively solve their problems.

You can be the company that meets the need of those users by providing multilingual how-to content.

Projected End Result: Better search traffic to your company’s website and more qualified leads. The satisfaction of knowing you answered someone’s question and made their day a bit easier.

2. Lists

People love lists. Especially Top 10 lists. Psychologists refer to this as a “top-10 effect,” where people lump things into round-number groups and view everything else as inferior. If you got this far in this article, you already read the first thing on my list (see 1. How-to Articles & Guides)!

Creating lists is incredibly easy if you follow the formula of introducing a topic, listing your points, and providing a conclusion. If you look on BuzzFeed, lists are some of the most popular content types that go viral.

BuzzFeed Content with Popular Lists

Why not leverage what people love to your advantage?

If you already have lists you created in English, have them translated into Spanish or other languages. Alternatively, work with a translation service company to create lists exclusive to your target audience in their language.

Projected End Result: A strong possibility of your list going viral on social media. This will create brand awareness for your company in non-English speaking markets.

3. Explainer Videos

Implementing video in your content marketing strategy can only improve the authority of your brand. But, like with all things, it has to be done right.

Explainer videos are similar to how-to articles and guides. They are used to explain something to a viewer. This is especially helpful to visual learners as you can often convey more information in a 2 to 3-minute video than you can in an article or guide.

The easiest way to localize an explainer video is by having the voiceovers transcribed and translated into other languages, and implementing them as subtitles. This is probably the most cost-effective way of doing it too.

However, if you have the budget I recommend you translate and localize everything including voiceovers, motion graphics, bumpers and captions/subtitles.

Projected End Result: Increase in brand authority among limited-English proficient audience. Beat your competitors to it since they are probably not doing it.

Things to Consider Before You Translate

Before you rush to translate your how-to articles and guides, lists and explainer videos, consider these things. They are equally as important to the entire process to provide the best user and customer experience.

1. Do some strategic planning.

Understand how translating these types of content falls into your overall marketing and localization strategy. Your company may already be translating other content such as user manuals and eLearning courses. They may simply be an extension of those efforts.

2. Use only professional human translation.

A personal blogger can get away using an automated translation plug-in, but as a business you can’t afford to do that. Quality is what you are looking for and to get it you must work with professional translators.

3. Be prepared to communicate and follow up.

Once you translate your content into other languages, you will start getting feedback and inquiries in those languages. For example, your Spanish-speaking audience will start posting comments in Spanish and perhaps even write to you as well. Have a plan in place on how you will communicate with them.

Ready to have your content translated?

If you said yes, slow down just a bit. Here is why.

Doing things spontaneously is exciting and provides an immediate reward. However, since you should be looking at content translation as an investment, I recommend planning first and foremost.

Contact a professional translation service company to help you with the planning process so you are not wasting money to produce content in other languages and not getting your envisioned results.

Conclusion

You already know that content marketing is here to stay. One way to effectively market to your target audience is by producing content such as how-to articles and guides, lists and videos.

Having that content in English is a great start, but make sure you are serving your entire audience, including those who don’t speak English. A great way to do that is to translate into other languages.

The end result will include more traffic to your company website, better customer engagement, and brand recognition coming from diverse markets.

Have you included translation and localization in your content marketing strategy?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

12 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Translation Company

Your company has some projects lined up for the year that will require it to communicate in more than one language.

You get on Google and search for “translation companies + insert your search criteria here”. In fact, you are probably reading this article because of a search you just did.

You get about a dozen viable options to choose from. The next step is to reach out to those translation companies and get the pricing, right?

Your gut instinct tells you to think of the service as a commodity in order to get a fair comparison and you will most likely go with the lowest price.

Because why pay more for a commodity that’s essentially the same?

The problem here is that not all translation companies sell the same thing even though on the surface they appear to.

How do you determine which company is right for you?

Do that by asking the following 12 questions. You can then compare the data to help you with your selection process.

1. Establish Expertise and Specialization

You work in a specific industry that has its own language, like the one in this example. Make sure the translation company you select understands this.

Some translation companies specialize in patent translations, whereas others focus on medical documents. If you come across a company that claims to do it all, think twice about doing business with them.

Professionals in different fields

One company can’t be a great at everything, despite their great marketing message. Your goal is to identify a translation company that specializes in your industry.

Question to Ask: What is your area of expertise and specialization?

2. Determine Linguist Credentials

There is a big difference between a bilingual individual and a professional translator. There is also a big difference between how different companies screen and qualify their translators.

Your goal here is to make sure that the company is working with seasoned professionals, some of whom may even be certified by the American Translators Association. Just like companies, professional translators specialize in specific fields. One can’t do it all!

Certified Translator

Also, keep in mind that many companies work with freelance translators as opposed to in-house employees. That should not pose any issues for you as long as the company has strict processes in place with regard to quality assurance and confidentiality.

Question to Ask: How do you screen and qualify linguists you work with?

3. Learn About the Project Process

Find out whether the company will use a standard process for all your projects and whether it can be customized per your requirements. At the very least, the process should include measurable milestones such as estimates, project work and project delivery.

Communication is especially important. You should establish a clear communication plan with the company, especially for large scale projects. One possible item to include in the communication plan is weekly status updates.

Translation ingredients

A great company should make the project process as easy as possible for you. That’s less for you to worry about, because you already have enough to do.

Question to Ask: What is your project process and will it be customized for our needs?

4. Meet the Team

When engaging a translation company, ideally you would want a dedicated account manager and project manager assigned to your account. The account manager will handle the sales and administrative tasks whereas the project manager will be responsible for all the actual project work.

Project Team

Not having a dedicated project team assigned to you can lead to frustration; especially if you have to explain yourself over and over again to people you haven’t worked with before.

Avoid the frustration by requesting a dedicated project team.

Question to ask: Will we be assigned a dedicated account manager and project manager?

5. Learn About the Technology

Depending on the scope of your project, your translation company may need significant technical infrastructure in place to complete the work. This includes both hardware and software.

If you are working with large audio and video files, bandwidth and storage are the two areas to look at immediately. Video files can take days to upload and download, which could delay your project.

Recording Studio Mixing Console

On the software side, check with the translation company to see if they can work with Adobe Creative Suite, Articulate Storyline and other applications that may be used in your industry.

Question to Ask: Do you have the technical infrastructure to support our work?

6. Specify Security and Confidentiality Standards

Your content may include sensitive information such as social security numbers, bank account numbers and HIPAA PHI. You invest significant resources in protecting that information on behalf of your clients.

Make sure that the company you are planning to work with has security compliance protocols in place to handle such information with care.

IT Security

Many U.S.-based companies work with freelance translators around the world, so if you are particular about where your data is stored and shared, be sure to clarify it with the company in advance.

Question to Ask: How do you handle confidential information?

7. Understand the Scale

Translating 1,000 words in one language is a lot easier than translating 100,000 words in ten languages. Be sure to specify the magnitude and scale of your projects to the translation company.

Supply & Demand

Like manufacturing facilities, some translation companies are suited for smaller projects and simply don’t have the resources to handle large scale assignments. You don’t want to put yourself in a position to find out that the company you just awarded the contract to can’t handle the work.

Ideally, the company you choose can demonstrate experience with similar projects either through references or case studies.

Question to Ask: What is your experience with projects similar in scope to ours?

8. Set Expectations for Quality

Find out about the company’s TEP process. Do they have one in place?

TEP stands for Translation, Editing and Proofreading. Those three steps are essential to every translation project.

The translation part is completed by one person. The editing and proofreading are done by another.

Ideally, all three steps should be done by different people. At the minimum, there should be at least two.

Are you prepared to invest in quality translations?

Think about the big picture and how the TEP process will integrate within your project. Other quality assurance milestones may be needed along the way such as post-DTP review, focus group feedback and in-country localization testing.

Question to Ask: What does your quality assurance process look like and how will you integrate it with our needs?

9. Expect Consistency

I try to be as consistent as possible in all articles that I write. Inevitably, I will make mistakes along the way and use different words to describe similar concepts.

Consistency issues are magnified during the translation process, especially if they are not caught and corrected during TEP and QA steps.

Luckily, there is translation technology that can be leveraged to help ensure your translated message is consistent.

Kilgray memoQ Translation Memory

With the help of translation memory, once a word is translated a certain way it can then be used (leveraged) throughout all your content in a consistent matter. A terminology list and a glossary are also useful in this area.

Not all companies have in-house translation technology. Choose the one that does if consistency is important to you.

Question to Ask: Will you start a dedicated translation memory and terminology list for our project?

10. Be Ready for Changes

There are two scenarios you will come across working with translation companies. They include changing something during the project and changing something after the project has been completed.

Ideally, you want to avoid change orders during the project. Depending on the changes, the project cost may go up and the delivery timeline may be extended.

You always have to be ready for the unexpected and your translation company should be too. Clarify the company’s change order process and any risks associated with it.

Changes in project scope

The second scenario can usually be classified as a project update. Changing something after the initial project is completed is basically starting a new project to implement those changes. Here is how you can save costs doing that.

Question to Ask: What is your change order process?

11. Get It In Writing

In my experience, estimates for small projects (less than $25,000) usually end up equaling the final invoice amount. The turnaround time is easier to estimate and plan for in small project as well.

For large scale projects that require ongoing translation work and a commitment of several months, the estimates may not be as precise. This is largely due to changes in scope during the project.

How to get a Quick Translation Estimate from any Vendor

If you are getting multiple bids for a large scale project and one bid seems very low compared to the others, it’s probably too good to be true.

The chances are that the company bidding on it didn’t understand the full scope of your project.

Question to Ask: How accurate are your estimates with regard to cost and turnaround time?

12. Ask for References

Companies are really great at talking about themselves. They even have marketing budgets for that purpose.

Don’t be seduced by their marketing message – ask for client references!

References

Three references should do. Contact those references by phone and email, and ask about their experience with the company you are thinking of working with.

Question to Ask: What do others say about you?

Conclusion

Now that you have the answers to the above questions, it’s fair to consider the price. It’s certain that some prices will be higher than others.

Instead of choosing strictly based on price, you can now form an opinion on the value behind each estimate.

You can determine what’s valuable to you based on how your selected pool of companies responds to these questions.

This list of questions is by no means all-inclusive.

However, it will get you started in choosing the right translation company for your project. You may even find yourself adding your own questions to the list once you start the procurement process.

Feel free to share additional questions and your feedback in the comments section.

10 Reasons to Translate Your Business Website

You know what many successful companies have in common, regardless whether they have a dozen employees or thousands around the world?

They communicate in more than one language.

There are many examples of this, especially on the internet.

Here is a great example:

Alaska Airlines Spanish Language Website

You are probably wondering how you can make your business more successful, right?

One way to do it is to communicate with your customers through your website and do it in their language.

It seems like a daunting task, and it can be if not carefully planned and executed.

The good news is it’s now easier than ever before to translate business websites.

In this article, I won’t show you how. That will follow later.

What I will do is give you 10 solid reasons, backed by research and real business examples, on why you should translate your business website.

1. Grow revenue and increase profit

Without revenue and profit, a business cannot sustain itself.

If your company hit a revenue plateau, it’s time to think about how to continue growing your revenue.

Netflix did just that. According to a recent article in The New York Times by Emily Steel, Netflix will be enlarging its global footprint in the next two years.

Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, said that expanding the company globally is important since its growth is slowing down in the United States. Hastings believes that delivering its services in more countries will help Netflix reach its target revenue of $10 billion and allow the company to reinvest in its service.

Netflix U.S. Website

Your company may not be the size of Netflix, but it can still replicate its success.

You can start by thinking about translating your company’s website into another language to increase your revenue and profit.

2. Expand into new markets

If you are thinking about expanding your business into a new market, whether within the United States or abroad, consider translating your website as a part of your expansion strategy.

By translating your website into Spanish alone you will be able to cater to the over 37 million Spanish speakers in the United States.

And according to the Pew Research Center, that number is set to rise to as many as 43 million by 2020. Similar data provided by Pew Research indicates that more than three-in-four (78%) Latinos say they use the internet.

Internet Use Trends Among Latinos by Pew Research

If you want to go beyond the United States, consider expanding into Canada.

As part of your expansion plans you will be required to provide content in both English and French. Both are Canada’s official languages. With over 87% of Canadian households connected to the internet, Canada is a very lucrative market to consider expanding into.

3. Provide better customer experience

According to Common Sense Advisory, the first task of any visitor on a global website is to find a language he or she can read.

If they can’t understand the content of your website, they will most likely leave and go to your competitor.

Provide great customer experience by speaking your customer's language

Providing a great customer experience goes beyond translating content into another language. You have to make sure it’s done right.

This means that you should avoid plugins and services that translate your content automatically without human review. I recommend working with a company that specializes in translating content for multilingual websites.

4. Build trust and credibility of your brand

Shawn Hessinger, the editor of Small Business Trends, said that people instantly assess you and your business when they visit your website.

What this means for you is that if your visitors speak a language other than English, they will have a hard time understanding what you are selling.

You can gain their trust and build the credibility of your brand by offering them content in their language.

Build Trust with Your Customers

There are many other ways you can improve your credibility.

To find out what these are, check out the Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility.

5. Comply with laws and regulations

You may have the best intentions to provide multilingual content on your website.

When you do, make sure you comply with all the local laws and regulations. Anthropologie, an American women’s clothing retailer, learned this when expanding into Quebec.

Anthropologie’s website was taken offline because it didn’t meet the linguistic regulations in Quebec. As a result, Anthropologie had to drive their Quebec-based website visitors to their brick-and-mortar store in Montreal.

Anthropologie Quebec Website

The lesson learned from this case is that you have to provide multilingual content on your website in certain markets and do it in a way that complies with laws and regulations.

6. Increase traffic to your website

Neil Patel increased search traffic to his website by 47% when he translated its content into 82 languages.

Even if you translate your website’s content into one language, such as Spanish, your traffic will increase. This is because people who speak Spanish use search engines such as Google.

It is tempting to use automated translation tools, like Google Translate, or translation plugins for WordPress.

I would advise against using such tools for your business website. The reason why is because these tools are not perfect and even one small translation mistake can be disastrous for your business.

Always opt for a professional translation for your business content.

7. Not all web content is in English

Did you know that as of March 2015, English made up only 55.5% of global website content?

According to W3Techs, the other languages that round up the top 10 are: Russian, German, Japanese, Spanish, French, Chinese, Portuguese, Italian and Polish.

W3Techs usage of content languages for websites

If you compare these numbers to the most spoken languages in the world, you will find that a very significant population is underserved.

This is especially true for Spanish.

In 2014, there were 392 million Spanish speakers in the world compared with only 4.6% websites in Spanish.

8. Get news coverage

If you build it, it does not necessarily mean they will come.

In other words, launching a website in another language does not automatically guarantee you will get results you want.

One way to get results is to publicize it.

Send out a press release announcing what you are doing and why. You may not get the national coverage that Netflix got from The New York Times, but you are likely to end up in your local business journal.

Translating your website can get you press coverage

Expanding your business into new markets and translating your website into another language can be a news-worthy event.

As a result, you will get more publicity for your business.

9. It’s easier to do it now than ever before

The world is more connected than ever before.

As of 2014, there were 968,882,453 websites on the internet and that number is increasing every second.

This growth can be attributed to many factors, and one such factor is that it’s easy to launch a website.

Total number of websites on the internet

It’s also easy to have your website translated. There are many reputable translation companies that specialize in this area.

The only thing you would need to do is figure out what languages you need your website translated into and why.

Once you do, get in touch with a translation company to start the discussion.

10. Beat your competitors to it

If you made it this far in the article, you are probably intrigued by the idea of translating your company’s website.

So, why not do it?

Do some research and see if your competitors have their websites translated.

If they don’t, beat them to it.

If they do, see how they did it and make yours better.

Conclusion

You’ve learned that there are many things successful companies have in common.

One of those things is having the ability to communicate with their customers in different languages.

You can communicate with your customers in their language through your website.

The best way to do it is to have your website professionally translated. And if you have a boss to convince, you now have 10 solid reasons to support your case.

What other reasons can you think of to translate your business website?

Share in the comments.

How to Penetrate New Markets in the Pacific Northwest

As a marketer, you’re always looking for untapped market segments of potential consumers to buy your products or services, right?

If you’re not, your competitors will beat you to it.

Those new market segments are not easy to come by, and you know it.

Would you like to learn about potential new market segments in the Pacific Northwest and how to penetrate them?

If you do, this article is for you.

Specifically, I am going to provide you with geographic and cultural data to help you with your marketing efforts.

Similar data is already out there, provided by various government entities, but some key details are missing.

The data I will provide you with comes straight from our company.

I will give you a transparent, inside look into up-to-date cultural trends from NWI Global.

Before I dive into the details, I’d like to give credit to Certified Languages International and their annual nationwide language trends statistics. You may find these statistics useful if you’re targeting consumers on a national level.

What I am going to do is zoom in on the Pacific Northwest and provide you statistics for this area of the country.

Once you know what languages your consumers speak, you will have a better understanding of how to market to them.

Notes and Assumptions about the Data

The data used for this report comes from a sample of actual requests for in-person interpreting services from clients in a specific geographic segment.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the persons receiving interpreting services in these languages don’t speak English. But more likely than not, they have limited English proficiency.

Additionally, the language spoken by the persons doesn’t identify which country they’re originally from. For example, Russian speakers could be from Russia or Ukraine, etc.

Finally, the in-person interpreting requests came from a variety of clients in various industries, including health care, legal, educational, governmental, business and non-profit.

Geographic Segmentation

When I pulled the data for this report, I essentially narrowed it down to the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area.

Specifically, this segment covers Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties in Oregon. On the Washington side of the river, it includes Clark and Cowlitz counties.

If you are not familiar with this area, here is a nice map for you to reference:

Map of SW Washington & Portland Metro Area

Now that you have a clear understanding of the geographic segment, let’s move on to the cultures within it.

Cultural Segmentation

Knowing the languages spoken by your consumers will help you group them according to their cultural origin.

You will then be able to create effective marketing campaigns targeted specifically to your multicultural audience.

Since language and culture are closely related, you can’t effectively market to persons in their language without understanding their culture and vice versa.

And if you are thinking that marketing only in the English language will work fine, you are missing out on a big opportunity.

You will also create a poor user experience by not providing consumers with information in their language.

Our Data

The data provided below is for in-person interpreting requests filled by NWI Global between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014.

RankingLanguage% of Requests
1Spanish37.14%
2Russian31.55%
3Vietnamese7.96%
4Korean4.09%
5Arabic3.3%
6Japanese2.69%
7Mandarin2.35%
8Farsi1.81%
9Cambodian (Khmer)1.57%
10Cantonese1.35%
11Other Languages6.2%

You can now compare the data in this table to other sources to get a better understanding of your multicultural audience.

Putting the Data to Use

So, how do you penetrate new markets in the Pacific Northwest?

You do that by speaking the language of your customers.

And now that you have access to the language data, you can start using it explore new market segments in the Pacific Northwest. The good news is, you can use the same marketing tools and methods you use for your English language campaigns.

Once you’re ready to market to your target audience in their language, here is why you shouldn’t cut corners doing it.

If you don’t have an in-house localization department, make sure you’re working with a language service vendor that understands your exact requirements and what you’re trying to achieve.

The benefits of communicating with your customers in their languages are immeasurable, assuming you get it right.

Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources for languages spoken in the Pacific Northwest:

Conclusion

Finding new market segments is not an easy task.

Why not branch out and focus on a specific geographical area and different cultures within it?

Now that you know the top spoken languages in the Pacific Northwest, you can better target your potential consumers.

You will also create a great user experience by providing content in their languages.

What are your experiences with identifying new market segments and communicating with consumers in different languages?

When Not to Translate Content into Other Languages

Creating excellent marketing content could take months for a solid and intriguing campaign.

It involves your marketing, sales, operations and executive teams.

Now that you have your content ready in English, you are thinking of translating it into other languages.

You then decide to reach out to a language service company to discuss your project and get a quote.

But what if that’s not necessarily the best approach?

Let’s discuss why.

Timing and planning are critical when it comes to content translation, just like with any other component of a well-executed marketing campaign.

If you haven’t planned for your content to be translated and thought of it as a post-marketing campaign activity, you might be in for a surprise.

Since timing is essential in marketing, I am going to focus on the when instead of the why.

Here is when not to translate content into other languages, as it may hurt your overall marketing efforts.

1. When you are not sure about the difference between translation & interpretation.

Yes. There’s a significant difference between the two.

The overall concept is the same, as it involves converting one language to another. However, when we in the industry talk about translation we generally refer to translating the written word.

You wouldn’t have your content interpreted, but rather translated. Now on the other hand if you really need your content “interpreted”, then I recommend having a professional interpreter assist you with the task. Interpretation refers to communicating orally or using sign language.

Translation
Interpretation

Now you know the difference between translation & interpretation and can figure out how to integrate either or both into your marketing campaign.

My Recommendation: Study up on the basic language service industry terminology so you know exactly what to ask for when procuring language services.

A good language service company will guide you along. A not so good one may take your request literally and deliver unexpected results.

When to Do: Before you contact a language service company to engage them to work on your project.

2. When you’ve not thought about translating your content at all.

I’ve seen thousands of content translation projects in the past 10 years. More than half of those projects fall into this category.

The content was originally created in English and it was later needed to be translated into other languages.

There are a few issues when approaching a translation project in this matter. Perhaps the biggest one is that the content was written in a way that can only be understood by an American target audience.

The language and concepts used in the English copy did not translate well into other languages. This is because those concepts don’t exist in those cultures.

Another issue is being overly verbose. I’m talking about cramming as many as 1,000 words on a single page without any graphical elements.

While the document looks fine in English, it may not look as good in Spanish. The reason – Spanish expands by 20% to 25% in volume of words compared to the English source.

All of the sudden you have 1,250 words you have to fit nicely on one page. This makes it really difficult to read without a magnifying glass.

Remember: White Space is Your Friend

There are many other issues that are worth mentioning, but they would require their own blog article. So, I will just focus on these two for now.

My Recommendation: If you can do two things when you are creating the English source, do these. First, make sure your text is easily translatable. Use clear and objective writing style without any jargon or slang.

Finally, remember that large fonts and white space are your friends. Stick to 300 to 500 words per page and use plenty of white space. For more information, check out the best practices for easy reading.

When to Do: While creating your source documents.

3. When you don’t know your target audience.

English into Spanish is by far the most common language combination for language service companies in the United States.

With so much supply and demand, it must surely be easy to integrate in your content, right?

This is true as long as you know your target audience. Whether it’s Spanish or any other language, the same concept applies.

For example, your Spanish-speaking target audience could be from Mexico or Puerto Rico. Some live in the Pacific Northwest, others in New England.

Or you might be planning an expansion into Europe and require Castilian Spanish.

7up targetting the wrong audience

The reading level is also good to consider. How literate is your target audience?

It’s important to establish and clarify the reading level while scoping your project out. Are you targeting scientists or high school students with your efforts?

Your English copy may work well for English-speaking audience, but if the translated copy inadvertently changes the reading level, you may not get the results you expected. Or worse, you may completely alienate your target audience.

My Recommendation: Understand who you are targeting and make sure your language service company does to. Consider the variations in languages, including common ones such as Spanish and French. Make sure your intended reading level is conveyed in the translated text.

When to Do: During the project scoping phase.

4. When you’re not prepared for the costs associated with translation.

If you are serious about producing quality content in other languages, you should start thinking about how it will impact your budget. Quality translation and related language services will come at a price.

The question is, are you ready to pay that price?

Are you prepared to invest in quality translations?

Here’s a suggestion to help you prepare for costs associated with language translation services.

The way most language service companies charge for their services is per word. The more words your English copy contains, the higher the translation cost will be.

One way to reduce the costs is to prepare your content in a TM-friendly format.

TM stands for Translation Memory. It’s a tool that human translators use to help improve productivity, consistency and quality, while leveraging the text that’s already been translated.

The more text a translator is able to leverage, the more cost savings you can take advantage of. MemoQ is a great TM tool if you are looking to deploy one in your organization.

My Recommendation: Budget for translation services in advance. Be prepared to describe what you need done, so a language service company can provide you with an appropriate quote.

When shopping for translation services, keep in mind that there will always be a company out there that can do it for less. Going with the cheapest alternative now may cost you more in the long run.

When to Do: At the time you are planning your overall budget.

5. When you don’t have a post-translation strategy.

You had all of your content translated and published.

What’s your plan now?

This is where the post-translation strategy comes in play. You’ve got to be ready for all the incoming business that you’re projected to get from non-English speaking customers.

The problem is that those customers don’t speak English and will be contacting you in their language.

If you had your materials translated into Spanish, make sure you at least have bilingual staff on your team to handle inbound Spanish requests. If you don’t, it will certainly cause a frustrating customer experience.

Same applies to inquiries that come in electronically or in writing. Do you have a plan to have those back-translated into English?

Be ready for inquiries in other languages because they will come.

My Recommendation: Plan on handling inbound business in foreign languages. Include a communication plan in your post-translation strategy.

Think beyond the translation phase and how you will handle all the inbound business. This could be as simple as hiring bilingual employees to interact with your customers.

Alternatively, you can partner with a language service company to assist.

When to Do: Before you publish your translated content to the public.

Conclusion

Whether it’s a marketing campaign or a simple brochure that you need translated, consider these concepts when approaching your next project. They will help you get the results you want.

You now know when not to translate content. Plan things out first and do it the right way!

Share your stories about content translation strategies gone wrong (or right) in the comments.

How to Instantly Improve Global Customer Experience

This week is the National Customer Service Week, so in its honor I’d like to show you how you can improve your customer experience strategy.

Customer service is an essential component of the overall global customer experience, from building awareness and attracting new customers to conversion, cultivation and advocacy.

There are three organizations I’m going to analyze and demonstrate how they implement language services in their customer experience process.

Three Organizations Delivering Excellent Customer Experience

What do Amazon.com, Clark Public Utilities and the Ritz-Carlton all have in common?

They were among 50 organizations recognized by J.D. Power for providing the highest level of customer service.

They are also quite different from one another. One is an eCommerce giant, the other a public utility and the third a world-class luxury hotel chain.

In the case of Amazon.com and the Ritz-Carlton, there is a lot of very good competition out there. Customers have a choice to buy goods & services from other online retailers and travelers can stay at other luxury hotels.

With Clark Public Utilities, the case is slightly different, because there’s no competition. You only have one place to buy power and water in that geographical location.

All three of these organizations found ways to deliver the best service to their customers through a variety of ways. More importantly, they found ways to improve the overall customer experience & satisfaction.

It’s relatively easy to capture one transaction from a customer. Your goal should be on figuring out on how to get that customer to come back for more.

If your customer has an excellent experience interacting with you, they will surely buy from you again.

Here’s how you can instantly improve your global customer experience strategy.

Communicate with Your Customers in Their Language

The days of English being the language of commerce are behind us. If you’re not creating brand awareness in Chinese, Spanish and Arabic, you are missing out on a huge business opportunity.

Besides English, those three languages and their respective dialects are the most common in the world. That’s a lot of purchasing power!

Whether you’re doing business in other countries or within the United States, adding the ability to communicate in your customers’ languages is a guaranteed way to improve customer experience & satisfaction.

Here is how Amazon.com, Clark Public Utilities (CPU) and the Ritz-Carlton do it.

Amazon.com Localized User Experience

Amazon.com is a global eCommerce giant that consistently ranks first in online sales.

An intuitive navigation structure combined with localized websites makes it easy for customers to find what they are looking for and buy it. And if they’re later not happy with the purchase, they can generally return it without any hassle.

Amazon.com Website Localization

Localized versions of Amazon.com

Roughly 33% of Amazon.com’s annual sales came from international markets.

That’s partly due to the customer experience they provide through localized websites. That number will most certainly increase as Amazon.com expands into other global markets.

Your take away: Consider translating and localizing your marketing communication materials and website content into other languages.

Clark Public Utilities Customer Support

Being a CPU customer myself, I was not surprised to see them ranked on the J.D. Power list for great customer service. CPU provides a great customer experience through their 24/7/365 call center.

Without having any competition where local customers can go buy similar utility services, CPU has a great business model with virtually no competition.

They don’t necessarily have to provide great customer service, but they do nonetheless.

When you call in, you’re greeted by a customer service representative that can assist you with your bill or any questions you may have. Let’s say you don’t speak English and have trouble communicating. The CPU representative will instantly bring an interpreter on the line who speaks your language to help facilitate the communication.

Many communities in the United States are as diverse as the world itself. In essence, that makes the global customer experience become more local.

Your take away: Consider implementing telephone interpreting services to support your call center operations.

The Ritz-Carlton Customer Service

The Ritz-Carlton operates luxury hotels and resorts in major cities across 26 countries. The customer service provided by the Ritz-Carlton is considered a benchmark for service industries worldwide.

Having stayed at the Ritz-Carlton hotels before, I can personally attest to the quality experience I’ve had. When you fly in and get to your hotel, all you want to do is check in and be on your way.

The entire interaction process from making reservations to checking in has to feel comfortable and seamless. It’s something that you experience consciously and subconsciously.

Regardless of your destination, the staff will make sure they communicate to you in your language in a courteous and welcoming matter.

Your take away: Consider the big picture of customer experience and make sure you’re not alienating persons who speak different languages.

Focus on the Customer

Implementing professional language translation & interpreting services may seem like an unnecessary cost, and it may very well be costly in the beginning.

However, when properly implemented, providing these services will turn into a profit center, while keeping your customers happy and coming back for more.

If you have other global customer experience ideas to share, I’d like to hear them.

Share your thoughts in the comments section.