Translate Or Create: Strategies For Those With English-Language Sites

Jul 11, 2006 - 10:00 am 1 by
Filed Under SES Latino 2006

Danny is modding up this session, he asked if anyone went to any parties last night. No one raised their hands, I guess they are still sleeping.

James Douglas from Ion Global is first up. What percentage of people on Earth speak English as preferred language? Less than 20%. Spanish? More than English. Most popular language? Chinese. Success is not just about translation. He shows a sony site translated from Japanese to English and how poorly it was done. He then shows, and they show off their Spanish language site. They did not translate the top navigation and header of the Spanish site. Translation while understandable or accurate is usually unsuited for the Web, where you want to sell. Tone and formality, "Welcome back Joe" versus, "We are honored by your returned visit Mr. SDSSD." Most formal countries to least are; Japan, S. Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, China and so on. He shows off slides of a client of his, Walt Disney World site, not just translation, but XYZ is as big as "local place goes here." It is not just translate, it is "transcreate." He shows how the design can be affected by language issues, more text can make the page look awkward. He then shows a picture of a guy in underwear, with an "OK" mark, but the OK mark is not OK in Brazil (no idea why, someone may tell me). changed "cart" to "basket" for the UK version. Culturally audit your images and enabled your CMS to swap out images. He then shows Arabic, right to left, versus left to right type. So design with international in mind (nav, images, iconography). Make it easy for your users to find international versions of your site. GE does it well, so does Oracle. Or you can use a Global splash page (entry page, like or UPS (comes to mind), IKEA, FisherPrice). You can also do a persistent navigation option, for example Toyota, Intel. It is best to place that global gateway icon at the top right. So make it easy to find your global sites. Consider TEXT instead of GIFs, look at the IKEA web site, all the data is text driven, helps with language and SEO.

Huiping Iler from based in Canada. Online, you can online sell with content (including pictures and text). She shows how Babel Fish translation can drive people away, is machine translation viable? Machine translation is best at translating technical content. The Meteo system is a tool that works very well for weather translation. Example, the ford "front" it only means a weather system. But that is one case machine translation works well. But when we write content, the content we write, cannot easily be translated by a machine. What about using someone who speak native in the language? Well, would you ask a friend to pull your teeth or would you go to a Dentist. Ummm... A translator needs to understand the context around the text, the tone of the saying. If you cannot afford to translate all your pages, pick and choose. She said, 80% of the content Microsoft writes does not get read. Translation needs to know SEO, and which terms are used more in that language. She shows how the H&R Block site, english versus Spanish version are completely different in terms of level of SEO. The Spanish version is optimized for "Spanish Site." She shows the SEO + Translation workflow; before developer a glossary of keyword phrases then during apply on-page SEO best practices and then after to QA work.

Marcelo Sant'Iago from the IAB Brazi. Some machine translation like device was playing in the background, too funny - the speaker mimicked it. Translate landing pages into Spanish or Portuguese, you do not need to translate the whole site. Or you can use mini-sties. Adcopy/content strategy: have different budgets and strategies for each country in Latin America. He shows design versus diseno. He also shows Google Trends, country break down and city break down. Strategy: offshoring/outsourcing, you need a local partner.

Jonathan Mendez is last up, this time representing OTTO Digital. Relevancy = Engagement = Conversion = Optimization. It is difficult to deliver relevance to the user. He searches for "latin america" in Google and up came three Google image results, two were maps and a third was latin American girls. The Hispanic population is very diverse and dispersed. This is an opportunity to deliver relevance to the Hispanic market. Audience Segmentation is the first step, you segment by keyword, source, geo location, the language and the stage of the buying cycle. The keyword shows us the goal of the user searching. He shows targeting a "use cars" keyword in Spanish, and it takes you to the new cars landing page and not used cars (plus not in Spanish). The Source helps us show consideration stage, and their motivation. Geo location tell us where they came from and you can create localized messages and seasonality based messages. Language tells us what to serve up to the user, in terms of content. The stage of the buying cycle is also very important; new visitor, return visitor and regular customer. He shows how sites can change the site based on each type of customer. The tools that help include site analytics data, search channel data, customer/sales data and also research data. Within each segment you need to determine which user has the most value. Then they have the "highest value user" and they craft experiences relevant to that user. He explains that there technologies out there that can deliver based on your rules. You don't need to create a new site, just the highest value areas.

Disclaimer: I type as fast as I can, there are grammar errors, typos and more issues with this. I do my best to be as accurate as possible. But due to the nature of "real time" coverage, there will be issues.


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