How to Make your Website Global e-Commerce Friendly

global marketingAll business owners know that in today’s online market, they have to have an e-Commerce website if they want to really succeed.  Yes, a small, primarily local business can get by without one, but any company that wants to operate on a national scale must be online.  Operating on a global level, however, means going one step further.  There’s a difference between a great e-Commerce site and a great global e-Commerce site.  If you want to successfully enter the global market, here are a few things you need to do to make your website more global-friendly.

  • Offer your website in multiple languages. There are a number of language translation services that you can hire to translate your website.  While you don’t have to offer it in every language, you should try to provide the most important text on your site in at least several major languages.
  • Don’t just translate your site, transliterate it. Have a native speaker read over your translated text to make certain that you haven’t used any idioms or phrases that don’t exist or make any sense in the translated version.
  • Make it easy to find information about international orders, especially international shipping. You should include how much it will cost and how long shipping will take.  You also need to make certain that you break down shipping costs and times by country and let customers know that they may have to pay extra taxes or duties on some products.  You can also add free apps from shippers like UPS, FedEx, and USPS that will let shoppers see how much shipping will be on the product page.  Be sure all of this information is easy to find and that it can be found by using the website’s internal search engine.
  • Offer sizes in metric.  Most people don’t know how to convert inches to centimeters, so make certain you offer both sizes.  If someone can’t figure out the size or weight of the product, they may leave your site for one that does provide that information.
  • Provide international customers with out of country customer service contact information.  This includes putting the country code in the phone number or even providing a special line for international calls.

Following these tips will put you well on your way to having a great international e-Commerce website that can bring in sales from around the world.

How LinguaLinx Generates Leads With Global Marketing Campaigns And Cultural Cues

global marketingEvery business owner and executive has a keen interest in maximizing sales. Many mistakenly look to do that only by eking out every last sale from a very shallow pool of potential customers. If you take a moment to analyze the reach of your brand with an eye toward how far and wide your company is engaging consumers, it becomes immediately apparent that a larger audience is what will lead to significantly increased sales. LinguaLinx specializes in broadening the audience of our clients by providing context for creative content in ways that appeal to people in whichever native language they prefer.

“New LinguaLinx clients gravitate toward the long list of languages that our translation services company provides, and we are certainly proud of our ability to work seamlessly in more than 150 different languages or dialects,” said Jim Maziejka, Sales Manager of LinguaLinx Inc. “What really sets us apart is our understanding of cultural cues and market research that empower our efforts by matching your message to the mores and customs of each target audience.”

In the early days of digital advertising companies sought to get their message across in sweeping strokes with a one-size-fits-all mentality that often led to comically inept results. The classic example often cited is the “Chevy Nova” that was sold globally, even though Nova in English could easily be misunderstood by Spanish speaking people as “No va” which literally translates as “doesn’t go.”

Modern marketing makes use of many available metrics that allow us to drill-down deeper into each local audience to find the vocabulary that will work best. Geotargeting, social media and other new technologies also make it possible to craft different messages to reach each audience in the way they are most likely to find favorable.

“What LinguaLinx does is easiest to understand if you think about marketing like any other real world interaction with someone,” said Mr. Maziejka. “If a guy walked up to you at a barbecue and started trying to sell you something in a foreign language while repeating the same four or five buzzwords over and over again, you’d be a lot less likely to buy it from him than if he walked up to you and started speaking to you about local news from a couple days ago while gradually moving the conversation toward the item he is hoping to sell. That’s what gives consumers a chance to get the feeling that he really is one of us rather than just another transient outsider who showed up for some free food.”

Your products and services can sell anywhere in the world. There are companies right now selling bottled water to people who live ten feet away from a fresh water stream. What matters is your message, and that message should always include the subtle connotations, cultural cues or local flavor each audience appreciates most.

To gain a competitive advantage with a global audience while reaching deeper into existing markets, you are encouraged contact LinguaLinx today to benefit from a truly multicultural approach to marketing.

Global Marketing Spotlight: Mexico

global marketingDiversity is the language of commerce, and an increasing number of the world’s consumers are now located outside the United States. Marketing to a global customer base may prove challenging, but definitely rewarding. As a global marketing agency specializing in translation and other multilingual needs, LinguaLinx wants to make it a little easier for you, and shine a spotlight on international markets. For this month’s post, let’s stay close to home and look at Mexico.

Five Reasons Why You Should Focus Your Global Marketing Efforts in Mexico

  1. Location, location, location! Mexico is a great place for US-based businesses to expand due to proximity – and free trade agreements. The list of countries encompasses the United States and Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Israel, Japan, and the EU.
  2. Mexico is a MIST nation – another acronym for emerging markets besides BRICS. They rank #16 on Bloomberg’s list of Top 20 Emerging Markets.
  3. In 2011, U.S. goods and services trade with Mexico equaled about $500 billion! They are our 3rd largest trading partner and the 2nd largest goods export market. Top industries include machinery, electrical machinery, mineral fuel and oil, vehicles, plastic, and also agricultural products.
  4. Mexico boasts the fourth fastest-growing social media population in the world, according to eMarketer. Their population is very engaged.
  5. Mexico’s middle class is growing – a 17 percent increase from 2000-2010.

Challenges (And Solutions) For Global Marketing in Mexico

Challenge #1 – Are You Speaking Their Language?

Like the United States, Mexico does not have an official language, but a de facto language – Spanish. You might have heard your Account Executive ask – “What kind of Spanish are you looking for?” The reason why we ask is because Spanish spoken in Spain is different than what is spoken in Latin America. Think of British versus American English; there are differences, but you can still understand what one another are saying or can read what is on paper. However, the differences come out in grammar (vosotros versus ustedes) or in colloquial slang. If you are going after a specific market, such as Mexico, let your LSP know so that we can find a linguist living in Mexico to do your translations.

Challenge #2 – Establishing a Brand Early and Effectively

Learn a lesson from Coca-Cola. They entered Mexico in 1898, so basically everyone living there has grown up with the soft drink. They achieved success by first providing free refrigerators to restaurants, and made sure their product reached even the most remote areas. So they have established a tradition in Mexico and tailor their ads to local culture and customs. This is important for any brand, no matter the size.

Challenge #3 – Do you have a product that will sell in Mexico?

This is an important question – just ask Taco Bell. Most of us in the United States consider Taco Bell fast food with a “Mexican” flair. “Mexican” is in quotation marks because the food served by Taco Bell is not close to authentic Mexican food. This is one of the reasons why Taco Bell has failed in Mexico – not once, but twice. Their first attempt in 1992 was very short lived. In 2007, they tried again, branding their food as Americanized and serving French fries. This attempt failed, as the idea of Taco Bell did not resonate with people in Mexico. They did not like the non-authentic food. Before entering a market, try to do some research to see how your product will be received. Roll it out slowly. Consult in-country experts to see what they think.

Challenge #4 – Lack of Internet Connectivity

Mexico has the second-largest economy in Latin American (behind Brazil) which makes it hard to believe that they only have a 36 percent connectivity rate, which is near the bottom when ranked with other Latin American countries! eMarketer data also puts Mexico behind worldwide trends in total percentage of eCommerce sales related to overall business sales. One positive, though, is that the forecast looks good, according to Forrester research. Most eCommerce customers come from the middle class, and Mexico has one of the fastest growing middle classes in the world! Get on board early and make sure your Spanish language website is up and running. After all, people are more likely to buy products or services if they are presented to them in ways in which they understand!

LinguaLinx and Technical Translation

Global MarketingIf globalization is part of your long-term growth strategy, then you will eventually need to translate technical documentation. Even domestically, if you employ multilingual employees, there is a need, especially when workplace safety is at stake! Manuals, user guides, data sheets, SOPs are examples of materials that need to be reproduced in different languages as your operation expands overseas.

We’ve recently attended a few trade shows and expos, where the chief concern of people we’ve spoken with has been the importance of quality technical translations. We agree, technical translations are definitely challenging. You are handing your materials off to an LSP, hoping that we will translate your materials accurately and cost-effectively. Here are some tips and strategies that we have put together, based on our experience that will help you and help us to ensure that the technical translation process runs smoothly.

1. Translation-friendly content

Slang and idioms are very difficult to translate literally. When creating your technical content, try to keep everything clear, concise, and consistent. From our experience, a lot of our clients have term preferences – if you have a style guide or glossary, you can give this to your LSP. Or, we can work with you on creating a glossary of key terms.

2. Language Expansion

Something to be aware of – languages can expand or contract. For example, when translating from English into a Romance language such as Spanish, expect a 20-30% expansion. Or, when translating from English into an Asian language such as Chinese, expect contraction. This will apply to the overall layout. Will you want to add extra pages, or will you want to shrink the spacing between lines? An LSP will ask these questions, but if you have a preference, you can let us know.

3. File prep and organization

It is best to provide your LSP with files in their original, editable formats, even if you are just looking for a quote. (A PDF is not a source file.) This way, we can run a proper word count, provide an estimate on graphic editing, and provide the best estimate on turnaround time. If source files are not available, things might get a little expensive and time consuming, as things must be recreated. Also, note that screen shots and CAD drawings are not editable. These must be recreated too, especially if you want the text from these items translated.

4. Translation Memory

Translation memory is a great tool to help save time and money for a client. With technical translation, it is paramount for many reasons. First, repetitive text such as warning labels, which are repeated throughout documents, will be the same each time. Second, translation memory is updated real time. Third, your translation memory is yours. That’s right – you own it. So over time, you will have developed a rich database of key terms and phrases that you have had previously translated, which will make the overall process more efficient and cost-effective.

5. Sample translation

It’s like going to an ice cream shop – so many flavors to choose from! Why not try a sample? Pick a small section of a manual and send it to your LSP for sample translation. Then, have your reviewers take a look at it.  This will let you get a feel for their quality and overall what the working relationship will be like.

Knock Global Social Media Out Of The Park!

global marketingMajor League Baseball opens their season this week, and in honor of this, we’ve decided to incorporate two of our favorite things – baseball and social media – into our latest blog post! 

Take a look at your social media strategy – have you covered all of your bases? Step up to the plate. Do you have Facebook on third, Twitter on second, and Instagram on first with no outs? Here’s the pitch – it seems right down the middle, but yet it’s still a swing and a miss! Why is that? The answer is that you need to keep your eye on the ball with your international followers.

Global social media is the best way to engage with followers all over the world. Nearly 1 in 4 people are now using social networks. Here are some things that you should know to really knock it out of the park with global social media!

Perfect Your Fastball

Social media is real time. Because of this, it creates direct conversations and brings followers close to their friends, favorite athletes, celebrities, and in this case – your brand. People choose to follow brands because they provide quality content and timely interaction. A great example of a brand that responds to current events at a quick and witty pace is Arby’s. Take a look at their Twitter feed and you will see what we mean!

Don’t Swing For the Fences with Facebook

…Or any one platform for that matter. Globally, different users prefer different social media platforms. Though Facebook is the top platform in most countries, it is banned in China and is behind Vk.com in Russia, two of the world’s largest internet populations. Chinese social media sites Qzone, Sna Weibo, and Renren rank in the top five for global social networking sites. If you have a lot of Chinese followers, these sites are where you want to be! Our best advice is to do some research to see where your followers are, or where you want to do business and establish a presence on their most popular social media platforms.

Throw a Curveball with Your Content

Just like a starting pitcher needs to vary their pitch types to keep a hitter on their toes, so does a brand on social media. Posting the same content over and over will not benefit you when interacting with international followers. People in Tokyo are not always interested in the same topics as people in Los Angeles – there are different current events and trends. Find out how people in different countries like receiving content. McDonald’s is a great example of a global brand that customizes its products to different markets and plans social media campaigns accordingly. Then, they also have global campaigns for large, global events such as the World Cup or the Olympics.

Use Your Bullpen

You don’t have to do it alone. Just like a pitcher can get worn out from throwing too many innings, it can be exhausting trying to engage with followers everywhere. Try hiring in-country social media managers to disseminate your content. They will be more up-to-speed on cultural nuances and trends and will also know the language so your posts won’t get lost in translation. If this seems like too much, think of your LSP as a relief pitcher to help you close the game!

Being successful with your global social media strategy will not come without errors or strikeouts. By scouting the best platforms to use, learning from what other brands are doing, and using resources such as your LSP, you will become an All-Star yourself!

LinguaLinx at Biomass 2014

What is biomass, and how does it relate to language translation? Well, last week, Ty Mills, Manager of the Metro DC Division, and Randall Wachunas, Business Development Specialist exhibited at the International Biomass Conference and Expo hoping to find out. We caught up with them upon their return to recap their conference experience.

global marketing

Basically, biomass is fuel that is developed from organic materials. It is a renewable source of energy used to create electricity or other forms of power. Examples of biomass include sugarcane, scrap lumber, forest debris, manure, or crops.

“Companies exhibiting at Biomass ranged from very small to much larger conglomerates,” said Ty. “There were people who created silos, drills, conveyor belts, turbines – essentially anything from Step A to Step B and beyond in taking materials and turning them into biomass fuel.”

Before heading to the conference, Randall and Ty knew a little bit about the industry itself, but learned a lot more from talking to attendees walking around the exhibit floor, and also attending a few of the conference sessions. In addition to industry-specific companies, there were also companies that provided supplementary services such as law firms and insurance agencies. One of the biggest challenges at the conference was helping people understand what LinguaLinx does and how it relates to what they do, and also to emphasize the importance of translation.

“We ended up shifting our focus very quickly to emphasize technical translation,” said Randall. “Once we were able to connect the dots, it really clicked with people that they need their manuals, standard operating procedures, and product catalogs translated to be effective on the international stage.”

April Fools’! Where Does Humor Fit Into Your Brand Story?

April Fools' Laugh12 seconds into this year’s Super Bowl, the fastest score in its illustrious history must have seemed like an early – and cruel – April Fools’ Day prank to the Denver Broncos.

The short amount of time from the Super Bowl to April Fools’ Day keeps humor and entertainment at a premium, and it makes sense for content creators to take notice.

The Super Bowl’s much anticipated (and critiqued) television ads remind us that playfulness, humor and entertainment can be powerful components of your brand story. In fact, studies show that humor seems to be an international language; it’s very well received as long as the joke isn’t on you.

Will humor, metaphor, entertainment, or any other storytelling technique help you sell more products or services? Now is the perfect time to find out. @LinguaLinx is doing this on a small scale by showing funny examples of #BadTranslation. Be sure to check it out on Twitter and give us a shout.

If you’re thinking about using humor and entertainment for your content, and you should be, you might want to go back and watch all of this year’s Super Bowl ads for a little inspiration (courtesy of Huffington Post).

What’s next on the horizon from brands with their upcoming April Fools’ Day pranks? For the next few days, only time will tell. In the meantime, we can look back to some of last year’s media mischief ranging from bacon mouthwash and feline headphones to time travel and a television marriage proposal about to get very awkward.

Is there a place for humor in your content plan? Will it gain the attention you want, or does humor merely court people who are looking to be entertained but are not interested in anything else you have to offer?

The answers are specific to every business and target market, but one thing is certain: there’s a very fine line between funny and corny, amusing and offensive, quirky and weird. This factor is even more pronounced when dealing with different languages and cultures.

If humor is part of the storytelling plan for your brand, please take the time and yes – even perform cultural research – necessary to hit the mark and succeed with your content marketing. We want to lessen any effects of the much discussed content shock, not contribute to it!

Speaking of content shock, what is your favorite strategy for overcoming the vast amount of white noise out there? Will humor be a hit in April?

Key Takeaways from Learning Solutions 2014

Last week, LinguaLinx attended the Learning Solutions Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida. Kayleigh and I, members of the business development team, exhibited. Our intent was not to escape the endless, cold winter we’ve had in upstate New York, though this was an added bonus. With an increasingly global workforce, and an increased number of students taking courses online, we felt that the need for translation and localization in the e-Learning industry is very high.

e-Learning Translation

Boy, were we right! This article, published on the website eLearning Industry, lists “Top 10 e-Learning Statistics for 2014 You Need to Know.” In summary, the industry itself is growing rapidly, and companies are realizing the benefits of using e-Learning training to save time and money, and to also make their training more effective.

Where does translation and localization fit in? Quite well, actually. A lot of the e-Learning professionals we spoke with are already translating courses for their clients, or are looking to do so very soon. They had a wide range of questions about the translation and localization process, as well as concerns that they wanted to address. We’ve decided to list a few here, and answer them.

  • How does the e-Learning translation and localization process work? The short answer is – however you want it to work! But we don’t want to just leave it at that. The client has the option of letting us work right in the LMS or to export the content, have us translate it, and then return it for them to import. We can have a linguist check it after the import to make sure that it all “looks good” in the course itself. In regards to audio or video components, we can transcribe audio files. Or, we can translate a script, and then perform the voice-over work. There is also subtitling or dubbing solutions. We like to quote each project so that the overall cost and turnaround time is most accurate.
  • How do you handle translation of very industry-specific content to ensure accuracy? The advantage to working across many industries is that we have extensive resources in a variety of subject matter. Our pool of linguists includes industry experts who have knowledge of the content which will help in industries such as education, medical device, pharma, finance, and more! Also, translation memory ensures that content is consistent in each language over time. We can also work with a client and their internal reviewers to develop a glossary of key terms and preferences.
  • How do you ensure that the content translated is culturally appropriate? Piggy-backing off of the first question, we use in-country, native speakers. This way, they will have knowledge of the cultural nuances and also regional dialects. This helps when figuring out the right way to say something, if the colors or images used are culturally appropriate, and if the overall course will be effective in that particular region of the world. Global e-Learning is not just about translation but localization, too.

Of course, there were many great questions, but we decided to highlight the three most frequently asked. If you have any questions about e-Learning translation, contact us today! It was very nice meeting all of you, and thank you to the eLearning Guild and Learning Solutions Magazine for a great and informative show!

Global Marketing Spotlight: Turkey

global marketingDiversity is the language of commerce, and an increasing number of the world’s consumers are now located outside the United States. Marketing to a global customer base may prove challenging, but definitely rewarding. As a global marketing agency specializing in translation and other multilingual needs, LinguaLinx wants to make it a little easier for you, and shine a spotlight on international markets. After looking at two BRICS nations, we move onto another acronym – MINT, and take a look at Turkey.

Five Reasons Why You Should Focus Your Global Marketing Efforts in Turkey

  1. Turkey’s economy is growing. They rank seventh on Bloomberg’s list of Top 20 Emerging Markets.
  2. Turkey is also a great hub for global commerce, with a strategic location near the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.
  3. It is very easy to establish a business in Turkey, according to Invest in Turkey, especially in comparison to other countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
  4. Turkey is allied with the European Union under a free trade agreement.
  5. The population is young and well-educated, meaning they are very social and enjoy interacting with different brands on social media and the internet. This also makes for a very active consumer market.

Challenges (And Solutions) For Global Marketing in Turkey

Challenge #1 – Speaking the Language

The official language of Turkey is Turkish, and it is spoken by 85 percent of the population, with about 12 percent speaking Kurdish. There are many dialects of Turkish, but modern standard Turkish is derived from Istanbul. Translating your marketing materials, print, and web content will go a long way in building trust with a customer base and to also be competitive in the Turkish market. Working with in-country speakers on translation is a good place to start and also to establish partnerships with people familiar with the language and customs.

Challenge #2 – Understanding Muslim Culture

Turkey is an Islamic nation, though it is considered to be one of the more secular ones in the world. Therefore, you must be aware of Muslim traditions and holidays. These factors come into play when doing business around holiday times such as Ramadan, and also in matters of decency in advertising, which will be discussed next.

Challenge #3 – The Turkish Advertising Board

This relates to Muslim culture and values. Turkey has an Advertising Board which stresses decency in advertising. There are several basic legal requirements in Turkey with the overriding theme that the decency and protection of a consumer supersedes marketing and creative content. Decency principles include such things as religious matters, gender, stereotyping, sexual elements and obscenity, violence and derogatory themes on a specific public group. The best way to make sure your ads don’t go against these regulations is to have in-country cultural consultants work on your contact to make sure it is localized properly.

Challenge #4 – Getting Social

Turkey has one of the most engaged audiences in Europe, according to ComScore data. Facebook is the most popular social media site in Turkey, with over 40 million users. YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn are also very popular, and Turkish users are also very into Google+. Marketing to Turkish users means interacting with what they like. Sports are a popular topic in Turkey. In fact, Article 59 of the Turkish constitution states: “The state shall take measures to develop the physical and mental health of Turkish citizens of all ages, and encourage the spread of sports among the masses.” Top brands followed in Turkey are mostly Turkish brands, but international companies have also achieved success by creating localized Turkish brand pages. A good example is Volkswagen – their Turkish Facebook page has nearly 3 million “likes.”

Challenge #5 – Censorship

YouTube was banned from 2008-2010 in Turkey, until the site agreed to operate under a Turkish web domain. The reason for this was a video, which seemed to insult Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, which is prohibited. Certain key words might lead to your site being blocked in Turkey, and also anything which goes against cultural values. Turkey has recently been in the news regarding a new law that increases government regulation in internet activity. It is important to be aware of these potential regulations when looking to establish a web presence in Turkey. If you do not know if what you are putting on your site goes against these rules or not, it is definitely best to try linguistic and localization testing to not only check to see if your site is functional, but that your content is culturally appropriate.

Cultural Considerations For E-Learning

global marketingNext month, representatives from LinguaLinx will be exhibiting at the 2014 Learning Solutions Conference and Expo March 19-21st.. We will be speaking with e-Learning professionals about global e-Learning localization solutions. In the weeks leading up to the conference, we’re going to tailor a lot of our posts toward the e-Learning industry. If you’re attending the conference, make sure you visit us at Booth #600!

 

E-Learning localization involves translating your content into a different language, but it also involves adapting your content for a specific region or culture. Understanding different cultures and how these differences can affect your global course effectiveness is something to consider while you are designing your courses.

It is definitely beneficial to keep cultural differences in mind well before you look to have your course localized. Think of it as beginning with the end in mind – being aware of culture differences right away will save time and money for you on the back end as localization will become much easier!

Here are a few cultural considerations to keep in mind when designing your e-Learning courses:

1. Gender Roles

From culture to culture, the roles of men and women change. You cannot ignore this when designing courses. A lot of e-Learning courses have voice-over narration of audio scripts as a component to their course. A female narrator would work well in some cultures, such as in the United States, but might not in a Middle Eastern culture, where having a male instructor is the norm. Gender roles come into play with voiceovers and also in images of people used in your courses and how they are interacting with one another.

2. Teaching Styles

Teaching styles also vary across cultures. The major difference is formal versus informal teaching styles. Most Asian cultures prefer a more formal teaching style where the instructor controls the conversation and disagreement and speaking out is discouraged. In the United States and a lot of other Western cultures, there is a more informal style. Employees speak their minds and are usually freer with their opinions, divergent or not. Each style might not be accepted in another culture, and might be considered rude or disrespectful.

3. Learner Characteristics

Here is where we look at the different dynamics of individualism versus collectivism. The United States and Europe are usually characterized by individualism while Asian cultures are more collectivist. Collectivist cultures are described with such adjectives as “interdependence, group identity, self-restraint, and hierarchical control.” Values of the individual are superseded by those of the group. Understanding the rituals of these cultures and how these people think, act, and do business is essential when designing effective courses.

4. Graphics and Symbols

Symbols are not universal. Take hand gestures as an example. Here in the United States, thumbs up means, “got it!” “understood” or “good to go.” In the Middle East, you might as well be flipping the bird! Also, there are things such as dollar signs that won’t make sense in Japan, where they use yen. Road signs instructing a participant to stop or go on in the course also don’t work – the red hexagon sign is not universal. Images and symbols need to be adapted so that they make sense in other cultures and do not offend learners. It is important to make sure each component of your course resonates with the learners in a specific culture.

If you have any questions about culture related to e-Learning or want help in localizing your courses, contact us today!