LinguaLinx, Marketing and SEO

multicultural marketing

Roger The Robot, the official mascot of SEOMOZ, bears the gift of wisdom.

LinguaLinx and its clients were recently featured in SEOMOZ, a much respected blog for professionals in the marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) fields.The blog post was entitled Beyond SEO: Why Good Translation is the Secret Sauce for Successful International Projects. It made the point that technical SEO expertise on things like website architecture and page titles isn’t enough. Expert translation is also essential.

You can read the full blog post here. Some excerpts follow.

More and more companies are going global, especially in the eLearning, software, consumer goods and high tech industries. These days, product or marketing managers are often given ridiculously short deadlines to do multilingual product launches – everything from websites, to compliance documentation, to manuals, to brochures and marketing materials. And it’s all needed yesterday in a dozen or more languages.

Comme on dit en anglais: “Oy, Vey.” Or to put it a bit more diplomatically…

International SEO is part of this, but remains just that: part of a larger whole. Our advice is:

  • Do not get obsessed with having a local IP for your ccTLD site, as it is now a minor ranking factor
  • It is extremely unwise to rely on automated translation services, especially Google Translate
  • It is equally unwise to rely on people in-house, who happen to know the language to be translated to.

Many people appreciate that machine translation or word-for-word human translation can lead to problems. But they think the best that can be expected of translation is to accurately convey the nuance of one language into another.

Not so! You need to take things a step further. What’s really needed is “cultural consulting” that solves business problems. You need to reach new target audiences in ways that best suit them.

Americans tend to see their brand of informality and directness as virtuous. Not everyone in every country agrees.

Whatever your product or industry, you need to send these crucial messages to your clients and prospective clients:

  • We know you
  • We respect you
  • We have taken the time and trouble to get the details right

The alternative is to send the very bad message of: “We want your money, so please send it right away even though we can’t be bothered to appreciate what makes you and your culture special and distinctive.”

A few minutes of Googling can bring up many examples like these:

  • In Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan “finger-lickin’ good” came out as “eat your fingers off.” Not so good!
  • Japan’s second-largest tourist agency was mystified to get requests for sex tours after it entered the English-speaking market. The name of the agency? Kinki Nippon Tourist Agency
  • The correct Spanish translation for the dairy association slogan “Got milk?” is not, in fact, the equivalent of: “Are you lactating?”
  • A coche is a car in Spain  but a baby stroller in much of Latin America!

If you get stuff like this wrong, it could be a bad mistake that costs you time and money. And it would all be because you came across as disrespectful, when you were probably just clueless. It’s all so needless.

You need to deftly address the critical cultural perceptions that make all the difference to the success or failure of your project. And that’s precisely the expertise LinguaLinx offers.


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