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The Clientside Podcast

Translating your Website with Wendy Pease

The Clientside Podcast

50 min Wendy Pease

Translating your website to appeal to a wider audience is something that is becoming increasingly common.

In this episode of the Clientside Podcast Andrew Armitage talks to Wendy Pease of Rapport International about the considerations that are required to successfully translate your website.

Wendy highlights the importance of considering the translation from a marketing and design perspective as well as the translation of the words, Wendy shares how you can get the best results from your translation agency along with some of the more common mistakes she sees.

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Andrew:
Welcome back, everybody, to another episode of the Clientside podcast. This is episode number 30 and it's great to be back. I'm the host Andrew Armitage and the show is sponsored by the award winning digital agency I run in the UK called A Digital. So I hope things are going well for you. And you don't mind just one more shameless plug, because if you haven't already heard, I have a book which is now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Holistic Website Planning is all about taking the time to consider the people, the processes and your business environment, the impact they all have on how you go about planning your next website. So if you're considering a new website project over the coming months or even thinking this could be a project for 2022, I can't believe I've just said that if you're going to look to kick off a project in the New Year, then it's actually not all that far away. But this book could be for you. It might just be what you're looking for to help you write your brief, plan your budget, and look at everything you need your website to achieve for you.

Andrew:
So enough of all that talk. And let's move on to introduce today's fantastic guest, because in the global world we live in, it seems to get smaller and smaller thanks to the growth in technology and an increasingly global marketplace, it's possible that you might want to translate your website to appeal to a wider audience. But is it as simple as translating your content into another language to achieve this? Well, my guest today will explain all because Wendy Pease is the owner and president of Rapport International, metro-west Boston translation and interpretation services company specialising in marketing, legal and medical lifesciences translations. Throughout her career, she's worked with hundreds of companies to help them communicate across more than 200 languages and cultures. Wendy is a creative entrepreneur with an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and a BA in Foreign Service and International Politics from Penn State. Her expertise in international relations grew from working in several international and global marketing roles and spending years living abroad. So welcome to the podcast, Wendy.

Wendy:
I'm thrilled to be here.

Andrew:
Well, I really appreciate you joining me. So just to kick things off, why don't you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and your experience and what led you to set up your Rapport International?

Wendy:
Sure. Well, I was actually laid off on maternity leave and I didn't know what I was going to do. I knew I wanted to own my own business. I had done that before going back to business school. And I happened to run into somebody at a conference who said, well, why don't you buy a business? And I kind of chuckled. And I'm like, well, with what money? I mean, I need to work and I want to work. I mean, I like working. And he said there are ways to do it. So it just triggered that that little idea in my head. And I went online and started looking, you know, just you if you Google buy a business, there's all sorts of brokers out there. And I found this little translation company and it's the similar business model to what I ran before. And, you know, I have that international experience. I have a love of language. I'm passionate about communications, cultures and travel and anything to do with the global community. So 17 years ago, I just started exploring. It was the only company I really looked at. I was very lucky. It was the smooth transition. We kept all the clients and we've grown it phenomenally since then. So it's been a ton of fun..

Andrew:
Fantastic. Sounds like an incredible journey. So are you a multilingual speaker yourself? Do you speak several languages? Is is that really where you felt that strength and that's the direction that you could bring to that business came from?

Wendy:
My, I speak some Spanish, French and Italian. You know, my kids might think that I'm bilingual if we go to a Spanish speaking country for vacation.

Andrew:
Right.

Wendy:
But, you know, I've got a surface level. I can't do what translators and interpreters do. They're fully bilingual. They've got subject matter expertise. The translators, quote, dictionary's at me. So, you know, the people who do this work are highly, highly skilled and trained. My background is marketing, global corporate marketing. I really understand the buyer's journey. I understand how you know, how important quality translation is. So that's what I do. And then I match the people to the jobs and that, you know, I have a team that does that. So we know who specialises in what area so we can put the right resources on the job. Right.

Andrew:
And I guess it's that fusion of global marketing experience, international experience that is matched with the translation ability that ultimately drives you to get the results that you've been able to achieve for your clients.

Andrew:
Absolutely. Absolutely. If you take somebody and you try to give them a marketing translation, and they don't understand marketing, They could miss the boat and it's the same thing. I mean, translators are like writers and if you give your engineer to write marketing material, or you give your assistant to write your technical documentation, you run into all sorts of problems. And so why would you just find any bilingual person to do your translation? Because they have to be a good writer. Plus they have to be fully bilingual in two languages. So that's we take a lot of time and thinking through who we're going to put on an assignment and then have them consistently work with that client so they can get better and better like you'd have your writers do.

Andrew:
Google translate does a pretty good job, does it not? Is that something that a company thinking of going global could do?

Wendy:
No, we have all sorts of content on our website about Google Translate, appropriate uses and non appropriate uses. You're stuck in a taxi driver in a country where you don't speak the language and you're trying to get to someplace. Sure. Put it into Google Translate because you've got no other option. You get an unsolicited email and you don't know whether it's junk or a potential client that you want to follow up with. Yeah, put it into Google Translate. You're doing your website. You are causing so many problems for your your company. You don't even know it. The first is people when you read it. I mean, Google Translate doesn't give you clear copy. I mean, you wouldn't put junk copy up on your website. So why would you want a junk translation up there.

Speaker4:
So say you say, well, it gives the gist, you know, and that's good enough for now because it's in quotation marks free. Well, the other problem that I see is your web developer doesn't understand anything about the buyer's journey in another language and culture, so they bury the plugin down at the bottom. So if by chance somebody who's visiting your website can navigate and find the Google plug in, they do the dropdown for the languages and the languages are in your language. So if you've got an English website, you put the plug in and and you look at the list of languages, it makes sense to you. But if you, you know, read simplified Chinese, are you going to know what simplified Chinese written in English says? It's just like you wouldn't know the Chinese characters for English. So that's another issue. And then the next issue is the Google Translate is is just replacing what the word says. So I've heard that it even shows up as duplicate content on your website. And there you're a marketing specialist. You know, the problem with duplicate content. That dings your search, you know, Halo.

Andrew:
So Google gives with one hand and takes with the other that in that case.

Wendy:
Yeah, yeah. So I mean, don't even do it. There's so many better ways to handle it that are affordable for any company that's interested in doing this.

Andrew:
Right. And of course, perhaps from what you're saying, it gives a very literal translation. So anything like context is lost. And of course, if you are in some countries, you're not going to get any of the cultural benefits that perhaps a real translation could bring, and I guess culture from particularly a global marketing perspective is really key, because if you if you overlook those cultures, potentially you're seen as ignorant to them. And at worse that stands out really obviously. And people won't recognise you in in the vein that you thought you could be recognised as a global business.

Wendy:
So I'm I'm quite chuffed that you say that because you really understand the importance I had to use that word because you're over in the U.K. and you use the word quite chuffed, right?

Andrew:
We do, indeed. Yeah.

Wendy:
We have no flippin idea what that means over here in the U.S. So, you know, a word we might use here in the U.S. is is a redneck. Do you know what a redneck is?

Andrew:
Well, I do, because I've spent a bit of time over in the U.S., so. Yeah, yeah, I. I'm familiar with that phrase.

Wendy:
So how would you what's a redneck?

Andrew:
Ok, so for me, a redneck, it's a bit of a stereotypical term and it would typically be characterised by someone who probably likes drinking beer. They'll probably drive a pretty big truck. They maybe they work outside. You know, there's a there's a number of different connotations, good, bad, indifferent, maybe. And I was told I'm not 100 percent sure whether this is the case, but I was told the redneck is because they're out in the sun. So the sun burns the back of the neck, is that right?

Wendy:
Yes, so you understand the cultural implications. So it's not, it can be a put down. But then again, I grew up in redneck country. I grew up in central Pennsylvania. So, you know, there were times I could have been a little redneck. There were times I was a little preppy. So a little cowboy. But but redneck has a connotation. Well, if you put that into Google in Spanish, it says white peasant,

Andrew:
Ok.

Wendy:
It has no meaning. In German it means farmers. In Argentina, it means backwards. So in Google, you lose that. And if you don't, you know, you happen to know what it means and you live across the pond. People there wouldn't know it. So if you happen to be using that or that whole concept, it's going to get lost in Google or it's going to get lost in somebody who doesn't understand the culture. So just a little history. You know, when I was looking this up and playing around on Google with it, I did look up the history of redneck. And that's what I had always heard, is this, you know, it's like a farmer. Their neck gets red, you know, that t shirt sunburn. But it's actually not. It comes from the miners,

Andrew:
Ok.

Wendy:
That when they were trying to get labour unions going and they'd wear red bandanna to symbolise that they were in favour for the.. So it became kind of like, oh, you're a communist if you wore the red bandanna. And so you oh, you are a redneck because you were you were for that. So I didn't know. But now now I understand why it's not truly a farmer. It's not truly. But it's somebody that, you know, as a worker and and outside. But you have to know that meaning. So that's one example just between two English speaking countries, let alone languages and cultures that are very different.

Andrew:
Yeah, you got multiple English definitions. So that's before you've even got into the translation. And from some of those translations that you described, those are quite negative connotations potentially. And, you know, you could actually be quite offensive towards your audience that you might be trying to adhere.

Wendy:
Right. Right, exactly. And I mean, this is great because it's a marketing podcast and digital marketing and understanding all that. You spend all this time thinking of your persona and your buyer's journey and how you're going to connect and then you're going to be sloppy with translation. I mean, think about how much time you spend picking your writer. You should be spending that time picking your translator too.

Andrew:
So, yeah, a global company. It's not just as straightforward as saying, OK, let's put some different languages on the website. There's lots more practical implications of going global, as it were, way beyond the language. You've got some of the cultural considerations. And of course there's other content such as video, images, infographics, all those sorts of things come into to content as well. So what are some of the other things that if you if you are thinking of going global and of course, really we're all global already, if you put an Internet, if you put a site on the Internet, it's it's global, but that doesn't make you a global business. So what are some of the other considerations around content that need to be factored into a translation project for a website?

Wendy:
Well, I have to pitch my book right now. Right. By all means, go for it. Yeah. So I'll get into some high level suggestions. But if you're really interested in doing this, I recommend getting my book. It's the Language of Global Marketing - Translate your domestic Strategies into International Sales and Profits and you can find it on Amazon or all the places that you would buy books. And the reason I wrote that is because I kept talking to companies that were either getting requests on their website and they're going, how do I handle it? Or they were global and they wanted to get better at it, or they were doing only English marketing. And so it talks through all that videos and requests and keywords and chat. And, you know, how do you how do you do that? So I wrote the book. It just published this year. It was my little Covid project. And I'm getting good feedback on how it it really is helpful. So I do recommend that the other thing, you know, so now if I give you the high summary of that is this. First you think about the strategy. OK, so if you're a global company and you're only In English. What is your strategic plan for the year? I mean, obviously, revenue growth, because everybody has that at some point, but you have to think about which market you're going into. OK, so once you've got your corporate strategy, your marketing strategy usually supports that. In your marketing strategy, you have your multilingual strategy to support it. So say your corporate strategy is to expand into Germany, China, you know, pick the company. Your marketing strategy should have a budget in there for how are we going to localise or globalise to make sure we're hitting that market. And then your translation strategy rolls up to support that. You're going to have your investment going into the language or languages that you're going to do.

Wendy:
Now, if you get a request for Thai, you say you started getting requests for Thai. You know, at that point you don't need jerk reaction. And and then just, you know, go after that, you say, well, that's not part of our strategic plan this year, but we'll branch it out. And then you also have to look at your company, are you, you know, industrial products, are you e-commerce? And in think about how you're going to launch that out, then once you've got your strategy, you go into your process. So you've got to think the process through from, OK, we've got all this English content, so we want to get it translated. How do we keep it updated? Are we going to do we know we're not going to use the Google Translate plugin because that's just going to hurt us.

Andrew:
Get that ruled out straightaway

Wendy:
Are we going to do a massive investment on our large site and do the whole thing? Or should we do a microsite which is just the products that we're selling, or do we want to do a landing page to just kind of test what kind of activity we can drive there? And so once you iron out the whole process, then you think through the buyer's journey of, OK, what are the different touch points along the way? And I'll come back to an example with that of a of a client. But I want to take you through strategy. Then it's process. Then you think about technology. What's your site built and is there any API connectors that you can use so the translation can go back and forth? How are you going to develop a glossary and keep that? And this is all stuff that we do as an agency and many agencies do. And so when you work through and there's so many different considerations with all the technologies that are out there and then the final is the the quality. You know, if you get an unsolicited email, Google Translates fine, pop it and see what it says. If you get, If you know, if you're doing your Web site, landing page, micro site, full site, you want to use high quality translation and then are you going to hire bilingual speakers and how, you know, how are you going to get that quality through the buyer's journey? There's telephone interpreting that you pay a minimal amount per minute so you can build that into your buyer's journey to actually talk to potential clients when they call in. You know, within 20 seconds, you can have an interpreter on the line and there's no setup fees. There's no monthly charges on that. So the example I was going to get back to, is there something called an accidental exporter right now? Have you ever heard that term?

Andrew:
Well, I can imagine the sort of thing that it is from, you know, from the things like the term accidental manager or accidental leader, you know, if you've got a website, potentially you've got a global audience whether you intended to market to it or not. So I imagine it's is perhaps let's say it's a mom and pop e-commerce business and all of a sudden they get sales from overseas. Without really trying.

Wendy:
Absolutely yeah, you know you know it, you just described it really well. So we had a client, he actually did business to business, high end research services. And he said, look, I'm getting these emails coming in from China and they want my services and I can take them through the whole buyer's journey online. But I need to. So there are questions. Can you translate emails? I'm like, yeah, we can, but it's a minimum charge for each email. You know, I think there's a better way to do this. So I said, I don't know if you've ever read Marcus Sheraton's book. They ask.

Andrew:
I have. A big fan of that book. I think it's a great, great book.

Wendy:
Absolutely fantastic. So I went through kind of the it gives you the like five basic questions you should be answering on your website. So if anybody visits, you know, they get the information they want. So if you if you think about that, what are the questions along the buyer's journey? Put a landing page in so they know that they want it. They get their questions answered and then they can go ahead and buy he's like this is fantastic. I don't have to go email back and forth. I send them that link. They answer all the questions and they can buy. It's like, this is so great. I'm going to do it in a few other languages.

Andrew:
So you're solving the problem that he had of needing to translate content in real time by translating it front just by listening to the questions that people were asking and and moving that further forward in the journey. So presumably, by the time somebody gets in touch, there's a little bit more commitment and perhaps it's easier to translate by that point.

Wendy:
Absolutely. And if you think about it, we went through what's the strategy, What's the process, what technology can we use to give the quality that we want? So, you know, all that was in there. So it was a conversation to figure that out.

Andrew:
Can I ask a question. What should we be calling a global website? Is it is it a localisation? Is it multilingual? Is it multiregional? What's what's the best term to to call a website that has been translated into multiple languages or is designed to reach out to multiple audiences?

Wendy:
Oh, excellent question, and I did go through definitions in the book about this, too, because it's a common question. How I like to see it is translation and interpretation are the key to words. OK, so in interpretation, you have got consecutive interpreting. That's like if we had somebody that helped facilitate the call, you know, our conversation. So somebody listens, they repeat what I say to you. You talk, they repeat. So that's consecutive. Simultaneous is if you think of the U.N. with speakers and then the interpreters are doing it live, then you've got, you know, video like meetings and then you got video virtual events, you've got telephone, you've got vri, which is, you know, the computer set up in the room with the two people. So you've got all sorts of spoken interpretation that can meet your needs. But the client, you know, you need interpreting that, working with your agency, you should be able to say, this is what I need. This is my strategy. My goal is I'm trying to do and they'll help you figure out what to use. The other side of it is translation. And in there you've got globalisation, localisation, transcreation, transliteration, all these different words. And so, you know, they're kind of clumped together. So for the simplest definition for you is translation is written, interpretation is spoken. Localisation and globalisation have a big difference. So globalisation is say you're selling an industrial product and you're selling it in Spain, Argentina, Peru and Mexico. You could use one good Spanish to target those markets. They're going to be able to get in and understand because the industry terminology is more important than the emotional connection of a consumer buyer. If you have, if you're selling footballs or soccer balls, as we call them, you know, people are going to be very passionate about their local team. And so you want to localise those ads like, you know, in Boston, everything's Red Sox for baseball, right? You know, we don't want to see something for, you know, I don't know, pick another baseball team from Miami or New York or whatever. We don't want to see that. We want to see Red Sox stuff. So localising means putting those pictures in, but also using the right words, the right language, the right currency, because you don't want to buy something in American dollars. You want to see it. And no longer euros, but now pounds, right?

Andrew:
Yeah. Yeah.

Wendy:
So that would be really localising. And if you've got a consumer product, you've got to do it. But it's not as clear as business and consumer because if you think about it, we have a client that has raincoats for when you're bike riding.

Andrew:
Right.

Wendy:
So, you know, there's a similar thing when you're bike riding in the rain, you get that black line up your back and the raincoat protects that. And so how so? That's very similar. So you might be able to get away with more of a globalised website.

Andrew:
Ok.

Wendy:
So that's why when you're the client, you say, I'm interested in translating this and we help you work through the strategy process, technology and quality and figure out what the best does for you. Look at your budget and figure out whether landing page microsite, full site, you know, so there's there's a lot of moving parts in that, but it's very, very doable. That's the bottom line.

Andrew:
Really fascinating. And it really what you're what you're saying is that you are you're a global marketing agency that happens to be able to do the translations as well. Is the translation and the sort of interpretation of language sort of secondary almost to the the needs have been able to successfully penetrate to a global market.

Wendy:
Let me can we come back to that question? Because you said something that was very interesting and we are like a global marketing agency, but this is where we partner with creative agencies or marketing agencies, because what you do is go in and do the strategy and the messaging and the positioning and picking the right persona, picking the keywords you're going to. You're going to optimise that for, we don't do that work, we work very well with the creative agency because once you've done that, we can take it and adapt it for language and culture.

Andrew:
Right. This is great, because this was this was the direction that I was wanted to get to in terms of the process and how you as a as a translator partners with, say, someone like us in terms of the technicalities that goes into a website. Obviously, you've got the creative side, you've got the technical side. You've talked about technology several times, and then you've got things like the visibility through search engines and so on. So what exactly would the process be? Because you're from from my experience, there's almost always English language there or let's say because we've got a global audience here. Of course. So there's one core language. There's a primary language that the website is written it up. And then invariably the business strategy says, right, we have an an audience over in Germany. We've got an audience in China. We've got an audience in the US. So... If it's the US, obviously from English, then the currency might be the primary, change there will be localised things that would be relevant as well. But if you're going from English to German and you've already got your English content as a website manager or a website owner, you're probably very familiar with being able to go into that website, make changes on a regular basis, because you might not be a writer, but you can you can read and write English. But that sort of scenario becomes quite different if you're having to work with a German website. So so I guess from a client point of view, they looking after the website, they can't just dip into the German site and change bits and pieces. There has to be some sort of ongoing relationship with a translator, I imagine, to be able to facilitate that.

Wendy:
Yes, absolutely. So, you know, so it goes back to the process and the technology, what are people using now? If somebody is going in and they see that there's a missing space between two words, yeah change it. But if they add a whole new product, you know, so a whole new page and product description, what technology are they're using that we have some technology hookups that when the website changes, it sends us an alert. So, you know, one example is so then we'd know to do it or they'd have to remember to tell us to do it. So that's all customising the process by client. And that's you know, we don't streamline a lot of stuff because we're working very particular with clients. And how I mean, we have a process, we have an ideal process, but we also go back and look at each individual client. So, you know what, like we have we worked with one large packaging company and they sold different products in different countries around the world. So not all pages showed in different languages. So, you know, she was an excellent project manager and did an Excel spreadsheet to show us. So then she kept control of telling us when she needed translation of new information, whereas we have another client that every time they added a blog, they wanted that updated and they weren't doing a ton of updates to their to their website. So we had a notification every time a blog posted so we could go in, drag it down, translate it and then push it back up to the website. So it really, really depends on what the client wants.

Andrew:
So I think I think part of the challenge is that websites are never done. Of course, there's always something to do on them. And if you got a product page, if prices can change, but I suppose specifications can change, prices don't really matter so much because they're either pinned against a particular currency or there's an exchange rate sort of functionality in place. But if the specification and the description has to change, then then that that needs that sort of ongoing update, doesn't it, to be able to trigger it. Otherwise, it's the gap between the different languages potentially broadens and ultimately could impact on sales in an e-commerce example.

Wendy:
Yeah, and that's why we put together some packages, because we were starting to see that where websites aren't static. And so unless people are doing a major redo of their website, a lot of it is adding new content in, you know. So our pattern for posting is that we do a blog a week. We have a social media post a week and I mean a day and and we do a pillar page a quarter. And so we have a pattern. And a lot of companies that are doing marketing have that pattern. So we come up with some we came up with and there were on our website at Rapporttranslations.com, and then you just go in and look for pricing packages. But the that took into account for, you know, are you adding pages, are you adding blogs, are you doing social media? You're planning out an editorial calendar. You know what you're going to do, how much it's going to cost. And you don't want to have to get approval for all your translation. So pick one of these packages and then we'll just know what you, the creative agency, are creating we'll translate it. We can work directly with the agency. We've worked with printers before or we can work direct with the client.

Andrew:
Sure and and what about what about the design side? Because Germans a classic language that is. Yeah, it's got a lot more words in it than a lot of English words do. And that can impact on space the way space is used on a website, particularly around navigation. Would you expect to be involved at a design stage, the sort of factors some of those things in? Or would you look for words that might not ordinarily have chosen but fit better for the design? What's the sort of process that might happen there?

Wendy:
White space. White space.

Wendy:
So there is a formula on that. You know, we say we suggest to designers that that they allow extra space because when you translate from one language to any other language, you're going to get expansion. And so if you allow 20 to 30 percent expansion, then it'll fit in. But we also have a desktop layout person and we do uploads with websites and we don't do any of the original creative design, but we'll take the design files and drop the language. And she's masterful at playing with font sizes and moving things down and shrinking them around. But, you know, it's it's an important thing. It is if you are going to go into multiple languages and everybody should plan from it from the start. I see so many issues where it wasn't like technology being built and what however they built it won't handle languages and it really holds them back later on, so think early about going international and just allow extra space, you can play with that. And so the other thing with design is pictures. You want to have the right pictures. And so think about think about the market, neither making them something that could be global or just recognise that the translator or the you know, the multilingual desktop publisher may come back and say this picture isn't appropriate or this concept doesn't work. Can you change it? And I've got lots of examples of that, too.

Andrew:
And there, I suppose, opens the door to to stock images and all the problems that that can cause as well. So, you know, it's not only getting the right words, but getting the right pictures and the imagery that is probably going to mean if you're going to do it well, it means getting that sourced in country really and not just relying on some of these stereotypical stock images, which we know are ten a penny and OK, they're easy to obtain, but they're probably not really telling a very accurate picture, are they?

Wendy:
Again, it goes back to the company. It goes back to what you're selling, who your target audience is. I mean, it's there. You know, I hate to say it depends, but yeah, if you're selling footballs, then, yeah, you've got American football is going to look very different than other footballs from around the world. So in that case and then the who's on the team and what the players look like, you know, a diverse, you know, pictures of a diverse team and China aren't going to go over as well as having all Chinese people.

Andrew:
So, so clearly, it's not possible just to sort of start with an English template and it's not straightforward. It's just then putting sort of translated words in there really wants to be a bit of a plan. Otherwise you could end up, I think, undoing certain elements of perhaps the based templates to then make allowance for the languages at a later stage. So that can be a bit disruptive and I guess develops a little bit of technical debt, which is a phrase that we use in terms of making that process as smooth and as seamless as possible.

Wendy:
And, you know, we have an excellent case study. It's a longer case study on our website about Rotary International and their evolution to being like a multinational organisation to truly a global organisation. And so, yeah, if you think I'm going to create an English and then I'm going to translate later on, that can cause the problems. But if you train your brain to think from the start that this is going to go global, even if it's not, then you can you get those accounts in. But even if you don't, if your brain is not there yet, make sure you hire the right resource. So I see people using Google Translate, they go, oh, we'll use the bilingual person in our office or they'll send an email out to friends and family as anybody know, anybody bilingual in this, or they'll ask some random person and those people are not. My translators would not be interpreters and the interpreters would not be translators, the different skill sets. And so you think about hiring either a professional individual or getting an agency who's going to do all this background management stuff for you? Now, we happen to specialise in marketing translation, so I can go deep on that. One of the things I know a competitor specialises in is they take massive amounts of content and run it through machine translation to boil it down to the one document that a lawyer might need in a legal case. And then they do a translation on that. That's not our skill set, you know. So if you need somebody for that, you go to that that place. So screening who it's not just any agency can do and don't buy on cost per word. I've seen so many games like what's your cost per word? And we do a fully loaded cost per word. But I see some competitors break it out when on. Oh, there are a lot less per word. But then they got project management, quality assessments, set up fees and all these other things. By the time you fully loaded up and do the math, which is really confusing because I could barely figure it out when I saw one of these, their price per word was pretty comparable to ours. So, you know, really dig in to who's going to do your translation and can they give you the marketing feedback that you need on that.

Andrew:
And it sounds like that collaboration is is really key from as early as possible in in the process. As soon as you realise that you're going to go global or are you going to add multiple languages into the site, having that collaboration that can touch on sort of cultural nuances, perhaps around colour, that influences design, design that influences the available space for copy and things like that. So I think what you're saying is that collaboration with the agency is really key to ensure a successful outcome.

Wendy:
Yeah, yeah. And even if you don't like you know, one example is we work for Staple's when their last tagline was they were doing more international expansion than they are now, but it was make more happen and, you know, I love this. So they they created the whole campaign and everything without us. They work with the creative agency. But then they brought us in to translate it. And and it was it was fine because it was a good campaign for here. But you couldn't book end and they wanted did do make more happen. They wanted to take more out and put like make work happen, make play happen. And one of them was make refrigerator art happen. Well, this is an American thing. You take your kids art, are you hanging on the refrigerator? You give them some praise about it. Well, the French translator got it and she said, yeah, all these other campaigns work under that. But refrigerator art doesn't because it's not a thing in France. So that was one issue, the second issue was, is when you translate, you can't bookend it. So you have to catch the concept and what was behind it. So you could still catch the concept and and, you know, make it work in other languages. And so those were the things that came up later. But if you had tried to bring translation into the front, that creative process, you would have never solved anything. So they found something that worked in English. And then the creative firm can actually take that whole, you know, the market off the translation firm. We can take that whole thing and make it work in the different languages.

Andrew:
Yeah, OK. Sounds interesting. So let's just think about some of the the other mistakes that you've seen when when people have made translations on the website. There must be a handful that you've seen over the years. What are some of the most common mistakes or things that people overlook is part of the translation.

Wendy:
I think the first is the navigation, so you spend so much time thinking through the buyer's journey and where you want to bring them and I see translation put in on the location page. So, you know, you've got to speak the language to know, to go to locations, to look for your country name and that original language to get to any translation. So that's the the biggest thing. The standard is a little globe up on the top right hand side of the home page and then the dropdown with the translated languages, particularly if you're globalised because flags can get pretty confusing. I mean, I'm not I'm looking for the U.S. flag. You're going to be looking for your flag and somebody else to speak. You know, in Australia, they're looking for the Australian flag. So. So that's the first thing the second thing is some companies get pretty tricky and they go, oh, we're going to do it by URL. So if if I'm in the US, it'll recognise that I'm here, whereas if I'm Mexico, it'll recognize that I'm in Mexico and I'll feed me into Spanish, but they don't give me that navigation up on the top. So if I'm an English speaker in Mexico, I can't navigate again to get to the English site. So just pop that globe up there, even if you know the local language and you H ref codes and they can go by country or by language and you have to be pretty careful to match them because they're not intuitive. So I think that's the the second thing. The third thing is people will call us up and they'll say we want to translate our their website. And I used to just say, OK, we'll give them a quote. They get sticker shock like, oh, my God, that's so expensive. Now, I never do that anymore. I meet with them first because you don't need your press releases from 2015. You know, you don't need to put your old blogs that aren't getting any hits. So let's and the best thing is to keep building on it, not doing the retroactive.

Andrew:
right. So there's an element prioritising there isn't there. I mean, is there a particular formula that you tend to follow? Is it is it sort of looking back at, I don't know, anything older than three months and of course, that just relates to blog content. A company might assume they've got to translate the whole thing, but I guess that's not necessarily the case now.

Wendy:
No, it's absolutely not the case. I mean, if you think of markets as five questions out of you know, they ask you answer the book, you want to have those answered, you want something about us, you want a home page and you want to contact Page and then with your blog, you know, so if if your budget is very robust and you really want to go into that market full force because you've already tracked it, then then then you then your hand pick out some of the blogs, go back and look at your metrics, which ones are performing well and start with those. If you've got nonperforming blogs, don't do those. And I see some companies will release a blog. If it's doing well, then they'll translate it. Some people release the blogs at the same time. So there's all, so thinking about that strategy as well. Like, what are you trying to gain from your website, just like you did when you created the original? You do that for the translation

Andrew:
And inevitably there's going to be lots of different things that are unique to your own circumstances that influence those decisions. It's not black and white in that sense, is it? You're going to take a view of how well established you might be in one particular country, looking at your Google analytics or whatever analytics platform you've got, you're going to check out, see which is your most popular content. And clearly, things like product pages, you know, those are going to be core pages where you have your calls to action that actually trigger a visitor into doing something. I guess those are those are generally going to be your prioritised pages.

Wendy:
Right. And then. Yeah. So prioritise those and prioritise them by products that are likely to sell in those markets.

Andrew:
Right.

Wendy:
The other thing we haven't talked about with keywords, so you do a lot of research on keywords and looking at the metrics with that, when we translate, we don't want them just buried in the content. We like them called out and then the translator can take some time to think through what are some different words that this could be translated in. So they'll see it in context, give you some options, and then they give that back to the creative agency or the company to think about which ones they want to try. And then they have some options to optimise and test for later.

Andrew:
Yeah, that's that's a really good point, because I think one of the questions I was going to ask is you is SEO included in some of these things because and you answered it earlier on actually by saying, well, you know, we don't do that research, we don't do the keyword research. But at least if those keywords have been identified, as you say, you can cherry pick and perhaps choose relevant words. And in some cases where there might be multiple words that are used to to describe the same thing. Your experience as translators gives you that freedom then to be able to optimise the content around a selection of keywords that are likely to be the most used.

Wendy:
Yes, yes, exactly, and that's how we work really well with the marketing people and the creative agencies because that's how we work together and balance off our skills.

Andrew:
Well, that's been a really interesting conversation Wendy I've really enjoyed that. And lots of things that I've I've learned as well. We've done multilingual translations before. We've not done the translations. I should say. We've we've certainly converted websites into different languages. And we've we've usually been provided with the content. But I think just understanding how you work as an agency in terms of providing that translation will be really valuable. And for anyone who's listening to this, thinking that they are going to expand their website to cover multiple languages, sure, it's giving them an enormous amount of food for thought. So thank you.

Wendy:
Yeah, yes. Yes. And I'm always here if anybody is interested in having a free consultation to dive deep into what you want to do with your website or your social media, I'm happy to do so. The book is out too, because I know some people like to read and understand all that. And then if you figure if you're on social media at all, we post you know, I have tons of mistakes. I've got lists of them and we put them out and they're not mistakes. But there are also funny things or words we don't have in English. So how would you handle the translation? Cultural stuff? So it's all learning. It's fun. So it's on every social media platform that you can find. You just search for Wendy Pease or Reporter International and you can find it.

Andrew:
Fantastic. And I think one of the classics that I remember was General Motors over here in Europe. They had a we're going back and probably going to show my age here. But a number of years ago, they had a car in the UK called a Nova and of course, in Spain that meant no go. And I always I always enjoy those sort of quirky little things that that companies have overlooked or misunderstood. It shows that there is a personality there, or at least there's somebody human behind that. But it can be simple as that, can't it, really that that caused these trip hazards for companies that are going into different territories.

Wendy:
Yes, absolutely. And Nova is the classic one, I actually researched that, and that's an urban myth,

Andrew:
Oh is it?

Wendy:
Because no bar? Yes, it's a myth because NOVA is actually two words.

Andrew:
Right.

Wendy:
And so it was actually who was it? I think it was the it was another I can't I'll have to remember, but they they launched the Matador car. Let me say it was the Pinto now no, it was the matador. I can't remember who made it, but that meant killer in Puerto Rico.

Andrew:
OK.

Wendy:
So that was one. And then the Pinto is a slang word in Brazil for male genitalia. So that was another issue. So it's so nova before they got all the, you know, the bad PR from it, but the other cars actually did worse.

Andrew:
Yeah. And all for a core product, that's that, that's going to be a pretty big mistake with that, with potentially quite a cost attached to it.

Wendy:
Yes. Yeah. Another one that I like is Electrolux.

Andrew:
Ok.

Wendy:
Their tagline over in the U.K. was It sucks.

Andrew:
Right? Yeah. I can see how that's not going to work in the US.

It sucks meant it's bad. So it didn't do too well here.

Andrew:
A bit more work needed just to refine that tagline I think.

Wendy:
So even if you're doing English to English and you're going to a different market, make sure you have somebody proof it and you know who's a native speaker and understands the innuendos behind everything.

Andrew:
Absolutely. Absolutely. Great. Well, Wendy, we're out of time, I'm afraid. And I've really enjoyed that conversation. And some nice little funnies there at the end as well. So just remind us the name of your book. again, it's out on Amazon and Kindle, I think you said. But yeah, just remind listeners of the title of your book and we'll link that up in the show notes as well on the on the website.

Wendy:
Ok, it's called The Language of Global Marketing. And it's Translate your Domestic Strategies into International Sales and Profits by Wendy Mackenzie Pease.

Andrew:
Fantastic.

Wendy:
And if you do read it, leave me a review. Be honest, I'd love to hear what you say. So really love the feedback, whatever it is.

Andrew:
Ok, and we will link up your social profiles in the show notes on our website as well. So thank you, Wendy. Really appreciate you taking the time to join us for what is your morning or your lunchtime even now. Really appreciate it. Great conversation. Thank you very much.

Wendy:
Thank you so much. It was absolutely wonderful being here and the great questions that you asked.

Andrew:
Well, I loved that conversation with Wendy because like so many other things, when it comes to websites that can be so much more than meets the eye. What started out as a conversation about translating words soon evolved into talking about planning, strategy, technology and process. As Wendy said, the practicalities of being a truly global business need to be carefully planned. So you're connecting with audiences in the right way and have the logistics behind the scenes to meet their needs and respond, as people would expect. Wendy's book The Language of Global Marketing Translate Your Domestic Strategies into International Sales and Profits is available in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon. She also mentioned the book by Marcus Sheridan called They Ask You Answer. And we'll link up both of these on the show notes page on our website at adigital.agency/podcast, where you'll also find the transcript for today's episode and all the previous episodes recorded so far. So a great episode today. And I hope you've enjoyed listening to this interview as much as I enjoyed the conversation. I'll be back in a couple of weeks joined by another special guest. But in the meantime, love to hear from you. Drop me an email to hello@theclientside.show and if you can do leave us a rating and review in your podcast app. Really appreciate hearing your feedback. And we'd love for others to find the show and benefit from the experience of our guests. So that's a wrap for now. Take care. See you next time bye for now.

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You spend so much time thinking through the buyer's journey and where you want to bring them and I see translation put in on the location page. So, you know, you've got to speak the language to know to go to locations, to look for your country name and that original language to get to any translation.

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