multilingual content marketing strategies

4 Multilingual Content Marketing Strategies Worth Stealing

Experts agree: Multilingual content marketing is the future, and the future is now.

But content marketing can be hard to get right, even in one language.  Not just any content will do. You need content that attracts attention, provides useful information, builds relationships, and helps potential customers learn to trust you.

How do you do that in multiple languages? Here are 4 multilingual content marketing strategies worth stealing from brands that have been successful:

Unbounce’s Winning Multilingual Content Marketing Strategy: Hire a Local Marketing Ambassador

Unbounce is a landing page and conversion marketing platform that helps marketers build, test and optimize landing pages. The company relies heavily on content marketing to grow their English-language business. They have a popular blog, a robust social media presence and a treasure trove of resources for marketers.

In 2015, they began expanding into the German market. Naturally, there’s an excellent post on the Unbounce blog about the process they used. One key recommendation: Hire a local marketing ambassador. 

Unbounce’s Ben Harmanus uses his knowledge of the local area to select content to translate from English, position it appropriately, and build Unbounce’s German language community on social media.

As Unbounce’s  Stefanie Grieser put it, “The day a brand gets a local ambassador is the day they truly become a local player.” Read more

Difficulties of translating books

The Challenges of Translating Literature

Literary translation is the translation of creative and dramatic prose and poetry into other languages. This includes the translation of literature from ancient languages and the translation of modern fiction so that it can reach a wider audience.

Why is literary translation important?

Literary translation is of huge importance. It helps to shape our understanding of the world around us in many ways. Reading Homer and Sophocles as part of a classical education in school helps to build an understanding of history, politics, philosophy and so much more. Meanwhile, reading contemporary translations provides fascinating insights into life in other cultures and other countries. In a fast-paced world so rife with misunderstanding and confusion, such efforts to share knowledge and experiences across cultural boundaries should be applauded.

The history of literary translation

An entire history of literary translation is far too big for the scope of a single article. Indeed, The Oxford History of Literary Translation in English runs to five whole volumes, such is the depth and complexity of the subject. Suffice to say that literary translation has been taking place for thousands of years.

History has seen countless translators come and go. Many of their names we will never know, but some – King Alfred the Great and Geoffrey Chaucer, for example, who both translated Boethius from the original Latin – had the power and influence to ensure that their translation efforts were not lost to the sands of time. Read more

A Brief History of the Umlaut

Have you ever wondered why some letters in languages like German have those funny dots above them? Do they have a purpose? And if so, what is it?

Fear not, we’re here to help! Those little dots are called umlauts. Here’s a brief history to explain what they are, why they exist and what they mean.

What is an umlaut?

In linguistics, an umlaut is “a sound change in which a vowel is pronounced more like a following vowel or semivowel.” Languages change over time. And since people are inherently lazy, these changes are often motivated by a desire to reduce the amount of effort needed to create a given sound.  Hence, the umlaut.

In German, the umlaut punctuation mark is used to indicate this sound shift. In medieval times, scribes indicated umlauted vowels by placing a small letter “e” directly above them. Over time, the “e” evolved into 2 bars, and then finally into two dots.

German orthography includes ä, ö, ü as “special characters.” They aren’t considered part of the alphabet in their own right. But they’re still important.

So, what do they sound like? If the words “vowel fronting” don’t mean anything to you, this handy YouTube video should clear up the confusion:

Umlauts Are Kind of a Big Deal

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The history of Machine Translation

Machine Translation – A Potted History

The concept of machine translation has existed for centuries, but it was not until the early 1950s that it began to become a reality. Since then, machine translation has advanced hugely, though it still cannot yet compete with the skill and finesse that a human mind can apply to translating a document.

The birth of machine translation

In 1949, Warren Weaver of the Rockefeller Foundation put together a set of proposals on how to turn the idea of machine translation into reality. He blended information theory, code breaking lessons learned during the Second World War and the principles of natural language to pave the way for machines to translate one language to another.

One of the earliest machine translation successes was the Georgetown-IBM experiment. In 1954, IBM demonstrated at its New York office a machine that could translate Russian sentences into English. Though the machine could only translate 250 words (into 49 sentences), the world was delighted by the idea. Interest in machine translation around the world saw money being poured into this new field of computer science. The Georgetown experiment researchers, bursting with the confidence of their initial success, predicted that machine translation would be mastered within three to five years. Read more

apps for endangered languages

6 Apps For Endangered Languages

By the end of this century, linguists expect more than half of the languages in the world to die. It’s a bleak statistic, especially given how deeply language and cultural identity are bound together. But linguists, language activists and the people who speak endangered languages are fighting back.

Want to save an endangered language? There might be an app for that! There are apps to teach endangered languages to people who don’t speak them.  Alternately, some apps make it easy to record native speakers of any endangered language, translate what they’re saying, and share it with linguists and language preservationists.

If you’re interested in learning or preserving an endangered language, here are 6 apps for endangered languages that might interest you:

Ma! Iwaidja

Language: Iwaidja, an indigenous Australian language. There are only about 150 Iwaidja speakers left, although children are still learning it. This app serves two purposes:

  • It teaches the language, with a dictionary, a phrasebook and a “Wordmaker” that lets users experiment with phrases and sentences to see how different elements of Iwaidga grammar and syntax work together.
  • It allows anyone working with Iwaidja speakers to input new words, phrases, and translations.

Read more

Slang Around the World- Colorful Words and Phrases to Tickle Your Funny Bone

Your English teacher may not have approved of it. And the older generations may start muttering about kids and lawns when they hear it. But slang helps keep languages interesting and alive. And many of the words and expressions we use today started out as slang. Often playful and colorful, slang is like a laboratory for language.

Slang is everywhere, and most of it defies direct translation. Want to learn more about slang around the world? We’ve collected some of the funniest and most interesting slang words and phrases in different languages.

Funny Australian Slang: Who gave that lizard a beer?

Australia is known for its colorful way with the English language. Here’s one of the most puzzling Aussie phrases:

Flat out like a lizard drinking.

Surprisingly, this has nothing to do with drunk reptiles. Instead, it means you’re extremely busy.

Long Teeth and Spanish Cows: Funny French Slang

Avoir les dents longues. 

Translation: Long in the tooth.
Meaning: In English, of course, this expression means “old” or “elderly.” In French, though, it simply means “ambitious.”

Spanish cow is funny French slang.

Who are you calling a Spanish cow?

Parler comme une vache espagnole.

Translation: To talk like a Spanish cow.
Meaning:  To speak poorly.

Arrête de te la péter.

Translation: Stop snapping your suspender against your chest. But “péter” also means “to fart.”
Meaning:  Stop bragging. Read more

Food Packaging Translation - A Serious Business

Food Packaging Translation – A Serious Business Indeed

We place a vast amount of trust in the veracity of the information provided on food packaging. For those with food allergies, their lives can depend on the information that the packaging provides. For those who are dieting (whether for personal or medical reasons), ingredients and calorific values both have to be spot on. Then there are the cooking instructions – a mistake in the details of how to cook products such as pork or fish could have fatal consequences. That’s why there are so many rules and regulations around food labelling. It’s also why translating food packaging is such a serious business.

Food labelling – the legal context

Food labelling requirements differ from country to country. In the UK, the law requires that food and drink products must have labels that are permanent, easy to read and understand, easily visible and not misleading. The label has to include the name of the food, a ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date, quantity information and any necessary warnings.

These warnings include allergen information and a range of specific warnings relating to certain ingredients or preparation methods. For example, foods and drinks with more than 150 mg/l of caffeine must state that they are, “Not suitable for children, pregnant women and persons sensitive to caffeine.” Meanwhile, raw milk must state that “This milk has not been heat-treated and may, therefore, contain organisms harmful to health.”

Where a food product has two or more ingredients, these must be listed on the label, with the main ingredient first and the others following in weight order. Common allergens must be highlighted as part of the list. Read more

US “Alt-Right” Gets Lost in Translation

The “alt-right” was a notable force in last year’s election for US president. The loosely organized collective of right-wing trolls spread memes and “fake news,” helping to influence public opinion against Hillary Clinton and in favor of Donald Trump. They certainly weren’t the only factor, but they had an impact.

But when they tried to duplicate their success in the French election, they failed. And while their failure inspired sighs of relief from people around the world, it’s also an informative case study on the importance of localization. Here are 3 lessons we can learn from it.

Assess The Market

Before selling your product in a new territory,  you need to research the market. How will your product fit in? What are your target customers like? How do they get their information? That rule holds even if your “product” is a loathsome ideology.

According to the New York Times,  “alt-right” trolls from a particularly vile corner of 4chan issued a “call to arms” after the announcement of a runoff election between Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron. The results:

Within days, the online thread — and similar discussions across the internet — was flooded with hundreds of users in the United States offering to help the digital campaign.

But the American tactics have not translated overseas.

It’s not just that their candidate lost. The New York Times commissioned a social media analysis to see how well the “digital campaign” penetrated the French market. Apparently, not very well:

The analysis . . .  showed that more than one-third of posts linked to certain political hashtags originated from the United States, although few went viral in France.

So, despite the global nature of the Internet, US-based social media chatter about the French election tended to stay in the United States.

Different Countries, Different Cultures, Different Marketing

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Translating Culture

Cultural Considerations for Translation

International translation services are, without a doubt, invaluable when it comes to helping companies market their products and services overseas. However, translating business materials that are intended for presentation to foreign audiences involves a much more complex process than simply converting words from one language to another. A significant amount of time should be dedicated to elements of localization if the translation is to be truly successful. By doing so, companies can protect themselves against their message inadvertently causing either hilarity or offence overseas.

What is localization?

Localization complements professional translation. It can be summed up as a form of modification that draws knowledge of local culture and customs and applies that to translated copy, so as to ensure it is appropriate for a new audience.

For example, if a company has an advertising campaign focused on the products users relaxing, ‘Put your feet up’ might be an appropriate slogan for Western audiences. However, in the UAE and many parts of Asia, displaying the soles of the feet is considered impolite, at best. Thus it would be appropriate for the translator to localize the copy in order to take account of this, by finding an alternative phrase that conveys the same meaning. Read more

Translating Your Food Supplement Packaging

Translating Your Food Supplement Packaging: 3 Important Aspects to Consider

If you are a manufacturer of dietary supplements, functional drinks, or any other food with added health benefits, the whole world is now your potential marketplace.

Over the last few years, health-conscious consumers have fallen out of love with the idea of “dieting” and started to embrace an all over “healthy lifestyle”. The trend is set, and it’s already more than a fad: people want “real”, unprocessed food, possibly organic and sustainably farmed and they’re not afraid to take supplements to achieve optimum nutritional balance.

As a result, functional and fortified foods, dietary supplements and nutraceuticals are growing in popularity, and technology makes it easier than ever to export abroad.

Preparing your food supplement product packaging for a foreign market goes beyond translation. It’s also about making it fully compliant with local food regulations.

The first important distinction is whether the country you’re exporting to has a pre-market evaluation or not. In the US, for example, no approval is required to market food supplements. Manufacturers and distributors are responsible for their efficacy and safety. Canada, on the other hand, has a quite stringent pre-market approval process.

Whatever the case, translating your food supplement package correctly is something you’ll want to get right first time. Product recalls can happen anytime and for a variety of reasons: lack of ingredient compliance, misleading claims or incorrectly displayed labels.

Although regulations are always complicated for the uninitiated, here are three important aspects to consider when translating your packaging for a new market: Read more

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