So if you are new to the world of twitter it can seem a little like you’ve just landed in another country. It’s got its own language, culture, people and strange sights. To help you enjoy this new world and make best use of its marketing and social opportunities I’ve prepared a very brief guide to the language of twitter. I hope it helps you to take advantage of this wonderful new world. Read more
Thanks to social media, businesses, brands, and celebrities can now easily communicate with followers all over the world. But sometimes, their posts get lost in translation. Need some examples? Here are four cringe-worthy social media translation fails.
These unfortunate incidents demonstrate why knowledgeable translation help is essential for communicating with a global audience.
Maki-san and the Cursed Sushi
In 2017, Singapore-based sushi chain Maki-san released a special sushi roll called the “Maki Kita” to commemorate Singapore’s National Day. The first two words of Singapore’s national anthem are “Mari kita.” So, the product name is obviously meant to be a play on words. Unfortunately, changing that “r” to a “k” had a major impact on the meaning in Malay. “Maki kita” means “curse us.”
Can you blame the restaurant’s fans for doing just that? The Instagram post was removed, but Mothership got screenshots. It looks like it was a rough day for whoever was managing the brand’s social media accounts.
But they really should have checked the translation. Malay is one of Singapore’s four official languages. 13% of the Singaporean population speaks it home.
Probably the best comment came from Instagram user Zaimondok, who wrote:
@rollwithmakisan this is why you need a diverse team. And in the office working on strategy not just the service staff so you can get halal certificates.
Ouch, but . . . He’s right, you know. At least about the need for a diverse marketing strategy team or some translation help. Read more
Facebook already connects hundreds of millions of users around the globe, and the site itself has been translated into more than 70 different languages. Now, it looks like the popular website may take its efforts to break down language barriers between users to another level by offering automatic translations for comments.
At the moment, the feature is only available to some users. When it’s active, it allows users to see translated versions of comments written in an unfamiliar language, as well to switch back and forth between the translation and the original comment. The translation program doesn’t work all the time, but when it does work it is apparently even able to translate some slang terms. So far, it’s been spotted translating Hebrew, French, Spanish, and Chinese. Read more
When it comes to microblogging, Twitter is king. However, according to this article on PC World, its sovereignty is being threatened in several Asian countries by upstart microblogging service Plurk, which offers the support for local languages and alphabets that Twitter largely lacks. Right now, Plurk is offered in 33 languages, including English, Chinese, Russian, and Hindi. It also offers support for European languages like Catalan and Irish. Compare that to Twitter, which only offers 5 languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese.
According to PC World, Twitter founder Biz Stone has stated that company finds it difficult to offer localized services for Asian languages, which is why Japanese is the only Asian language Twitter supports.
However, Plurk appears to have overcome these obstacles with no problems. The company handles translations by enlisting teams of its users to translate. In PC World, Plurk’s founder Alvin Woon noted that this system made the translation process surprisingly fast, saying :
“When Plurk first launched, we had a translation system where the whole system was translated into 25 different languages in two weeks, and it’s all done by our users…I’ve been surprised at how many people want to translate Plurk into their own language.”
Overall, Twitter still gets much more traffic than Plurk. However, looking at the respective popularity of each service in different countries illustrates what a profound effect local language support can have. For example, according to PC World, Plurk beats out Twitter for the title of top-ranking microblogging site in Taiwan, and it is also extremely popular in Indonesia and Malaysia.
The lesson here is simply that customers want to use products and services that speak their language. Translation services are important for international companies because they help increase customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
For businesses, social media is an opportunity to connect with existing and potential customers around the world. But do you know enough to use it effectively? If you think a “one country fits all” social strategy is enough, think again. Here are 11 statistics about social media around the world to fuel your international marketing campaigns:
Asia now has more internet users than Western Europe and North America put together.
- East Asia now has 867 million internet users, up 12% from last year. South Asia has 480 million. In comparison, Western Europe has only 345 million. North America has 315 million. Tweet this
- 48% of people in East Asia and 37% of people in South East Asia have social media accounts. Tweet this
International Marketing Takeaways:Planning to market your business in Asia? The internet is your friend. Localised social media should be part of your marketing strategy. That means targeting content to local languages and preferences. It may also mean developing a presence on local social networks. These networks can rival or exceed Western giants like Facebook in some markets. Read more
We already know the importance of social media in marketing, brand awareness and communication. Social media now has a major role in democracy and in the fight against repression.
In the recent Arab Spring revolution people used social media to communicate about the facts, to organise struggle against tyranny and to raise awareness worldwide. The world media was then able to take testimonials from places where they were not allowed to report from and inform the international community. Without this, the ONU and OTAN interventions to liberate Arab people from repression may not have taken place. If governments decide to act, it is probably due to people’s opinion.
According to HansardSociety :
“Key tools for the modern revolution are digital because they achieve significant things; first, they bring together otherwise remote and disparate groups. Second, they create channels to bypass traditional state control of the media so the outside world can see what is going on. Alongside traditional activism and action, the tools of the trade today are the internet (for information dissemination and news), social media (to connect and coordinate), mobile phones (to capture what happens) and digital, particularly satellite, television to report it.” Read more
Coca-Cola may have gotten its start in America, but it’s clearly an international brand. As such, it markets to people in many different languages. On Facebook, Coca-Cola uses the social media site’s “geotagging” feature to localize the content it presents to viewers around the world. So, viewers logging in from America are presented content in English, while viewers logging in from Mexico see content in Spanish.
Unfortunately, back in August, something went amiss with the geotagging filters, and posts intended for the page’s Brazilian and Romanian-speaking fans were shown to American fans as well, according to Ad Age.
The result, especially for the post written in Portuguese (which many American readers confused with Spanish), was basically an eruption of online idiocy. Many American readers were apparently unhappy about being made to read a language other than English, and they used varying degrees of incivility to express their displeasure. Read more
2009 was the year the English language officially went social, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
First, in November, the Oxford English Dictionary declared “unfriend” to be the “Word of the Year.” Now, Oxford English Press has released a new list of “Words of the Year,” several of which also come from the world of social networking.
According to the Telegraph, the list was compiled by dictionary expert Susie Dent for the Oxford English Press, and it definitely illustrates how much the rise of social networking sites is changing our language. Here’s a quick breakdown of the words that were drawn from social media and the Internet:
- Tweetup: A gathering, organized via Twitter, where Twitter users meet in real life.
- Hashtags: A way to track topics and conversations on Twitter by placing the hash sign (#) before the topic of the post. Hashtags are often used to organize tweetups.
- Tag cloud- A way to show readers what topics are the most important or most frequently discussed on a blog by arranging the tags in a loose cloud formation, with most frequently used tags larger than the others.
- Slashdot effect: What happens when a larger, more popular website links to a smaller site, sending a flood of new traffic that causes the smaller site to slow down or crash.
It’s not just the Oxford English Dictionary, either. The Global Language Monitor’s Word of the Year from 2009 was “Twitter.”
In an article on the PC Monitor, Paul Payack, the President of the Global Language Monitor, explained the decision by saying, “In a year dominated by world-shaking political events, a pandemic, the after effects of a financial tsunami and the death of a revered pop icon, the word Twitter stands above all the other words.”
Many sports teams and organisations are now actively employing social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, to engage their fans. The typically informal nature of social media allows fans to feel closer to their heroes by giving the impression of, or even directly enabiling them to have a personal conversation with them. Sports organisations can leverage social media sites to handle queries, offer giveaways, spread information, research fans’ likes and dislikes, and grow their fanbase.
A great benefit of the internet is that content can be viewed instantly, all over the world, so sports fans in other countries can get in on the action at the same time as domestic followers. Although a large number of international fans will be able to read and speak English, teams who provide a separate, targeted feed for a region or country, in their own language, are much more likely to engage successfully with fans on a local level and in far greater numbers. Read more
Twitter, the microblogging social network that limits users to “tweets” of 140 characters or less, is growing across the globe. However, communicating with the world in 140-character bursts has really taken off in Japan, especially after the earthquake and its accompanying tsunami earlier this year.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Twitter’s Japanese membership increased by one third in just the first week after the earthquake. Of course, with other forms of communication cut off during the disaster, it’s not surprising that more people would jump on the Twitter bandwagon in an attempt to stay in touch with the outside world. Read more
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