Search Engine Watch
SEO News

Go Back   Search Engine Watch Forums > Search Engine Marketing Strategies > Search Engine Marketing
FAQ Members List Calendar Forum Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-20-2005   #1
rustybrick
 
rustybrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: New York, USA
Posts: 2,810
rustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud of
Ethics in Publishing Foreign Content

I had a client, very very very honest and a bit on the angelic side, who asked me my thoughts on the following dilemma.

The company sells "solutions" in forms of products. But they will not sell a "product" to anyone, without fully understanding the purpose of the product. Why? Because they only build a product for a purpose and they take pride in their work. That being said...

They have engineers that speak English, German and Hebrew. The main market they sell to are: USA, and then some in Germany and some in Israel. They can sell anywhere but they can not speak directly with a client who does not know how to chat in English, German or Hebrew.

The dilemma is that if they create pages that are in languages other then English, German and Hebrew -- are they misleading the prospects?

I felt that as long as they create these pages in more of a::: Client A had problem X, we came up with solution G....and then tell the story. In addition include a disclaimer that if they are looking for a custom solution, they can speak with an engineer in the following languages (English, German or Hebrew).

Kind of nice to see people so considered with wasting the readers time and thinking ahead about the costs involved in this type of content development.

Your thoughts?
rustybrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2005   #2
Mikkel deMib Svendsen
 
Mikkel deMib Svendsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Posts: 1,576
Mikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud of
If they feel they need to actually speak to prospects before they sell them any products/solutions then I am not sure it's a good to solution to sell too much in other languages. They could do a bit of pre-sale but they need to let prospects know very early in the buying decision process about the fact that they can't deal unless they can speak/writ one of the three languages. That, I beleieve, would be honest marketing.
Mikkel deMib Svendsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2005   #3
Luis Morais
Digital inactivist
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Cylon-occupied Caprica
Posts: 29
Luis Morais has a spectacular aura aboutLuis Morais has a spectacular aura aboutLuis Morais has a spectacular aura about
Quote:
Originally Posted by rustybrick
The dilemma is that if they create pages that are in languages other then English, German and Hebrew -- are they misleading the prospects?
...

Kind of nice to see people so considered with wasting the readers time and thinking ahead about the costs involved in this type of content development.

Your thoughts?
Hey rusty,

Even nicer you sharing that with us, mate.

I think I can help you with that one. I am a Brazilian Web Developer who's spoken English since 1993, I have lived in Spain and presently I live in the UK. I am the only one in my family who speaks a couple of other foreign languages and except for the ones that are originally from Spain, also the only family member to live abroad. I believe I can tell what linguistic perception is like before and after English in a practical way and I will try to illustrate what could be the best approaches for your client's dilemma.

First of all he has a point and I believe that is due to the fact that they are immersed in a multilinguistic environment and already know what is like not to be able to reach a satisfactory level of communication due to language barriers.

From the perspective of a non-English (German or Hebrew) speaking audience, a website in Portuguese or Spanish for example would create an expectation that not only the products and solutions but customers services and support were also offered in those languages as well.

The 'honest way' your client is keen to implement is not the answer either. It can actually create more customer disatisfaction and confusion and tarnish the brand unnecessarily, making it susceptible to patent and copyright infrigement since it may be reverse-engineered and copied in order to satisfy local market demands.

It has been a common bad practice of companies with global aspirations to only translate their marketing material into several languages but not to extend the localisation work to the interface (the product itself) and support materials (help, faqs, courses, etc...) It is of little use to talk about 'la increible solucion de company x', if the so called solution is itself in a foreign language than Spanish for example. All the supporting material should be in that language as well otherwise there might be some legal liabilities to be responsible for, mostly when it comes to Trading Standards.

Nevertheless, your client might want to look for strategic partners in certain countries and approach them directly. Generally, these local companies have staff that speak English and that can serve as channel partners distributing your client's solutions. That has been the approach used by several telecommunications companies to distribute their routers around the world. It is also ideal for expanding companies that have established their names in their home markets. The local middleman will probably serve as the facilitator and distributor of the products and services then.

There is also the total localisation approach which can be combined with the approach I commented above. In this case the company would start a process of support migration to digital format first in their own home countries up to a point that the demand for support and help has been successfully deviated from manned telephone lines to web based knowledge bases and help. Once your client is sure that everything one needs to know about the product has been documented and a powerful search engine is in place to dig out the information, the localisation and translation process rolls to other languages. I believe that is the most popular approach nowadays and the 'cheapest' since initially it will require few overheads to translate the new material produced everyday. Symantec uses that approach and they are very successful. Regional market growth will consequently generate discussion groups and power users that will provide support to new users voluntarily in the same style open source projects all over the world do.

Last edited by Luis Morais : 07-20-2005 at 10:22 PM.
Luis Morais is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2005   #4
Gurtie
I am woman, hear me whine
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 193
Gurtie is a jewel in the roughGurtie is a jewel in the roughGurtie is a jewel in the roughGurtie is a jewel in the rough
there might be an argument that someone who speaks english, german or hebrew well enough to discuss the product in those languages would still do a search for a solution to a problem in, say, Spanish.

I think it depends very much on the product, but I can see if it were a technical product for example that a manager may be doing research in their native language, but having found something which looks good might then ask one of the techies to look further. In my experience almost all techies can speak relatively good English and/or German since so many technical subjects use primarily those languages (think about SEO - I suspect quite a lot of you guys aren't native english speakers?)

I can't answer the emotive side of things and/or whether it may offend people but from a purely logical standpoint I think you could justify it.
Gurtie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2005   #5
Mikkel deMib Svendsen
 
Mikkel deMib Svendsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Posts: 1,576
Mikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud of
If you need to speak directly to prospects to close a sale and you only support 3 languages - but try to sell or market in more you WILL loose some, and some will maybe get upset about it. Thats not really the question. The question is how many.

I agree that if the product is tech related a higher degree of prospects will be able to close the sale with you in English or German - but not all. Never all. Also, some might still be upset about it, allthough probably fewer than if it was a non-tech product. But still some.

For a tech product I would probably go ahead a give it a try. I would start with the non-english countries that have the highest percentage of english or german speaking people. Scandinavia and Holland are two good examples og such regions.

For a non-tech product I might try it out but I would not expect a very good outcome.
Mikkel deMib Svendsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2005   #6
rustybrick
 
rustybrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: New York, USA
Posts: 2,810
rustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud of
A company like IBM that sells laptops, or Symantec that sells firewalls and software have no problem with this. They sell a product that is not customized, so documentation can be translated and used by anyone without tech support.

But this client sells a product based on a solution, so the company must speak with the prospect before building a solution (i.e. custom product) for the client.

This might be a huge distinction.
rustybrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2005   #7
rogerd
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 109
rogerd is a jewel in the roughrogerd is a jewel in the roughrogerd is a jewel in the roughrogerd is a jewel in the rough
It seems like the target market of web content in a language other than the three languages spoken in the company is the portion of searchers who search in another language but could deal with the company in one of its preferred languages if necessary.

I don't see anything unethical about creating content in other languages as long as the languages in which the product is available/supported are clear - not doing this will waste everyone's time. This approach, even if honest, also has some risks associated with it as Luis clearly outlines.

If the marketing content in other languages goes up on the web, I'd consider it market research - if the company finds it's getting quality inquiries in Spanish, Chinese, or whatever, it may be time to hire someone who speaks the language or outsource the interface in some manner. They don't want to be like the company that makes red widgets, and whose marketing manager complains, "All these people trying to order blue widgets are driving me crazy - don't they understand we make RED ones?"
rogerd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2005   #8
Mikkel deMib Svendsen
 
Mikkel deMib Svendsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Posts: 1,576
Mikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud of
Quote:
This might be a huge distinction.
It definately is. What I don't understand is why he want to grow in areas he can't support when he knows that direct sales consulting is needed. If you want to speak to people learn the language - if not, don't. It's very simple
Mikkel deMib Svendsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2005   #9
rustybrick
 
rustybrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: New York, USA
Posts: 2,810
rustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikkel deMib Svendsen
It definately is. What I don't understand is why he want to grow in areas he can't support when he knows that direct sales consulting is needed.
I assume to make more $$$.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikkel deMib Svendsen
If you want to speak to people learn the language - if not, don't. It's very simple
Not sure if it is that simple. I believe many technical engineers do speak English or German - but it might not be their primary language. So it can be something they might want to read in their native language and then deal with someone in English or German. Maybe... I am a dumb New Yorker, so that is why I ask.
rustybrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2005   #10
Mikkel deMib Svendsen
 
Mikkel deMib Svendsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Posts: 1,576
Mikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud of
Rusty, it is really that simple. In my experience people search in the language they expect to be serviced in. So many engineers that are looking for "global" information or products do in fact search in english. I see this in many technical or B2B areas. But if they search in Danish, Swedish or French you can be almost 100% sure thats the language they want to be serviced in. If you target them you better be ready to speak their language too.
Mikkel deMib Svendsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2005   #11
rustybrick
 
rustybrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: New York, USA
Posts: 2,810
rustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud of
Very well said. I am satisfied. Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikkel deMib Svendsen
In my experience people search in the language they expect to be serviced in.
rustybrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2005   #12
Mikkel deMib Svendsen
 
Mikkel deMib Svendsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Posts: 1,576
Mikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud ofMikkel deMib Svendsen has much to be proud of
Quote:
Very well said. I am satisfied. Thank you.
I hope your client will be too

I am a great believe on "positioning" (go read Al Ries and Jack Trouts book witht the same title if you haven't yet!). It's much better to dominate a few fields than to be weak in many. The value of being strong is huge and the cost of being weak is high.
Mikkel deMib Svendsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off