Question: Best practice
Thread poster: dkalmodovar

United States
Local time: 16:27
Nov 7, 2013

Our company is on its way toward going global and we've recently begun adding translated elements across all departments.

My question is the following:

If a monolingual English-language newsletter is going out to our public, but the marketing team wants to point out that there are SOME products available in Spanish, do they translate the small description of the product? This means only 2 sentences in the entire newsletter would be in Spanish.

My argument is that if a Spanish-only reader who needs the product has to sift through 10 pages in English to find a small blurb...then it's useless. I suggest just noting that the product is available in Spanish, perhaps with a logo stating, "¡En español!".

Is there a best practice for global marketing and translation?

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United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
A couple of questions Nov 7, 2013

What exactly are the products? And why are you sending an English newsletter to Spanish speakers?
You appear to have posted this question twice, by the way - I don't know if it's possible to delete the other one.

[Edited at 2013-11-07 18:44 GMT]

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:27
Member (2007)
+ ...
Won't it mostly be sent electronically? Nov 7, 2013

That way, it's easy for people to click on their own language area first for information specific to them first, then they can read other stuff in English if they can.

But I would have thought it would send a much stronger message to have all the general information translated, too. Nothing more off-putting than being able to understand a title enough to know you're interested, but incapable of making sense of the entire article. Would have a definite negative effect on brand image, I would have thought.

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United States
Local time: 16:27
thank you Nov 7, 2013

thank you for the feedback. All of is absolutely relevant.

To answer Phil: The products within the newsletter are courses and standards now available in Spanish. The company is still learning about what it means to be global and tends to send all information to all clients, so the target market is everyone...not an isolated language group. This poses a problem I know.

To answer Sheila: I did suggest that the information in the English language remain in English, so that if the reader has spanish language staff who needs it they can be alerted.

My next suggestion was for the company to create a separate newsletter, even if brief and condensed, in Spanish. also suggested for them to identify their Spanish-language members and either send them the newsletter or an email blast with the info in their language.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:27
Chinese to English
More of a marketing question than a translation question Nov 8, 2013

It sounds like your question is really "how do I communicate with customers in a new market" - which is much more than just a translation issue. It's useful to know the limits of one's own expertise, so my reaction is: don't ask us. You need to be talking to marketers with experience in this area. There may be big differences in the approaches you need to take to Spanish-speaking Americans and South Americans, for example, and a Spanish marketing expert might know. We don't.

On the specific question about the newsletter, though, I agree with you. Bilingual documents aren't worth the paper/pixels they're written on. No one likes to wade through a foreign language as they're reading their information. To be honest, even an "En espanol" sounds a bit patronising. I'm sure your readers can understand "This product also available in Spanish".

I like the format where you have links to different language versions at the top of the page, signaled by flags or the names of the languages in that language (like Wikipedia), so that readers can click through. But again, you'd need a marketer to tell you whether that actually works and whether people really do click through.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:27
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Too late Nov 8, 2013

It happens that yesterday I attended one of the lectures of a congress the University of Alcalá de Henares in Spain is hosting in Guadalajara this week. Among other things, the lecture discussed exactly this kind of scenarios: the fact that translators are only asked once the marketing decisions are very much made. So, you are doing a very sensible thing asking translators even at this stage, which is a bit late perhaps.

I kind of agree with Phil that simply adding "¡En español!" in some places sounds a bit patronising. If translating the full newsletter is not an option, it might be sensible to add a section for each language shortlisting the available products, or a shorter newsletter about the translated products could be sent to speakers of each language (if you have such information) on top of the English newsletter.

Good luck with it!

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Question: Best practice

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