Skirting the dust-bin
Thread poster: Richard Bartholomew

Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:47
Member (2007)
German to English
Mar 24, 2013

OK here's the deal:

1. Find a web site written in (one of) your source language(s).
2. Download the home page and translate it.
3. Print out the translated home page.
4. Fold the printout into an envelope with the translated web page on the outside.
5. Insert a brief written offer to translate the rest of the web site into the envelope.
6. Mail the envelope and offer to the web-site's owner.

Questions:

1. Would this approach cause any legal problems?
2. Would seeing a copy of their own web-site's home page on the envelope discourage the recipient from discarding the letter as junk mail?
3. Would seeing a copy of their own web-site's home page on the envelope in (one of) your target language(s) encourage the recipient to have the rest of his or her web site so translated?


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:47
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
My answers Mar 24, 2013

1. Don't know (I'm not a legal expert) but I don't think so.
2. Do you mean the print-out actually becomes the envelope? I think I'd go for putting it in an ordinary envelope. It still wouldn't look like junk mail.
3. I think it's a brilliant idea to translate the home page and add an offer to translate the rest. It shows great initiative on your part. If I were the company, I'd like to do business with you.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sounds OK Mar 24, 2013

Seems like a feasible option for someone looking to expand their client base. I've had similar ideas before about offering to revise/improve poorly translated or MT-botched websites, but never got round to it, partly because I ended up assuming that the businesses or people behind them either didn't know or didn't care about the quality of their sites.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:47
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Sounds feasible to me Mar 24, 2013

I'd go for a plain business envelope though, maybe one with a window as those are always business-related.

I've often had the same thoughts as neilmac and have actually tried it, with zero success, but you're thinking of approaching those who don't have a "foreign" version website. That may work better. However, you'd have to choose carefully - if they have no real likelihood of exporting their goods or services, then they really won't be interested.

If you do it, please give us feedback.icon_smile.gif


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 07:47
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Me too, I have tried it Mar 24, 2013

with no success at all, not even an answer (though I must say that your idea is much more refined than mine was)!

Bonne chance and keep us posted!

[Edited at 2013-03-24 12:12 GMT]


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 15:47
Chinese to English
Just be careful... Mar 24, 2013

If your envelope has a website homepage on it, then it's got recognisable corporate markings.

You can't use the name of another company to promote your services.

So...

If the company you mailed it to thought for any reason that you could have used their website to market your services to other clients, they could be very angry indeed, and justifiably so.

They shouldn't think that, but mistakes do happen.

This might work better in your market than it does in mine, but I'm dubious of how effective it will be. Most companies don't have the expertise to tell how well you've translated their website. And I don't think that that's the kind of thing that motivates a company to either get a translation, or pick a particular translator over someone else. I would market myself more by telling the story of bigger markets in the US/UK, and industry-relevant experience/testimonials. Translation just doesn't seem to be an "experience" product that you can sell by giving potential customers a taste.


 

Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:47
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Mass-produced junk mail, I mean Mar 24, 2013

Emma Goldsmith wrote:
2. Do you mean the print-out actually becomes the envelope?


Yes, precisely


think I'd go for putting it in an ordinary envelope. It still wouldn't look like junk mail.


Actually, I should have written 'mass-produced junk mail'.


3. I think it's a brilliant idea to translate the home page and add an offer to translate the rest. It shows great initiative on your part. If I were the company, I'd like to do business with you.


Thank you—that's exactly the reaction I would be trying to elicit in the target companies' managers.


 

Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:47
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Scount motto: be prepared Mar 24, 2013

neilmac wrote:

Seems like a feasible option for someone looking to expand their client base.


I didn't learn much as a boy scout, but the one thing I did learn was the motto: be prepared. I've almost always had more work than I can possibly handle, but you never know when one fine day . . .


I've had similar ideas before about offering to revise/improve poorly translated or MT-botched websites, but never got round to it, partly because I ended up assuming that the businesses or people behind them either didn't know or didn't care about the quality of their sites.


I've also thought of doing what you're suggesting; however I could never get up the nerve to write a letter strongly implying that a company's managers are ignorant or negligent and would they please hire me to help them conceal that fact from their customers.


 

Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:47
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Importing customers Mar 24, 2013

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I'd go for a plain business envelope though, maybe one with a window as those are always business-related.


Thank you, I'll keep fenestrated envelopes in stock for general business use at least. They're a little more expensive but of course presentation counts.


. . . However, you'd have to choose carefully - if they have no real likelihood of exporting their goods or services, then they really won't be interested.


The idea was not necessarily to target exporters of goods or services but also importers of customers. For instance I mean grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, and the like located near train stations, airports, or other places where foreign travellers not versed in the local lingo might be inclined to shop.


If you do it, please give us feedback.icon_smile.gif


I will, but I hope I'll never need to generate anything to feed back.


 

Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:47
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
More of a plan-B idea Mar 24, 2013

Teresa Borges wrote:

with no success at all, not even an answer (though I must say that your idea is much more refined than mine was)!


It's more of a what-shall-I-do-if-agency-business-dries-up-for-an-extended-period plan. I don't like to be caught flat-footed.


Bonne chance and keep us posted!


I will certainly but I hope it doesn't come to that.


 

Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:47
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
'. . . let's kill all the lawyers.'---Henry The Sixth, Part 2 Act 4, scene 2 Mar 24, 2013

Phil Hand wrote:

If your envelope has a website homepage on it, then it's got recognisable corporate markings.


Thank you, that's exactly the kind of thing that I was thinking about.


You can't use the name of another company to promote your services.


And my answer would be: But your honour, I didn't use another company's name. I used plaintiffs' company's name.


So...

If the company you mailed it to thought for any reason that you could have used their website to market your services to other clients, they could be very angry indeed, and justifiably so.


Exactly. But would it make sense to use a translation of company A's home page to convince company B to pay me to translate the latter's web site?


They shouldn't think that, but mistakes do happen.


And juries awarded outlandish sums to people for spilling hot coffee in the latters' laps.


. . . would market myself more by telling the story of bigger markets in the US/UK, and industry-relevant experience/testimonials. Translation just doesn't seem to be an "experience" product that you can sell by giving potential customers a taste.


Yes, I hear you. But the idea was to let the picture do most of the talking. I know that I have precious little patience when it comes to reading through reams of happy talk from people trying to shove things down my throat and I assume that potential customers would too. The intended thought sequence would be something like:

'Wow, that's our home page.'
'What's that funny writing on it? That's something that potential new customers could read.'
'How can we get the rest of our web site in that funny writing?'


 

Theo Bernards (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:47
English to Dutch
+ ...
Looks like a new service to offer... Mar 24, 2013

[quote]Richard Bartholomew wrote:

... however I could never get up the nerve to write a letter strongly implying that a company's managers are ignorant or negligent and would they please hire me to help them conceal that fact from their customers.


"Let me help you reversing the very successful "dumbing down" service you have been provided by your translators".


 
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