3 Rules of Content Translation–Interview with Rob Vandenberg, CEO of Lingotek

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Andre is a Social Media Marketing and Inbound Marketing Specialist. He is a frequent blogger on social media marketing trends, technologies and events in the San Francisco Bay Area.

translation-lingotek-socialmktgfella.pngThe world is not made up of English-speaking people although many can speak or understand a few basic English words like greetings and common conversation words. However, those who are not fluent in English would rather not struggle with a foreign language. This means that to maximize your website or online business, you need to offer at least 2 language options to visitors to your site.

Crowdsourced translation services have begun to make this an affordable reality. Whereas traditional translation methods are slow and expensive, taking weeks to months, and can cost upwards of a quarter a word, crowdsourced translation is quicker and less expensive.

Just look at the 2011 year-end statistics on Internet activities as compiled by different reputable research companies:

  • There are 555 million websites as of December 2011 with a growth of 300 million new websites in the same year alone
  • There are over 2.1 billion Internet users with the bulk coming from Asia (922.2 million) as compared to North America (271.1 million)
  • There are not a lot of countries in Asia that speak and understand English like a native speaker
  • Finally, for every $1 dollar spent on email marketing, ROI was $44.25

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I got a deeper look into this trend, speaking with Rob Vandenberg, President and CEO of Lingotek. Since 2006, Lingotek has provided software solutions that enable massive amounts of content to be translated in a rapid, trusted and cost effective way. Rob describes something known as “information poverty” which is basically inaccessibility to information because of language issues, among others.

With the insurgence of big data, this information has grown exponentially. “Companies are using crowdsourcing to keep up with this new information,” Vandenberg explains. “The key is being capable of rapidly and cost-effectively deploying content and information.” With crowdsourcing techniques and systems, your information can reach a wider market and help decrease information poverty.

There are different types of translation services offered with a crowdsourcing group from machine generated to crowd-solicited and then to the highest quality of professional translation. The results and accuracy of a translation service would ultimately depend on which type of translation service you choose and the cost goes incrementally higher as you move towards better accuracy. Your choice of service of translation service should depend on who your target market is; on whether they demand 100% accuracy or not.

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Rob’s advice to globally ambitious businesses? Divvy your content requirements into three categories.

1. Your most important, mission-critical content is handled by professional translators. Legal and compliance material, for example.

2. Moderately important content is handled by your crowd/community. Product and service descriptions in some cases.

3. Less critical content can be handled by machine translation and translation memories. Social user generated business content is an example of this.

This ensures the maximum amount of cost savings based on the value of the content you want to translate.

The bottom line is that if you want to increase traffic and site ratings, you need to go to the users and offer them information they can use in a language they can understand.

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