We had our second webinar, “How to Sell Website Translation?” on September 6th.
Péter Faragó, the CEO of Easyling covered the basic principles, the pros and cons of website translation options and where you can find good website translation prospects.
As a general rule, it is critical to reach out to the relevant people. Finding the decision makers is crucial in order to move forward with any project: for example, the VP of Marketing who is fully aware that the company’s success depends on the timely launch of its foreign language website.
It is also important to clarify if the potential client has a serious intent to get their website translated. Lots of energy is wasted on prospects who lack real need or intention – read from the signs and focus on the right target. Timing also matters – approaching potential customers when their plans and resources (budget, staff) are in place.
Once prospects are committed, it is time to identify their needs and support them with finding the right website translation method. Understanding customers’ needs and providing unbiased advice is a huge opportunity to establish credibility and trust and foster a good service provider-client relationship in the long run. However, to be able to do this, LSPs themselves must understand the technology implications of each website translation option because each client is different, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Clients’ priorities – SEO, translation quality, security, budget-friendliness, time-to-market deadline – must be considered before making a decision. LSPs have an important role in educating the clients, but this is also a great opportunity to build a strong business relationship.
The options are the following:
1. Sending files (HTML, XLIFF, XML, etc.) back and forth: someone at your client’s company extracts the source content, which is translated and then injected back.
- Automated process (works with static content, but expertise is required),
- Manual copy-paste: a huge inconvenience.
Cons: IT-heavy for the client, out-of-context translation, corrections and ongoing maintenance difficult.
2. Using multilingual CMS: clients give permission to translators who do the translation in the CMS.
Cons: Translators must learn a 3rd party system; might cause potential damage; big overhead costs to train the translators; lack of CAT tools and Translation Memory (translation consistency and efficiency is not optimal).
3. Content Connectors: some CMSs have these tools to extract source content from the database, and then inject the translated content back.
Cons: content connectors carry a cost; out-of-context translation; corrections and ongoing maintenance difficult.
4. Translation Proxy: translation is stored in the cloud and fetched upon request real-time. It has the ideal automation: automatic detection, content extraction, in-context translation. The customer doesn’t have to provide the source content, will save on IT costs significantly. It is an SEO-friendly solution because subdomains are created for the available languages and they are automatically crawled by the search engines. Meta tags are also translated and crawled.
- Customers want full control of the foreign version. Since translation is not injected back to the CMS, they worry about the ownership and control of the translation. Actually, this is a misconception due to a lack of understanding (or misunderstanding) of the Translation Proxy. In fact, clients DO have full control. There is no foreign version of the translated website, just a translation memory stored in the Easyling cloud that replaces the original content with the translated one on the fly. However, it is a challenge to make customers understand the concept. (This video might help.)
- The ongoing costs of the Translation Proxy is a real concern. It is a monthly cost that is difficult to estimate in advance. In this case, LSPs might investigate if the site is cacheable (i.e., if a major part of the site is static). In these cases, the costs of the Proxy can be decreased dramatically.
- Security issues: for certain types of content, the involvement of a 3rd party is prohibited by law or company policies (e.g., credit card information, health records).
Cons: Lack of SEO friendliness. The translated site is not visible to the search engines because there are no separate subdomains, only a language selector. Where SEO is not an issue, it is a perfect solution though: e.g., for Intranet sites or web application (CRM, Sales Tools).
Where you can find good prospects
One very good source of potential customers is service providers in tourist areas. Even in popular travel destinations, many websites – hotels, restaurants, etc. – are not translated. These websites are mostly static, making them ideal candidates for the Translation Proxy. With the same logic, service providers in bi/multilingual areas are also promising candidates.
Companies planning to enter the global market are also good candidates. A good example is wineries as the popularity of wine consuming is growing in new areas (e.g., Asia).
The key is to identify the right time when website owners realize that it is necessary to have the site internationalized. There is a huge potential market of exhibitors – companies that regularly exhibit at international expos or trade shows. There are freely available databases where you can search for upcoming expos and get the list of exhibitors. Approaching them about a month before the expo is probably a good idea: since they spend a large amount on expo costs (expo booth, advertising, etc.), it makes a lot of sense to have their website translated by the time of the expo.
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