I'm finally getting ready for the biggest tech event of the year - next week I will be in Lisbon for Web Summit (https://websummit.com/), an incredible conference aimed at tech workers.
I'm sure it will be huge and I will get to meet lots of people and listen to inspiring talks. Doesn't hurt that it will be held in the beautiful Lisbon, too.
Hope to see you there!
It’s easy to think that translation is a simple process - most people assume you just need to somewhat “know” the language and translate word for word and you’re all set.
Believe me, it’s not.
👉🏼 After months of careful planning, branding, positioning, refining your product and marketing strategy, your brand’s copy reads like it was written by a drunk robot using a dictionary (Yes, I’m looking at you, Google translate).
👉🏼 You write an email – the meaning might even somehow be there, but you missed the greetings, the tone, the email etiquette that are inherent to the target culture. The recipient thinks you might be a scammer, that you didn’t even take the time to write a proper email and ultimately, that you are rude (did you know Italians are super formal in their written communications?).
👉🏼You craft the perfect website to sell your product/service, but when translated, something is not quite right – the product wasn’t localized for this audience, the content is clearly not authentic, and you ruin your brand’s credibility and reputation.
As you can see, there’s a lot more than goes on behind the scenes, and this is setting aside all the complexities of different grammar, word order, different sentence structure, idioms etc. What might come off as a simple, merely linguistic and straightforward process is actually much more nuanced than that.
To be a professional, you not only need to have an excellent knowledge of BOTH source and target language - you need to have subject matter knowledge and other professional skills (marketing, computer, research skills, to name a few) that you need both time and money to obtain.
This is not something you achieve overnight, and this is not something you improvise.
So, if you find your perfect translator hold them dear and remember to value their hard work!
...And if you still haven't found your perfect into-Italian translator and are looking for one... Make sure to contact me and we can talk.
So you have finally found the right translator for your content. Go you!
…….Wait - now what?
Maybe it’s your first time working with a translator and you’re wondering how to make sure you receive an accurate estimate of time and price and you receive top-quality work that aligns with your message.
Let’s take a quick look at 5 of the most important things you can do for your translator:
1 – Send (at the very least) a sample of what you need translated - not all words are created equal: incredibly specific texts in niche fields require much more research and time than a simple newsletter, so the price will vary depending on the text.
Knowing the format of the document is very important as well - trying to decipher a GP’s handwriting from a scanned pdf is almost impossible and takes lots of time compared to tackling a simple Word document – and don’t get me started on those endless Excel strings!
2 - Provide a wordcount - to estimate how much time we need to do a job, we need to know how long the text is. Most translators quote per word, so having a wordcount is essential to provide a quote, too.
3 – If you have a strict deadline, say so right away - we are happy to accommodate your needs but the sooner we know about it, the better (please note most of us charge an urgency fee and a weekend-work fee)
4 – Be available to answer queries - sometimes the context is not enough, sometimes we find an ambiguous word, we might need to ask questions and you are the right person to address. Please help 😊
5 – A style guide - Do you work with copywriters? Do you have documents outlining your style preferences? That might help… A LOT. We can usually infer it ourselves from your website or materials, but if you already have glossaries or style guides, that’s perfect.
That’s it, I believe I covered the very basics. Did I leave something out? Do you have any questions? Comment away!
Million dollar question: can you take a text that's intended for an English-speaking audience, translate it verbatim and then just dish it out in another market, to a different segment who speaks a different language?
Answer: Not really. (You guessed it!)
Sometimes it might work, but most times a "regular" translation doesn't cut it. You need to take a whole new approach.
Transcreation is a creative process during which your marketing text gets reworked into a text suited for another audience in the target language (in our case, Italian).
The text might undergo significant changes and might come out entirely different, especially if source and target culture are very distant.
Research is a fundamental part of this, so the client should provide as much information as possible on intent, brand's style and voice, target audience, etc.
Of course the input of and collaboration with marketers is also very important in this kind of work, to ensure the intended end result stays the same.
👉Create laser-focused copy for your Italian audience
👉Write a better-flowing, natural-sounding text
👉Get better response and engagement
👉Convert and sell more
Are you convinced yet? 😉
Next time you need to translate your marketing materials, try to discuss this approach with your translator and let me know how it goes!
Lately I've been in the market for a new car - my current one can't really fit my 30-kg dog anymore, so...
I've been doing some looking around, visiting car dealerships, inquiring about models, boot sizes etc.
Why am I telling you this, you ask?
I was appalled by the approach of most sellers - seriously, some of them made me change my mind about buying a shiny new car, which is exactly the opposite of what a seller should aim for.
You HAVE to be kidding me - I thought to myself - if I worked like them, I would have been out of business for quite some time.
And thus came the inspiration for this post. Here's a handful of don'ts for sellers, even if you sell services instead of actual products - courtesy of the best (and the worst) car dealerships on the block:
1 - Treating your customer poorly/like you're doing them a favor:
Yes, I know you get a lot of inquiries and people that are probably just wasting your time, but if you don't treat everyone who walks in the door (actual or metaphoric) like buying clients, you will end up losing them.
2 - Not being passionate about what you're selling:
If you don't believe in your product, why should I? At least you get paid to do so.
3 - Not following basic e-mail etiquette:
Of course you're answering my corteous inquiry with a cookie-cutter, pre-written auto-responder - it's not like I signed my email with my name or I asked a specific question. Go ahead and keep sending me one-line emails with attachments whose meaning I can't fathom for the life of me, I so appreciate it.
I do send my fair share of "Please find attached" emails without attachment, but this is another level of email rudeness, probably on the same level of those dreaded "To whom it may concern" messages...
4 - Not having a clear offer:
If you can't communicate your offer in a clear way or you are not even sure what you're selling, your customers will probably go somewhere else, to someone with a little more confidence and knowledge of their product.
5 - Purposely having a vague offer AND trying to throw off your clients with super-specific jargon:
WOW, that's a lot of optionals, this car must be SO well-equipped! ...and then, after sifting through endless lists of mysterious acronyms, you find out it has, well, a wheel, electric power windows (that's SO futuristic!) and possibly an engine somewhere.
The same goes for us, who sell services instead of cars: don't intimidate your client with industry jargon they don't know - speak the language they speak. Don't tell them about the features of the latest cutting-edge software you subscribed for, just tell them about the results. That's what they are interested in, after all.
So, back to us... Do you have other pet peeves when you find yourself on the other side of the barricade?
Being buyers might just make us better sellers :-)