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Selling to Russians News: Free translation English – Russian in real estate marketing
November 07, 2012
Here's a real life story first. Some time ago a real estate broker from a very sought after resort area where Russians buy a lot of high-end properties asked for my help with marketing to Russian buyers – because everybody wants a piece of this pie, right? I looked at their English site, made a couple of suggestions how to improve it to attract Russian buyers if and when the site would be in Russian as well. Ok, a month or two after that I receive a new message from the same broker: "Please have a look at our new international site and let's proceed with our offers to Russian buyers". So, I clicked to see the new site... It's the same old site; no changes, just on the very top there is a button "Translate into any language" which of course brings a visitor to a free online translation tool.
Some pieces of the text come out strange in Russian and some are just ridiculous, for example: one of their English headlines "Our area draws buyers from all corners of the globe" turned into something like "Nobody's poplar tree to buyers from all corners of the globe" in Russian (in back translation into English here), etc. etc.
Funny and hard to understand text is one thing why automatic translation won't attract Russian buyers, but can probably scare them away from your site as nobody wants to go through such gibberish to make some sense while there are many other sites on the same topic written in proper language. There is another important thing too: no Russian search engine will list your site built this way, so your main goal of becoming visible in Russian internet won't be achieved. Russians search internet in Russian, and your site must be not only listed by Russian search engines, but also be on the first 3 pages of results according to your search keywords (preferably on the first page of course) to be found by your potential buyers from Russia.
So, what I want to say is the following: you can sell international properties to Russian buyers, but you have to reach them! A free translation button accomplishes exactly what you paid for it – zero. Once again, free English – Russian translation tools are counterproductive for marketing!
Want more proof? As you don't know Russian and can't judge the quality of a Russian text translated automatically from English, try the other way around: open up any site in Russian, apply automated translation into English to any Russian text and see the result for yourself in English. Let's assume that Russians will see more or less the same quality of texts if translated from English into Russian. Not every piece will be ridiculous, some straightforward simple sentences will come out all right, but more complicated ones might confuse the reader completely.
Here is a little exercise in online translation, free to use for everybody, from http://ackuna.com/badtranslator - let's input one of the previous paragraphs into the multi-language machine translation vehicle and see what happens to the meaning of it (in back translation into English) at the output.
"You can sell international properties to Russian buyers, but you have to reach them! A free translation button accomplishes exactly what you paid for it – zero. Once again, free English – Russian translation tools are counterproductive for marketing"
...8 translations later, Bing gives us:
"You can sell real estate, international buyers, but in Russia! Your salary is zero at the end of the free translation button. Russia kadalongniyawen translation tools free again is the opposite of marketing"
Well, feel free to play with your own texts, have fun, and please remember that quite possible your foreign readers are laughing at your machine translated site or email just this very moment... Did you want to sell to them something? Or just make them laugh at you?
You can definitely use free online translation to try and understand what an email in a foreign language is about or a foreign website (not more than that – what it is about, but not the exact meaning!). If you ever use a machine translation for your electronic correspondence, always include a note about this, as your message in a foreign language that you aren’t able actually judge yourself may come out strange, very strange or even sometimes offensive to the other party.
To resume: do not lose your business reputation in foreign countries by using machine translation into foreign languages in your marketing materials, websites and important business correspondence.
To your best business success,
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