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Learn about the culture of your target market in order to expand your world

We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language. - Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author.


How to reach your audience via the Internet

How to reach your audience via traditional media

How
to reach your audience via the Internet

   Surfing the Net and encountering an Internet site in a foreign language can often happen. All the wonderful technology of the Internet is still unable to overcome the basic barrier of a foreign language without the help of a translator. 

   Distribution: "What if all of these documents, all of these steps, could be managed online, interactively and untouched by human hands?". A scenario of a paperless society capable of moving critical information through the Internet in a matter of minutes, instead of days, this has as large an impact on how business is presently done, as the Pony Express of the old American West had on communications in its day. 

   Announcements: Email can be used to inform international customers of product information updates. 

   Download: Customers can have access to documentation by downloading the information from your server to their local operating system. 

   Customer Interaction: Internationally capable Web sites can guide customers to the information they need.

   Availability: The Internet is truly an international communication device as it allows average human beings to share the experience of their daily working lives. Not only is the Internet an international communication device, it is often considered an international, and virtual, information resource in its own right. "If you need specific information or a pointer to a resource, a virtual community is like a living encyclopedia". 

   Instant Access: An informed customer is a happy customer. 

   Faster Updates: Your customer can act upon updated information more quickly. 

   Reduced Costs: Internet distribution, after initial setup costs, can eliminate the cost of shipping.

   Dangers: The amount of information and the nature of information that business transfers in the future will become enormous, highly technical and, in many cases, very sensitive and valuable. "Because information on the Internet is digital . . . it can be copied as soon as it is seen". Each company must consider just how much it is willing to publish on the Internet. 

   Proprietary Information: Be sure to understand the legal ramifications of making your translated information available on the Internet. The Internet is not a totally secure medium. 

   Web Hackers: The Internet is accessible to millions of people, many who are always looking for a way to make money dishonestly, or are looking to simply alleviate boredom. 

   Misdistribution: Be sure of where you are sending information. Internet users are often very impatient with receiving large packets of misdirected digital information and will often retaliate in kind. 

   The marketing aspect of the Internet leads the way for international technical communication through the Internet. Since the Internet is a profitable means of conducting business, more business people are using the Internet as an information exchange medium. Once Internet profitability has been established in the sales arena, other types of information become commonplace: from accountants' spreadsheets to engineers' drawings, from automobile repair manuals to space shuttle replacement parts order forms, from the commonplace to the most fantastic imaginable. And all this information is required in many different languages if it is to support a global marketplace. 

   Conclusion: Young people around the world who are using the Internet as an electronic playground today will enter the workplace soon, bringing the skills they garnered through the use of the Internet with them. They have highly honed computer and communication skills learned while surfing the Net for the latest fad in music or for the latest computer game. The Internet has already have become an integral part of their lives. They do not have to overcome the fear, or have to transverse a learning curve to be productive on the Internet. 

But they don’t speak, or read, the same language. The information produced for business may require more translation, more often, if it is to be useful in an international arena.


How to reach your audience via traditional media

   Expand Your World View: If you don't have the time to study cultural anthropology, take the time to exposure yourself to a broader "worldview."

   Culture: Learn about the culture of your target market. This will help you avoid xenophobic statements.

   Taboos: Learn about the taboos concerning language, color, styles, and graphics. Nova (an exploding star) in English has a completely different meaning than no va (no go) in Spanish.

   Sensitivity: Try not to step on toes, beware of thin-skinned overseas contacts, and realize your toes will get stepped upon, so develop a thick skin. Use very formal modes of address, e.g., Sir, Madam, Mr., and Mrs.  

   Clear, Concise, and Complete: Good writing in English will come across in any language. 
   Clear: If your information is clear in English, it can be translated clearly.
   Concise: The less information you need translated, the fewer margins there are for error. A side benefit of concise is a cost saving. 
   Complete: Be sure to tell the whole story. Your customer may not have access to a “1-800HELPME” line available in their language. 

   Proactive Style: Use your research and writing skills to create information that is translation ready. 

   Translatable: There are many different models to help you write for translatability. Choose the best fit for you and your company. 

   Verifiable: Don’t translate inaccuracies. Verify and update your information, then translate. Visual graphically presented information can cut across the barriers of language. But remember to pick a callout style suitable for your style of information presentation.

 

 

 
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