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Posted By P & L Blog

As the Hispanic population in the United States continues to grow, major advertisers are seeking new ways to attract Hispanic customers. These advertisers are increasingly trying to deliver their message in Spanish through Web sites, special sites for mobile phones and texting campaigns.

“What we’re seeing is clients who are looking for growth outside their “What we’re seeing is clients who are looking for growth outside their normal market, and often that market speaks a different language,” said Charles Whiteman, senior vice president of client services for the MotionPoint Corporation, a company that offers Web site translation services for marketers. “If we’re serious about targeting this consumer, this target market, we need to speak their language.”

Read the entire article at The New York Times .

Posted By P & L Blog

Do you know anyone who has signed a document written in a language she or he couldn't understand?  What were the consequences?


Insist on Translations: Originally published on The Business Ethics Blog.

Continuing my Friday series on keeping your business out of court, let’s discuss a potential pitfall that has emerged relatively recently. Commerce is becoming more international all the time as American businesses try to tap into new markets abroad. It’s all well and good … but it also creates a tremendous opportunity for misunderstanding.

Here’s an example. Several years ago, General Motors tried to market its Chevrolet Nova in Mexico. No one could understand why the car wouldn’t sell - GM’s analysis showed that it was perfect for the Mexican market. Eventually, however, GM discovered that “Nova,” or “no va,” roughly translates in Spanish to “won’t go.” Would you buy a car that “won’t go”? Of course not - and neither would Mexican consumers.

That particular example is pretty entertaining, but it points to a larger problem. If your company is doing business in a foreign country, there’s a good chance that your communications with your customers there are less than perfect. (Incidentally, that’s not just true in countries where languages other than English are spoken. American English bears less resemblance to the English spoken in Canada, Australia, and the U.K. than one might think.) And you can’t just rely on your local contacts to speak for you. I know of one instance where an American business professional signed a regulatory certification in a language he couldn’t read based on his local advisor’s assurance that everything was fine. It wasn’t, and the American got in serious legal trouble.

International markets can offer tremendous opportunities, but the risks associated with doing business in an unfamiliar language are tremendous, too. Before you venture into unknown terrority, make sure you know what the locals are saying to you. It can save your company a world of legal trouble half a world away.

Posted By P & L Blog


One of the challenges of small businesses going global is the complexity of dealing with language and local requirements. However, if you do your homework, you can sell your products and services outside the U.S. even if your sales and marketing budget is small. One of the most cost effective ways to sell across borders is to use your website, either for eCommerce, or as an informational and lead generation site. Here are 4 key ways to ready your website for international business:

(1) Internationalize your website content

Buyers are much more likely to buy if a website is in their own language.  For the small business, providing website content in other languages can be a particular challenge because it’s costly to translate text into multiple languages.  One way to keep costs in control is to translate text or provide country-specific sites only for the country or countries where you sell the most.  Organizations like and Gala Global provide resources to help businesses localize their products and websites, including links to translation services.  Don’t forget Spanish speakers in the U.S. — more and more businesses are providing Spanish translation specifically for this market within our own borders.

The complete article can be found here.




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