Reach Multilingual Markets: Four Questions, Answered


On our last WEGG webinar, “Reach Multilingual Markets: Creating Content, Developing Effective Partnerships, and Utilizing Translation Technology,” and presented by Jen Murphy, Director of Marketing for Eriksen Translations Inc. (pictured below), attendees asked a lot of great questions.  We couldn’t get to all of them so we promised to follow up with a blog post here at WEGG addressing the rest.  Here they are.  Meanwhile, thank you for your engagement and a BIG thanks to Jen for following through on this!

1. Should a business owner consider ever using Google Translate for translations?

While Google Translate has improved, its uses are still limited. Google Translate can help you understand the general meaning of text in another language, however a business should not use

Jennifer Murlhy, Director of Marketing, Eriksen Translations Inc.

Jennifer Murphy, Director of Marketing, Eriksen Translations Inc.

it for web content, legal or human resources materials, or anything client facing or for publication. Google Translate just doesn’t have the ability to grasp cultural nuance, or possess the local, contextual understanding of a human translator, and may miss crucial subtleties in technical or legal materials. In order to capture tone, emotion, and precise meaning it is still necessary to use a professional translator.

2.  How do you work with websites that update their content frequently?  For example, an e-commerce site with many SKUs? 

When a website requires frequent updates, delivered in a short period of time, it requires a lot of planning and coordination. If a client lets us know ahead of time the date when an update will be released, we can book our teams of linguist accordingly. A client’s method for delivering content varies depending on the capabilities of their Content Management System (CMS) to export/import translations. Sometimes we receive an export in XLS with all the SKUs, and update only the new ones or those that have been updated. If the client’s CMS is connected to our system, we are able to receive and deliver only the content that has been updated.

3.  How do you recommend that we, as professionals working to globalize a company, educate ourselves and better understand the global markets we hope to target and launch our marketing efforts in?

As a starting point, there is a great deal published online about cultural conventions around the world – just start by searching “cultural competence” in combination with the location you’re targeting. Additional market research can be obtained from international news reports, trade and economic statistics, and trade agencies. Georgetown University’s National Center for Cultural Competence lists many resources. The U.S. International Trade Administration offers trade counseling, market intelligence, and business matchmaking to help U.S. companies develop business abroad.

There are also companies that provide cultural consulting services to advise businesses on how to focus their marketing efforts and increase sales by meeting the needs of ethnic consumers. Some language services providers provide this service, or can refer you to a cultural consulting firm that’s a match for your needs.

4.  Could you tell us about one of your most challenging website localization experiences?

One especially memorable project was one we refer to as “Project Airlift.” Skype was relaunching their entire website into nine languages. This involved translating 1,000 html/php files and re-engineering the site in 6 weeks – a VERY short period of time for this scope of work.  It took a lot of planning and thinking “outside the box.”

  • Before the final content was ready, Skype provided us with “almost ready to-publish” files, allowing us to create a glossary and analyze the content so we would be ready to start as soon as the files were finalized.
  • Multiple teams of linguists were created, with one editor per language – so that a single editor could review all translations for consistency and style.
  • A schedule for rolling deliveries was developed to give Skype’s localization team a good head start on implementing the files as soon as they were finished.

Ultimately, it took a 10-person Eriksen team and 43 linguists, but due to planning, and organization, we delivered 1.3 million words ahead of schedule. While it was a challenge, this is a story we love to tell. Localization ended up being very important to Skype’s growth, and we were happy to play a role.

Jen can be reached at Eriksen Translations Inc. (Jennifer.Murphy(a)


Note: Don’t miss our next WEGG webinar 9/14 on “8 Critical Lessons to Ensure a Successful International Product Launch,” and presented by expert Alison Larson, founder of WorldBlazer Consulting. Register here: Event is no charge but you must register in advance to attend.


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