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Potential Customers Are Being Ignored

By Lari Steel

You have registered with search engines, posted to ad sites, you have bought page hits and have your banner on numerous sites - but there is still a huge market that you have ignored.

Currently about 60% of the information on the internet is written in English. This is not surprising when you consider that mainstream online use originated in the United States. When you add pages generated in other English-speaking countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the British Isles, this figure becomes even less surprising. Although English is (controversially) treated as the international language in many professions, such as science and air travel, it is not easily understood by millions of people.

New people are coming online every day and the internet population is still expanding. Many of those new people do not have English as their first language and many will not be able to understand many of the current web pages. To reach those people you need to make some alterations to your advertising and update your web pages. The percentage of non US internet users has increased by 25% over four years.

A fact which is not at all surprising is that people prefer to read in their own language. If you go to a multilingual web site which language do you choose? Of course there are various options for translating pages into your own language. Sites such as Alta Vista allow you to browse foreign language sites. Google allows you to translate sites that appear in its search results.

These sites use machine translations. You don't have to spend much time reading the results of such a translation before you realise they are very basic. If the site has been written using colloquial language and slang then the translation may well be total gibberish. If you are lucky you will be able to get a vague understanding, but at least it's a start and it may be give you the information you want.

You can find a list of machine translators here: www.babelfish.com/Languages/English/EnglishMachine.shtml

After spending some time trying to make sense of a machine translation you will be able to appreciate why people are much more likely to visit a site that is written in their own language. You can find various products that will help you if you are interested in translating your site. You can find some at my web site www.write-it-right.uk2k.com/tools.htm. For the best results you should get a professional translation made by a native speaker. A person can understand the nuances of language far better than a machine can.

Before you start any translation work though, have a critical look at your English text. Read the information and simplify any sentences that you think are complicated. You are more likely to get a good translation if the sentences are short. Above all double-check the spelling - and then check again. If you have spelling mistakes this can cause havoc with the translation. With one slip of the finger you could find your delicatessen specialises in roast jam rather than roast ham.

If your spelling mistake is not actually a real word then it will not be translated at all so you will have complete gibberish.

Which testimonial would you prefer to have on your site?

It is a marvelous product. I recommended it to all my friends and they think that it is the best thing they ever bought. I am so happy I found your web site. Thank you.

or

It is a erstunliches product. I recommended it to all my to friends and you think that it best thing is, which they bought at all. I am glicklich that I found your web site. Velen thanks

A few spelling mistakes made the difference


About the Author
Lari Steel, Bristol

Lari Steel provides an affordable way of correcting web pages and emails completely online. http://www.write-it-right.uk2k.com


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