By Guest Blogger, Gwen Tanner.
Part of the joy of meeting Gonzalo in the 30-Day Blog Challenge in June, was that I came to understand some of the issues of international bloggers. I remember Gonzalo was a little concerned that his blog was written in Spanish. I was a little concerned too because I saw some interesting photos on his blog, but I didn’t understand the post because I don’t know Spanish! Shortly after starting the challenge Gonazlo starting writing his posts in English. To me that showed that he understands that he’s writing for a global audience and he realizes his blog has far more of a reach than his home country of Mexico.
I think that sometimes we forget that the internet is worldwide and anyone with access to it can potentially be a visitor to our site or a customer. That’s why it’s very important to make sure you take this into consideration. While I’m in the US and I speak “American” (English), I probably tend to use some terminology and expressions that may not translate well into other languages or countries – and the meaning can be misinterpreted. Actually, Gonzalo recently wrote about this on another blog. He wrote about how some of the terms he wrote in Spanish didn’t translate properly to English, thus the meanings were very different. You can read When you Blog on Another Language on Coach Jane Lee‘s blog.
So I just wanted to give you all some good advice, especially if you are hoping to reach global visitors:
1. Be careful of your choice of words as they have different meanings in different countries and cultures. An example, I was working on a project that we nicknamed “Shorts”. If I remember correctly, my UK counterparts would often giggle when we referred to Shorts because they used it as slang underpants.
2. Be careful of your choice of images or icons. Imagery has different meanings in different cultures. For example a pointing finger gesture in some cultures is an indication of blame or thievery. Imagine arriving at a website with an image of someone pointing at you if the meaning in your culture is calling you a thief!
3. Be careful of your choice of colors. For example, in some countries red is the color of power and courage, in others it can represent danger or evil. Here in the US, our preferred wedding dress color is white. If a bride were to wear a red one, some wedding party members would surely have some concerns and questions. While in some Eastern cultures red is the choice for brides and denotes purity.
4. Be aware that your text may be translated either by the reader or by software. In general it’s easier to translate shorter sentences. If you are a person who English is your second language, it’s easier to translate and understand shorter, simple sentences. The same can be said for translation software – you will have a better chance of a translator providing the reader the correct meaning if your sentences are short and sweet.
Gwen Tanner loves product creation and helping people organized their ideas into interesting products. You can visit Gwen on her blog, http://www.gwentanner.com, for some great product creation tips and ideas for creating your next product.