Localising my website for the Chinese Market
You may find that a localised version of your site is quite useful in terms of communicating with the chinese market. Our experience is that the options are usually to have a Chinese version of your site, as part of the site, so you keep everything on one server and switch between languages or to develop a chinese version of the site on a chinese server, perhaps located in say Hong Kong, and with a chinese domain name.
There are advantages to both routes. It's certainly more cost efficient to run both versions from your current server, but whether that will give much penetration into the chinese market is questionable. you'd need to consider some sort of promotion in China to your contacts aware of the availability of the site. This might be effectlivel done through optimising the site and registering it on chinese search engines. You could also promote it through the Chinese equivalents of "Facebook", although I suspect that these will not be so effective when it comes to B2B selling. Also bear in mind that the Chinese government has a record of selectively managing China's access to the internet and to overseas sites, so although more expensive, having a site behind the "Great firewall" could be more effective.
One of the surprising issues we've found is that in the area of high technology, is that the Chinese themselves, particularly well qualified managers prefer to switch between Chinese and English when reading technical web sites. This is because Chinese translations can be quite subjective. Many translation companies are not savvy with specialist translations of technical terms, and I find that some Chinese (certainly the tech director level) prefer the unambiguity of English.
Remember also that a Chinese language specific site should:
1. be a "comfortable" entry point for Chinese people
2. follow chinese cultural expectations ( think history and tradition, quality, mission, importance of your owner/ CEO, and key people in the organisations, as well as achievements of the business)
3. have a Chinese - style format and colour-scheme
If you decide to translate your company name - please ensure that the characters used have positive meanings, ( Remember the story of one Soft drinks company whose chinese name conveys "happy tasty", but was originally conveyed "wax tadpole")
If our UK or Taichung staff can help further, please let me know.
I agree with earlier comments re having a Chinese website.
In addition, I would recommend doing a regular email newsletter to customers and prospects. It will help keep your brand top of mind.
e.g. I produce a monthly email newsletter for a UK client that is focused on China news in both English & Mandarin. It's a great cost-effective way of having a regular dialogue with customers and prospects. Importantly, it is also possible to identify 'hot prospects' & areas of interest based on tracking which emails recipients open and the specific articles they click.
Communication is crucial to the success of any company, yet all too often business is lost through simple misunderstandings that could have been avoided. When working across different languages and cultures, the chances for misunderstandings can be considerably multiplied. It is essentail that your company's marketing strategy includes an appropriate communication strategy for China.
Basically, clients will not be attracted to your site and will not buy from you if they don't understand what your products and services are and let's not assume that everyone in China's business world speaks English. The growth of the multi-lingual web has made it possible for consumers to choose to read sites in their own language - the growing trend is that 'native' language sites are becoming the preference.
Feel free to email me at Excel Language Solutions. We specialise in helping exporters penetrate new markets through translation, website localisation and intercultural management. We can also source a professional and qualified native Chinese translator for your requirements.
I agree with all the above comments that having your website in local language is crucial. However, localising a website is not as straight forward as poulating it with the Chinese text. Your website design agency needs to be involved to make sure your structure supports the required fonts, and it is crucial that updating of the content is easy. Once you have your website localised it's important to keep it updated so it will rank well. Also, your keywords and meta tags should be translated to increase the SEO.
You also need to consider your target audience. There are many dialects in China, and there are two versions of written Chinese - simplified and traditional. Georgaphical area will be the first factor to consider when choosing the relevant version.
Thanks to our relationship wth the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce we have helped numerous businesses to expend overseas by providing professional multilingual services ranging from translation, localisation, interpreting and even multilingual voice over recording. At the heart of our organsiation we have a huge network of professional translators, so we can find the most appropriate translators to translate your website content.
Please visit our website: www.global-lts.com for more information, and don't hesitate to contact me should you wish to discuss your requirements further.
The previous comments regarding localization are indeed valid, however when choosing a translation company you should ensure that they are familiar with your industry and the terminology used within the industry. Chinese culture should also be considered when using images and phraseology. To penetrate the market I would also suggest developing a Chinese website hosted in China (Chinese domain names are inexpensive, see www.101domain.com/cn.htm).
When we entered the Chinese market it took around 18 months before we made any headway, the main breakthrough was when we opened a joint venture office in Beijing and all marketing was handled locally. If you need any help drop me an e-mail.
In addition to all the above, I would like to introduce our translation company ETLS International. We can provide you with a localised Chinese website. We would have your site translated into Chinese by a native Chinese person and also reviewed by a Chinese person both living in China and familiar with your products/services. This way we can also give you input on what parts of your site need to be amended to fit Chinese customs, ethnics and usage as appropriate.
You are welcome to get in contact with me to discuss this further should you want.
Hello David, all good advice so far. You may want to start with a little bit of research with your existing clients (using a native speaker working in your office, or via a 24 hour telephone interpreting service); and research with other people you think may be potential clients. So find out what you are doing right from your current Chinese, whilst establishing if there is anything else they need or would like differently. If you are thinking of having a Chinese version of your website, I'd definitely recommend writing one specifically aimed at this particular market, ideally with case studies from your Chinese clients. You don't have to get EVERYTHING translated, just start with a small but well prepared bit and expand from there.
If you set up a phone interpreting account (free with us to set up!) then you can invite clients to get in touch and be able to communicate with them over the phone using an interpreter, day or night. This saves time - and money.
We can help with any of these stages should you need a quotation for any of these areas. We also offer courses for those dealing with China - focussing on culture, language and how business is conducted.
Good luck with it all, Clare, Atlas Translations.
Is it always recommended that you translate your marketing materials into the target language, and having an interpreter accompany you to important business meetings is also advisable. Making an effort to use the native language of your clients creates a great impression and ensures that your message is heard as intended in your target market.
Global LTS mentioned the two written forms of Chinese, traditional and simplified. If you want to target the whole of China it would be worth translating into both written forms. Simplified Chinese is the more modern and simplified form of the written language which is used mainly in mainland China and Singapore. Traditional Chinese is the original writing form which has been used for thousands of years. It is now mainly used in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
If you require an interpreter make sure that you choose the correct dialect. Cantonese and Mandarin are the most popular dialects but many others exist.
I hope that this information helps, if you need any more information please don't hesitate to contact us http://www.veritaslanguagesolutions.com/Chinese-translation/
As part of the China-Britain Business Council's new webinar, 'A China Expert on your Desktop', we are holding one session on the 'Online Space in China' including the issues that you are all discussing here. I think it might valuable.
Click here for info and registration: http://www.cbbc.org/cbbc_calendar/event/view?id=353
David Martin - CBBC
If you're marketing to clients in China, UKTI have a subsidised service called the Export Communications Review which can give you a tailored action plan on how to get your website visible in international search engines e.g. www.baidu.com or Chinese language versions of Google in Hong Kong etc. (change the language and the country to see if you are visible!).
Find out more at: http://www.growglobal.com/ecr.
I also have a colleague who runs a company specialising in registering and hosting domains in China behind the 'great firewall of China' - take a look at www.accesstochina.com.
Good luck with exporting to China!
Localisation is the process of product translation and cultural adaptation allowing a company to adjust to the differences within distinct markets. Website localisation isn’t the same as straightforward translation because it involves a comprehensive analysis of the target culture in order to correctly adapt the company’s website.
Having a professional localisation is a vital way of being recognised locally, avoiding conflict with local culture and habits, and addressing the needs and desires of local markets. In addition to grammar and spelling, the localisation specialist or website translator may need to change graphics, currencies, dates, addresses and telephone numbers, colours etc.
My company Veritas offers localisation services and I advice you to gather more information from our website (http://www.veritaslanguagesolutions.com/) and contacting us (+44 (0)800 8600 674). When offering website localisation services we only employ localisation specialists who are living in the native country, in order to ensure that they are completely up to date with cultural and linguistic developments in their area. We also ensure that all our specialists are qualified to at least degree level and have at least 5 years’ professional translation and localisation experience. Veritas will assign you an experienced and dedicated project manager who will advise and assist at every stage of the localisation process. We can liaise with your own web design team, and work within your content management system to ensure continuity between your different sites, as well as assisting with multilingual SEO. By liaising with your web team we will ensure that every part of the website is translated and localised to outstanding quality, and after translating we will enter the site and proofread everything before it goes live.
Hope to hear from you soon,
Hi, this is my first response. Have you researched where you are looking to get growth from in this ever growing region? If not that is the first thing to do. There are many provinces within China that are dependent on ordering products and services through the internet to supply their requirements, so picking out those market places could help with your product. Is your image/brand ok? Mandarin is the most likely language for mainland China, Cantonese for the Hong Kong market place. You will be best off with two sites to deal with those quite different markets. Have you optimised your sites correctly for Baidu in mainland China, or are you relying on a Google? Have you made sure that you have a strong social media presence? Social media is a huge influence on consumers throughout China. Have you an effective partner/distributor that you can rely on? If you wish to look at ways you can expand into this market please feel free to call me and we can talk/skype.
Skype : personalisethis
Tel : 0845 6808637 / 07765 893144
I hope you are well?
My name is Ryan @ BF Projects in Belfast, I would be happy to help with the Exporting of you're product to China..
You can contact me on the below.
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