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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Take the Multilingual Challenge: Globalize Your Blog

I2m_japanesescreenshot One of the things I have noted over the past year of blogging is that this blog receives a significant amount of traffic from locations outside of the US.  Intended or not, this blog has a global audience.  But like most of my fellow bloggers based in a single country, I don't do much to help these international visitors read my blog.  Go to the IBM homepage, and you will first be asked which country you come from so they can deliver their site in the right language.  My version of this is to publish the Influential Interactive Marketing blog in as many languages as I can.  Unfortunately, my linguistic ability does not stretch this far - so I'm going to use automated help from Google Translate.  I am adding the following links to my sidebar, and offer this to any international visitors to this blog. 

Select a button below and see this blog translated:

I'd like to propose a challenge to some of my fellow bloggers.  If you have a significant number of international visitors to your blog, use Google Translate to offer translated versions of your homepage.  Let's all see if this makes a difference in globalizing our efforts and generating more international discussion.

How to Participate:

  1. Go to Google Translate to get URLs for translated pages of your blog
  2. Optional: Download country buttons in a ZIP File [right-click save as]
  3. Add these buttons (or just text links) to your sidebar or somewhere on your blog
  4. Post about it on your blog and tag your post "multilingual challenge"

Tags: , multilingualchallenge, googletranslate, translate, globalization


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Great idea, Rohit. Do you happen to know whether Google Translate does a better job than Altavista's Babelfish translator? I've been disappointed with the quality of translated results from Babelfish in the past, and I'm curious whether Google is a better product for this. Thanks!

Nedra - You hit on the main problem with any automated translation programs that are out there today, that they still don't offer the ability to translate the ideas being conveyed, only the actual words. As much as this is a limitation, I still liked the idea of including these links ... with the hope that global visitors will be able to see past translational inaccuracies and take the ideas within. And of course, I keep the hope that translation services like this will continue to improve and one day be able to decipher the meanings as well as the words.

Indeed, it is a big impediment to sharing of ideas. However, what I have learned from my (non-English) readers is that they are well ahead of us. Almost all of them, who have any interest in reading content in their non-native language, already have their preferred translation tool - most often in form of a toolbar.

Secondly, I don't like the buttons that Google has. If I did not speak a single word in English, how would I know which translation button to click on?

I've added the link to Spanish on my site, based in Miami. I have been thinking about opening a completely new blog just to be written in Spanish, but hopefully this will be a step in the right direction. Although the translations aren't perfect, hopefully someone will find it helpful.

Jay, you raise some good points in your comments. I must admit that the buttons were self-created, but I see the value in using all text and have updated my sidebar as such. I do still believe, as Rebecca notes in her comment, that there is a value to including these links in the hope that some readers will still find them useful, even if they have their own preferred online translators.

Jay, if a reader is unable to read a single word of English, the text of the button should be able to be translated to the relevant language via the google translate function, then pasted back into the button text editor. I'll just do one for the French translation button on my blog now, as a demo......

....Jay, I've just done it, you can check the right margin of my blog now.

(In using Google Translate, to obtain the Oriental languages' characters, the appropriate languages' text editors have to be loaded of course, to enable copying and pasting of something approximating the correct text.)

uhhhh, I think Google needs to improve his French. Result is absolutely horrible...
But anyway, in a couple of months/ years, sure this system will be interesting. Maybe a way to preserve languages diversity.

Hi Rohit,

What a great conversation-- sorry I joined in late.

YES, YES, YES! I get LOADS of visitors from other countries on my blog. Usually overnight. When we're sleeping-- they crawl. At the moment I get a LOT of hits from Australia and England. Lots of folks wanting to get organized I guess.

I downloaded the translation images you offered, but I can't seem to get it to work (techno-stupid I guess). I need help with that, but I will just tackle the words for now.

Definately more on this later.

- John

-- John


We just added your translation buttons to our site and wanted to thank you for taking the initiative. Recently we have been getting a ton of spanish traffic and even some spanish comments - I have been using google translate to communicate with these visitors, and now hopefully they will have an easier job of translatting our site.


I found your blog via Bill Doern's Bloggoggle. I think Google translation uses Altavista's babelfish translation engine, or one very similar. It is considered so bad that a common Live Journal game is using it to translate a song lyric or other piece of pop culture text into another language and back again in order to laugh at the result.

Rohit Bhargava, Thank you for your sharing. if it possible I would like to see about email marketing for the next post.

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