Company news | 28.08.2009

The Translation People are “Tweeting”

As the Twitter craze sweeps the nation, with everyone from celebrities to large multi-national companies “tweeting” about the latest goings-on in their lives or businesses, The Translation People have decided to jump onto the band wagon too. Here Gail Owen, Account Manager, The Translation People, examines what all the fuss is about.

Twitter is a social media site, where users are able to update a personal profile page – the equivalent of a shop window – with 140 character comments about their life, their business and URL links to interesting news. Profiles can be branded or personalised with company logos or your favourite pictures and updated on an unlimited basis.

Twitter may be just another social media site, but the buzz in the media and PR world is that this site is something else, and is proving a very useful and lucrative business tool. Businesses can use Twitter to promote new lines of products, run competitions, create interest in their brand and deal with customer service issues. Marketing and Customer Service Managers have been known to search archived “tweets” for negative feedback on their products or services; this not only allows them to hear what people are saying about their products, but also lets them address any complaints quickly and directly. Experience has found that if a customer is approached on a social media site, in a careful and considered way, negative feedback can be turned into a positive and a potential threat to the business can turn into a free online advert. Sales Managers have also been using Twitter to contact important decision makers directly; with no gate-keepers Twitter allows sales people to contact and engage their target directly increasing the chance of a sale.

The Washington Post recently published an article detailing Dell’s success with Twitter. Dell is estimated to have made $3miillion in online sales from those people following them on Twitter, which is proof that this relatively new social media phenomenon may just well be worth all the fuss.

Interestingly, from the point of view of a translation agency Twitter may be much more than just a marketing tool. As Twitter gains pace and more and more people logon to Twitter worldwide, companies will begin to consider how they can communicate their message to a wider audience, one unrestricted by language. Although the majority of Twitter users appear to be English speakers, Portugal, The Netherlands, Singapore and South Africa are thought to be in the top ten countries increasingly logging onto this site. With the increase in popularity in these countries and other large non-English speaking countries, which traditionally spend a lot of money online, there comes a need for translation services.

There are a number of ways in which companies can translate their tweets economically. As most translation agencies will have a minimum charge it makes sense for businesses to collect together a number of tweets and have them translated in bulk. However, if this is not a feasible business model, it is always worth approaching an agency to discuss the possibility of setting up a monthly project, where the cumulative tweets are invoiced at the end of the month. Alternatively machine translation is an option; however the quality of translated tweets will be questionable, as machine translations are still no substitute for a human translation. When preparing tweets for translation it is vital to remember that jargon laden text, while catchy in English may simply lose its force through the translation process.

For more information please follow us on Twitter at or contact Gail Owen on 0121 635 5064 or at [email protected]

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