Adam T. Sutton

Write Your Ecommerce Copy in Right Language

September 11th, 2008

The Internet has opened up the entire world to retail marketers. Anyone who can reach a computer to go online can buy your product.

Global ecommerce marketing has a lot of challenges, though, like translation. Unless you have a team of translators on staff, you’re going to need some help localizing your marketing copy.

Here is some advice from Larry Arnold, Manager, Consumer Technology Publications, Garmin, that could help you organize a diverse translation process.

Larry is responsible for creating and translating the instructions and warnings for Garmin’s products — most of which are GPS-oriented consumer devices. About five years ago, he only had to worry about 20 products and one other language: French, for the French-Canadian market. Now he has 75 products to market in about 48 languages worldwide.

Larry has been using a translation agency to lighten his load. His top tips:

o Tell the agency about upcoming projects

It’s likely that the agency will be able to take on all the work you can give them. Your backlog should be eliminated, so start anticipating projects and alerting the agency ahead of time.

o Don’t be afraid of reuse

Larry had to get used to not having to write every product document from scratch. “One of the mental shifts that I had to go through was that reuse is not the same as copying — it’s not a bad thing. It’s actually the thing we have to do. The efficiencies brought about by reuse is the way to stay ahead or keep up with the market.”

o Use templates

Some documents, like marketing disclaimers, are not going to be relevant across countries, though. Countries have different laws governing customer safety, return policies, email, etc. But have a big, inclusive template document that can quickly be edited down to suit your writers’ needs. That template will save them from having to write a document by scratch.

Adam T. Sutton

About Adam T. Sutton

Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa
Adam generates content for MarketingSherpa's Email and Inbound Marketing newsletters. His years of experience in interviewing marketers and conveying their insights has spanned topics such as search marketing, social media marketing, ecommerce, email and more. Adam previously powered the content behind MarketingSherpa's Search and Consumer-marketing newsletters and carries that experience into his new role. Today, in addition to writing articles, he contributes content to the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa blogs, as well as MECLABS webinars, workshops and summits.

Prior to joining MarketingSherpa, Adam was the Managing Editor at the Mequoda group. There he created content and promotions for the company's daily email newsletter and managed its schedule.

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