CMO Magazine: Lost in Translation

I was happy to be quoted in a CMO Magazine article on the challenges of taking your Web site global. It’s a must read for anyone in this field.

Here are a few good excerpts:

    “We learned that it was not just about taking the copy off our English site and translating it,” says Chief Operating Officer Joe Cohen, who oversees the company’s international operations and expansion efforts. He now understands that localizing a website is very different from translating it.

    “I’m at the point where I tell translators to forget the copy on the U.S. site,” says Cohen. “I say, Let’s talk about the meaning and the semantic message.” Since that initial overseas push, has worked to strengthen ties with local marketing partners in the 35 countries where it now has local language sites in order to more effectively reach customers in those areas.

… and …

    “In some markets, the level of quality given to the websites was similar to what you were seeing in the U.S. five years earlier,” says Pattiann McAdams, Avon’s executive director of North American e-commerce, who also works closely with localized Avon sites in other parts of the world. “In many markets, they treated the website more like a brochure than as a medium to maximize our message with graphics and animation.”

This second excerpt really hits on the key issue I’m seeing these days. Companies have long looked at their overseas revenues as gravy and, as such, have largely overlooked the Web sites managed by their overseas Web teams. But now as overseas revenues are growing to the point where they’re becoming a “main course” in and of themselves, these overseas Web sites are getting some much-needed attention — and financial investment.

This article is definitely a must read.

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