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Language translation: Using social media in foreign languages

The more people you can reach out to through social media networks, the better. That’s where foreign languages come in.

I just ran across an article entitled "Secrets to Social Media Success in Foreign Languages."

(The link will be included later for reasons that will soon become clear.)

Without even reading the article, I thought I would first come up with my own ideas, then compare.

Doesn't that sound fun? I think so.

Quickly, this would be my advice:

1. Don't rely on automatic translation. Language used in social media is informal and creative, and a translation platform could have problems with that.

2. Make an intelligent choice about which languages to social network in, depending on your target markets and/or audience.

3. Make sure you know something about the culture, and more specifically the culture of social media use, in the countries you want to reach out to.

4. Remember that "country" does not equal "language." For example, French is spoken, among other places, in parts of Canada, Belgium, Switzerland and, of course, all over France. But consumer behaviour and social media conventions may differ.

So how does the above compare to the advice posted recently on Social Media Today?

Ta-da! Pretty darn well. In fact, much of it is nearly identical.

One important point that I left out, however: the writer points out the importance of reaching out to non-English speakers here in the USA.

English to Spanish translation of social media messages could thus be a first step for an American company hoping to extend its social media communication base.

Betty Carlson

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Meet the Authors

Brian Gruters

In addition to writing blogs for us, Brian Gruters manages translation projects for corporate clients. He started with Language Translation in 2015.

Brian brings several years of experience as a Spanish to English translator to his work. He has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Arizona and a master’s in Environment and Resource Studies from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

As a writer, Brian is mostly interested in language, science, and environmental conservation issues. He writes for various publications, as well as his blog, briangruters.com.

Jennifer Bustance

Jennifer Bustance is a California-based freelance writer, playwright, and novelist originally from Troy, Michigan. Her plays have been performed all over the country, and her prose has appeared in various online and print publications.

Jennifer is a teaching artist with the Playwrights Project, San Diego Writers, Ink, and UCSD Extension. She is the Playwright in Residence at the Scripps Ranch Theatre and a founding member of their New Works Studio. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Chris Maroulakos

Chris Maroulakos has worked at Language Translation since 2007, and he is currently the director of operations. He has been a blogger and managing editor for the San Diego music blog Owl and Bear since 2008, and he also worked as a blogger and associate editor for NBC San Diego's SoundDiego music blog.

Chris holds certifications in SDL Trados Studio for Translators (Advanced Level), SDL Trados Studio for Project Managers, and SDL MultiTerm for Translators and Project Managers. He is Inbound Certified by HubSpot and also has certifications in Localization and Localization Project Management from California State University Chico, the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), and the Localization Institute.

He graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a BA in Communications and with minors in Italian and International Studies.