Transfluent Helps Enterprises Become Polyglot

Susan Fourtané, Journalist, Writer | 6/27/2012 | 43 comments

Susan Fourtané
Imagine you could write corporate or marketing content in as many as 60 languages. Imagine you could reach clients who don’t speak your language. Imagine you could offer customer service support in shoppers' own tongues and make an impression with it. Imagine no more.

Transfluent -- a Finnish startup based in Helsinki and founded by entrepreneur Jani Penttinen -- offers near real-time translation services and has now launched "Transfluent for Facebook," which joins the company's existing services for Twitter and WordPress. The new service aims to help global CMOs and their brands become better social businesses by translating, almost instantly, their Facebook content into 60 different languages.

I imagine this service is like having an army of 15,000 tiny little translators hidden under your desk, reaching more fans than you can imagine. This massive translating work is effortless for the company.

It has also been proven that Transfluent can increase your social media ROI and also your followers and even possible voters at the time of elections. Let’s just have a quick look at Obama’s convenient Twitter account in Spanish: @Obama_es.

Yes, that’s right, President Barack Obama has recently started to tweet in Spanish. Have you noticed? This is certainly not the result of a crash course in Spanish but his wish to reach out the rapidly-growing, Spanish-speaking population of voting age in the United States. With the help of Transfluent, Obama’s Spanish Twitter account gained approximately a thousand followers per day. Not bad, right? Can you imagine the impact of adding a thousand potential clients a day to your company’s account? If Transfluent works for the President of the United States’ political campaign, it has to work for your marketing campaign just the same.

The "Transfluent for Facebook" service enables users to access your content in their own languages. As an example, if you switch the Facebook language to Japanese, you can see Michael Monroe's Facebook content in Japanese. Monroe is a well-known Finnish rock star who uses Transfluent for Facebook. His Japanese fans love having the content in their own language and express this in their comments.

Despite Saturday being a public holiday in Finland, and the whole nation going to the countryside for Midsummer celebrations (just imagine a beautiful midnight sun and 24 hours of non-stop light), I was writing this article for your delight, and company CEO Jani Penttinen was kind enough to tell me about how Transfluent can help CMOs:

There are two main things. First, Transfluent helps improve efficiency by completely eliminating the manual process usually involved with translating text, be it social media communication, product descriptions for Internet-based shops, or customer support. For example, using Transfluent, it would be possible to handle all of the customer support in Facebook or Twitter and serve customers in a number of languages using your English-speaking customer support team. This is a major advantage compared to hiring a team of speakers of a dozen or more languages. In addition to efficiency, we enable things that would otherwise be very difficult or impossible to do. When planning on internationalization strategy, it makes a big difference that you can now easily create marketing and handle customer support in any language.

If you're a CIO looking to help the CMO reach as many clients and potential clients as possible, Transfluent can help you improve your social media marketing by getting rid of any language barrier and making the most of your social business capabilities. Done by crowdsourced human translators, the translations can help grow and expand your brand. Your company becomes a company without borders.

This video shows how easy social media marketing teams can pretend to be polyglot:

With the help of Transfluent, I believe there is no excuse for any enterprise not to engage in a globalized world in which cross-cultural communications have been made so easy.

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
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Transfluent   Transfluent Helps Enterprises Become Polyglot   7/2/2012 1:50:11 AM
Re: transfluent challenges
David, don't get me wrong, I love to lively discussion around the subject. You are are right of course, ultimately the best way to do this would be to hire speakers of all the languages you want to address as members of the team, get them to really know the product and the company, and have them act as copywriters and writing the message out in their own languages. The overhead of this is quite large, as you would need to have them post messages in timely manner and also monitor for comments. This probably results in the best possible quality, however the risk still remains that one of the team members "gets it" wrong and writes posts that are not exactly what you had in mind.

Doing this is not really possible for most companies, so using Transfluent is a good alternative to engage with the global audience. And even if you had the resources to hire speakers of multiple languages to handle the translations in-house, it would be quite tedious to handle all the Facebook language filtering (ie. manage a single page with multiple languages in such way that each visitor only sees content in their own language) manually.

So at the end of the day I would still encourage you to use Transfluent's platform and just hook your own translators into it. Yes - we also allow you to do that, too. The real magic of Transfluent is the fully automated process which makes sure all language versions get done in a timely manner and posted using the right filters.
David Wagner   Transfluent Helps Enterprises Become Polyglot   6/30/2012 3:36:52 PM
Re: transfluent challenges
@fbpmt- I think i started it. :) Either way, I think one thing that happens in meetings and can happen on boards like this, too, is that you can like an idea and just want to cover the bases of the few weakness you see. Then suddenly it seems like everyone hated the idea when they really loved it but just wanted to get their ducks in a row.
Zaius   Transfluent Helps Enterprises Become Polyglot   6/30/2012 3:36:36 PM
Re: transfluent challenges
Are we really saying that misinterpretation only happens in translation? NAW. Nobody here would say that! The reason we usae pictures, illustrations, charts. multimedia is just that. Even two native speakeras of the same language can misunderstand each other. Just regional differences account for totally different meanings, so we attempt to give as much context to our words as possible. I see this as just another way to do that,
fbpmt   Transfluent Helps Enterprises Become Polyglot   6/30/2012 7:39:17 AM
Re: transfluent challenges
No, David, I was not referring to you as picky une but rather me!!
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nimanthad   Transfluent Helps Enterprises Become Polyglot   6/30/2012 12:05:57 AM
Re: transfluent challenges
David I agree with you on this because cetain idioms which ae used in many social and other media networks are kind of confusing. Its like they have created a new language.
David Wagner   Transfluent Helps Enterprises Become Polyglot   6/29/2012 5:08:00 PM
Re: transfluent challenges
Sorry if it does seem like we're pcking nits. All I was really trying to do is figure out the details form the perspective of a company. Some of the hardest stuff to translate in the world is social edia stuff because it relaies so much on idioms and social specific contexts.

thanks so much for coming here and describing it for us.
fbpmt   Transfluent Helps Enterprises Become Polyglot   6/29/2012 9:56:06 AM
Re: transfluent challenges
Transfluent - You are quite right! We are being pickyuny! I personally want to know more as this can take an SMB and turn it into a globalized company. Multi-lingual marketing or promotions would spread the word all over the world.

This is a great endeavor and we all wish you much luck!!
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Transfluent   Transfluent Helps Enterprises Become Polyglot   6/29/2012 3:10:49 AM
Re: Transfluent Esperanto
David, while this might indeed happen in a public setting like that, Transfluent deals with business customers who pay for the translations and it is in their best interest that the transations are good. It would be difficult to imagine a company intentionally posting so confusing public messages just so that their communication in other languages would get mistranslated.

However, I believe what you say. I have noticed I need to be quite careful when talking about quality issues with translators because many of them have experienced some level of abuse from clients, and they tend to get defensive because of that. Transfluent is a good home for translators though, as they are pretty safe with us.
David Wagner   Transfluent Helps Enterprises Become Polyglot   6/29/2012 2:36:54 AM
Re: Transfluent Esperanto
@Susan- my instructor defintely wasn't pulling my leg. He looked like a beaten man telling me the story. That said, i'm not saying it is common behavior. I just think it is a fun story to illustrate the plight of the translator.
Transfluent   Transfluent Helps Enterprises Become Polyglot   6/29/2012 2:31:08 AM
Re: transfluent challenges
I would argue that "damages from misinterpretation" can happen even if there are no errors in the translation. As stated before, if the brand is such that this is a major issue, we have layers of protection available, but such damage can occur from a careless post in source language as well. In social media you have to be a little edgy, otherwise you are not interesting and nobody will listed to you, so there is no bullet-proof way to be 100% safe.

We cannot promise that there are never any errors. As long as humans are doing the work, mistakes will happen. The better our translators are, the fewer mistakes they make, but I think it is important that our clients understand that a translator can misinterprete their message. However, if a translator (and especially if a pair of translators) misunderstands your message, how likely will the general public understand what you are trying to say?

The real question is, are you so afraid of potential incorrectly translated sentence, that you rather do not speak to non-English speakers at all? My experience is that people really respect the effort to communicate in their language and in general non-English speakers are a lot more error tolerant than you think. It is a gesture of respect to your audience to communicate in their language, when today that only other alternative (for nearly all companies) is that they simply say nothing.
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