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What's Your Multilingual Online Strategy?

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, March 21, 2012

Pure Content Translation is Only the Beginning
With so many inexpensive translation options out there, there's no excuse for your site to be English-only. By copying and pasting a little code, you can embed the basic Google Translate tool onto either your entire site or individual pages. Google spells out the whole process for you with its nifty translation wizard.

Of course, multilingual communication doesn't stop at pure content translation. There are idioms, figures of speech, and cultural differences to consider. 

HHC takes it a step further by crafting multilingual advertising campaigns to reach, educate, and raise awareness among a diverse group of New York City residents. The organization's patient education, marketing, and advertising materials are regularly translated into three to 11 languages that are most commonly spoken by its patients.

HHC's advertising budget is minimal, but it does a significant amount of pro bono promotions around preventative health messages such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It also did a high-profile campaign promoting its World Trade Center Environmental Health Center, which provides medical and mental health services to the community affected by 9/11.

But for promotions like these, Marengo and her team don't merely transliterate existing English copy.

"We start by crafting the concepts in English and those files are sent to a certified translation agency," she says. "The translated documents are then sent to another certified translation agency where the translations are vetted and proofread for accuracy.  Many of our marketing materials in other languages are also reviewed by our own staff who are fluent in that language."

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