Many companies are still contemplating whether to create a company Facebook or Twitter, but those that have already made the decision to do so are moving on by translating their social media content into other languages. These companies are using social media translations to better connect with their customers. Offering content in their local language helps them identify better with the company’s brand. Many top brands already do this. Burt's Bees, one of our clients, has a dedicated Facebook page for their French-speaking clientele: www.facebook.com/burtsbeesfrance
According to Eric Mora, PLG's Business Development Director, companies that have an international base should definitely look into translating their social media content. "Oftentimes translations are required to complete a contract or requirement, but many times multilingual materials are presented because they allow the marketer to double or triple their exposure. By adding more languages to your marketing mix, you are able to capture foreign audiences. Social Media translations are no different. Some of the most innovative companies have even launched foreign language social media sites, such as Pepsi Mexico on Twitter (exclusively in Spanish) and HP France on Twitter (exclusively in French). If your business has an international capacity, you should definitely be utilizing multilingual materials to fuel your communication efforts," says Eric.
According to Semiocast, a Paris-based social media research company, most Twitter users do not speak English as their native language. While the largest amount of twitter users is found in the United States, only 28.1% of those are U.S. based. While significant, the percentages from other countries continue to grow. Brazil has recently surpassed Japan as having the most Twitter users, placing in second after the United States. Yet according to Simiocast, the Japanese post more tweets than the Brazilians, thus making Japanese the most active language after English. Other top twitter languages include Indonesian, Spanish, French and Dutch. Arabic is the fastest growing language on Twitter.
On Facebook, the trends are a bit different. Twitter users tend to be younger and more technologically savvy while Facebook users include a wider type of people and age group. According to Inside Network, the top Facebook languages are English and Spanish, which hold a combined total of over 65%. The remaining percentages include French, Turkish, Indonesian, Italian, German, Chinese, Portuguese and Arabic.
Some challenges do exist when translating social media, however. Some languages, such as Spanish and Hungarian use more characters than English. Chinese has an advantage: a 78 character tweet in English is 24 characters long in Chinese.
Social media includes blogs, online newsletters, social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook and video content for sites such as YouTube. For more information about PLG's multimedia translation services, which include audio and video, please visit our multimedia localization page.