Localizing your email campaigns with Google Translate

For a lot of our customers, sending to multilingual subscribers is kind of a big deal. While we've recently updated our template builder to make it easy to send localized campaigns, wouldn't it be nice if your subscribers could not only receive newsletters in your language, but the one they prefer?

In this post, we'll take a look at how you can link to translated version of your email campaign, by using a special URL that passes your webversion to Google Translate. While Google's automated translations aren't necessarily spot-on, featuring a 'translate this' link may mean the difference between a reader understanding, or trashing an important message.

Putting Google Translate to work on your newsletters

Lets say that you're sending an email announcement to a list of English and Spanish speakers. While the most desirable approach would be to provide content in both languages (as our European customers often do), that's often easier said than done.

Thankfully, Google has made it very easy to pass a URL (or in this case, a webversion link) to their service for translation. Their link format is as follows:

http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&sl=auto&tl=[language-to-translate-into]&u=[webversion]

... where [language-to-translate-into] is one of these language codes (eg. 'es' for Spanish). So, to add a link for translating an English newsletter into Spanish, you would add:

<a href="http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&sl=auto&tl=es&u=[webversion]">Leer esto en Español</a>

The result looks something like this:

Leer esto en Español

One drawback is that you have to specify which language you want your email translated into, ie. you can't leave out a language code. However, you can link to as many languages as you please:

SpanishGermanFrench

Now, you've got automated translations on your side! Of course, it will always be better to provide a translation provided by a native speaker (and allow new subscribers to select their language on signup, as well), but if you're stuck for words, this may be just the solution you need.

Do you send multilingual campaigns? What is your strategy for ensuring your subscribers hear from you in their language? Share your tips and tactics with us in the comments below.

Posted by Ros Hodgekiss

3 Comments

  • Mika Tuupola
    13th September

    Sorry but this is quite nonsense. Quality of Google translate is not acceptable unless you are sending a nigerian spam.

    Several times I have sent a suggestions how to make life easier for us who deal with multilingual newsletters. Each time I have had an answer that you would consider if it enough people show interest. So here are the problems and solutions once again. I am sure I am not the only one dealing with these problems.

    Sending multilingual newsletters is already possible with Campaign Monitor. Just set a custom field called language and make a segment using language field. Then send different content to segments. However there are few things which make things quite annoying.

    1) Special pages such as forward to a friend and preferences can only be in one language which is chosen in client admin. Because of this different languages must be setup as different clients. With current team management this causes even more problems because I cannot add one email address to multiple clients.

    Solution would be to enable language parameter in the special page tags. For example [forwardtoafriend language=et]

    2) Autoresponders cannot be sent to segment. Because of this I have to create separate lists for each language just to send birthday emails in correct language. This causes extra work and is easy to get out of sync if people change their language preferences.

    Solution would be to enable autoresponders to segments.

     

     

  • David Greiner
    13th September

    Mike, you’ll be very pleased to know we launched support for your first request just last month - here are the details.

    We completely agre adding segments support to autoresponders will give it loads more flexibility, and it’s well and truly on our roadmap. We’ll share the details here as soon as it’s good to go.

  • Mika Tuupola
    14th September

    Awesome! I somehow have missed that. When segments are enabled for auto responders multilingual support is perfect for us :)

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