With over 4.5 billion people using social media around the world, companies, celebrities and influencers have discovered the rising importance of translating their social media accounts into other languages. Like anything involving multiple languages, however, there are some major pitfalls to avoid. Below are four of the biggest mistakes one can make when trying to reach foreign audiences via social media.
4 Mistakes to Avoid When Translating Social Media Accounts
1. Not creating a separate account for each language.
You have probably seen this misstep, even by major brands and companies. The first post appears in English, then the next paragraph is the same information in Spanish, then below that you have it in French, then Chinese, etc. This may seem like a simple way to reach a greater audience, but in all likelihood, you’re losing followers because no one wants to scroll through a cumbersome laundry list of languages in every post. Unless you are targeting a specific multilingual audience, it’s best to stick to one language per account.
2. Machine translating the content
This is generally something best avoided on any translation project longer than a couple of words, but it is especially important for social media in order to avoid damaging a company or celebrity’s brand. Chinese audiences may read a nonsensical machine-translated post and wonder, “Is this Ed Sheeran’s garbage attempt at speaking Chinese? Or do he and his team not care enough to find professional translators who won’t post pseudo-Chinese babble?”
3. Translating everything and posting it to every account
There is a level of content curation required, and this is where language-specific social media managers earn their money. Do Ariana Grande fans in Peru need to know that Ariana will be performing tomorrow night in Kenosha, Wisconsin? Probably not. Do fans in Wisconsin need to know that Ariana’s live concert is now available for streaming on Latin American Netflix? Doubtful. Specific content may need to be created, but taking a one-size-fits-all approach is not the way to go.
4. Not even being on the right platform
For better or for worse, Facebook is pretty ubiquitous across the globe, and most big companies have multiple pages in multiple languages on it. But there are other major (MAJOR) markets out there where Facebook is not the king. Are you trying to reach a Russian audience but aren’t on V Kontakte? Trying to reach a Chinese audience with no WeChat presence? Big mistake.
Social Media Translations Services
Social media translation requires extra care and attention to detail, which is why you should turn to a reliable translation services provider like APlus Translations for your social media translation needs.