Using e-mail To Take Care Of Customers Who Doesn't Speak English

June 3rd, 2009

Google just announced a new feature in its Gmail system: automatic machine translation of e-mails in your inbox. The feature is based on its long developed translation engine. For us marketers - this could help dealing with one of our acute pains: communication with customers who do not speak /understand English. How it works? (1) You ask the customer to write you an e-mail explaining his/her request in his/her native language. (2) You click "Translate this e-mail" and you're done. There are several disadvantages with this method: 1. Machine translation still works poorly. The translated results provided can show us only the general meaning of the text. If the original text was even a bit complicated - the results will not be understandable. 2. You can't do it vice versa: If you'll answer the customer with a text translated by a robot - he'll notice and may find it offensive and unprofessional. In addition, your answer might be misunderstood. The other alternative is to use "traditional" translator for this purpose. It's still costly and you don't get the results on-the-fly in your inbox - but you'll be able to communicate effectively with your customer.

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