The BBC have reported that The New York Times is now offering a Chinese language version of its website in a bid to expand into the world’s largest internet market.

Growing market

China has more than 500 million internet users and growing. With a market of this size and an extensive potential customer base the opportunity is clearly huge.

China’s largest internet search engine, Baidu, reported a jump in advertising revenue of more than 80% in 2011. Proving that money is to be made. The New York Times clearly want a piece of China and have secured large brands to sign up and advertise with them such as Cartier and Salvatore Ferragamo.

China’s strict censorship

Joseph Kahn, the New York Times Foreign Editor was quoted saying:

“We’re not tailoring it to the demands of the Chinese government, so we’re not operating like a Chinese media company”

However the NYT will not be without their obstacles. China’s strict censorship of online content has already proved to be an ongoing problem.

The NYT have translated accounts with four of China’s social networking, twitter-like sites, three of which were blocked and suspended within an hour of launching.

So although, as quoted above, The New York Times “are not tailoring it to the demands of the Chinese government” they have to take in to consideration the government’s cultural rules and regulations if they want to successfully tap into the market and enjoy the monetary benefits of the foreign expansion.

The importance of expanding in developing, foreign economies

How many languages does your business support? Just English? By only offering your products and services in one sole language you are limiting your customer base and customer reach.

Take China for instance, the largest internet market in the world with 500 million and fast growing internet users. If you followed in the footsteps of the giant NYT and translated for expanding foreign markets like China, your potential customer base and reach would multiply by a huge amount.

Professional translation

When expanding into new foreign markets make sure you communicate effectively. As in China, there may be censorship, rules, laws, religions and other factors you have to take into consideration in order to be successful and be socially accepted in certain countries.

Using in country translators (nationals who know the culture, not just the language) is essential so your efforts aren’t just fluent linguistically, but socially and culturally too.

Machine translating your company’s website is a NO GO, machine’s have no concept of context or meaning therefore it is unprofessional and is infamously known for its errors whilst the basic message may be apparent the text will be filled with grammatical and contextual errors suffice to say it will not make sense and remember you only get one chance to make a first impression.

If your business or organisation does not present itself professionally and doesn’t make sense, it will be ruled out by potential customers and your hard-won reputation will be tainted. There’s only one way to translate in business and that’s professionally with experts who are credible, experienced and have your businesses interests at heart.

Image courtesy of  Wikipedia.