Let me clearly get out of the way, immediately, that I speak all of one language – though I can order beer in at least three.
Compared to people from many countries, I’m an utter moron when it comes to languages. But I am bright enough to concede I cannot speak or write Mandarin, and that if I was marketing to a Mandarin audience, I’d hire someone competent to do the translations. I’d want assurance what I was pitching to a Mandarin audience was polished and professional, and culturally relevant or neutral.
Which brings me to a little collection I started just days ago of emails from (mostly) screen manufacturers in China, pitching me on product and often cutting through all the features and benefits nonsense to go straight to asking how many I want.
Here are four excerpts, from the dozens that I get in a month:
We’re from China specialize in digital signage & LCD video wall manufacturing and complete solutions to maximize your benefits.
In addition, we’d like to provide DDP service, including customes clearance, deliver to door, Customs duty paid ,you just need sign for cargo at the door.
Give me back,let’s talk the details.
Dear my friend,
How are you? Many thanks for your supports in the last few years and I wish to have your continuously supports for the CHICKEN year. It is a new start for us after Chinese Traditional Spring Festival.
Here introduce the POPULAR&COMPETITIVE for SMD led display screen models — indoor P2.5 P3 P4 &Outdoor P3.91 P4 P4.81 P5 for you ,And kindly refer features as following:
Hoping everything is well with you?
This is ARVIN,from HOOZOE OPTO,a manufacturer of LED module.We will attend “ISA Internationa Signs Expro 2017” in Las Vegas next month.
Below is our company’s information,hope to see you in Las Vegas.
Hi Sir ,
Thanks for you interesting in our digital signage and touch screen table all in one pc .
The below is our hot sale 84inch touch screen Snake size all in one pc
So, first … snake size???
Second, I’m not deliberately picking on Chinese manufacturers, but I get email pitches from multiple countries with multiple first languages, and it’s really only Chinese vendors who send marketing pitches in which the English is mangled or just plain weird. I’ll note some Chinese companies (and seemingly most Taiwanese companies) send out polished PR and marketing material – their only flaw being the stuff is often more technical than it needs to be.
My point here: English-challenged vendors would do themselves big favors by spending the tiny amount of money necessary to at least clean up the language so that it looks halfway polished. It took me 10 seconds to find a stack of people who do Mandarin to English translation for $5 on Fiverr.
Here’s one offer:
– First 250 English words – $5 (basic Gig).
– Every following 250 English words- add $5 (extra Gig)
– For gig exceeding 2000 words, please contact me first before placing the order.
All translations will be done manually and professionally. I do not use Google Translator or any other translation services.
So maybe $10, and you’re done.
The problem with these sorts of email pitches, with tortured attempts at English and cultural references that are head-scratchers for the target audience, is that they look unprofessional and provide a big hint at what life would be like if the recipient ordered product and then sought customer support – when there is such a clear language gap.
Some people buy just on price. Absolutely. But many more won’t even consider a company’s products, no matter how great they may be, when their first contact shows communications would be a big and ongoing problem. There’s nothing that says a business must converse in a specific language, but if a company wants to sell into a market, it needs the ability to converse effectively in the dominant language of that market.
By contrast, here’s one that came overnight from a Shenzhen company that gets it.
USER SDT is a Digital advertising display manufacturer, we are looking for some business partners in many countries and we found your organization as a possible match. We are looking for service centers, resellers or distributors. We have been in this business for the past 13 years, our knowledge and communication skills are very good. This probably makes us one of the easiest Asian manufacturer in digital displays to work with. By us understanding your needs and requirements, it makes you save time and possibly many hours of frustrations that you might encounter with some current overseas factories. We have professional product brochures, cutting edge technologies and great prices due to our current sales volumes.
And so on … solid, to the point, you’d feel comfy about communicating with them.
If I was running one of these companies, I’d want someone letting me know the North American marketing efforts were probably doing the opposite of lead-generation.
As the saying goes: “You’ve got one chance to make a good first impression.”