I think a lot people are getting a tad tired of hearing about Machine Translation (MT) and how it can do X, Y and Z. At every conference, in every blog and infographic we see statistics about MT, case studies about MT and stories about new MT tools and technologies.
But the truth of the matter is; Machine translation is here to stay, and we need to get used to it. Companies are enjoying among other things; better productivity, increased language coverage and reduced costs. They wouldn’t be using it otherwise. It’s funny, because not many companies promote their use of Machine Translation, but believe me they are using it!
If you’re a Language Service Provider (LSP) (that is interested in using MT in the future) you really need to start promoting your Machine Translation service offering and your company’s knowledge of MT now. Although you might not be using it yet, you want potential clients to know that you offer this service and “have been” offering this service for a while, so it doesn’t look like the project would be an “experiment”.
It’s also important to have an idea about which Machine Translation provider you’d like to use if you did get a Machine Translation + Post editing request from a new or existing client – as this will dramatically speed up the project’s timeline. The best way to start this process is to nominate someone in your company to gather information about possibly five different Machine Translation providers and then to discuss in a group which ones are most likely to fit in with your business model and translation workflow.
After you do this, you should set up demos with a narrowed down group of MT providers – not forgetting to bring a notepad! These demo session are as much to gather information about the platform as they are to gather information for sales and marketing collateral. Bringing a marketing person to take their own notes could be a good idea!
Advertising MT + Post Editing Services – where to start?
It’s important to have an idea of what an MT project would involve so you can explain this process to your potential client when they come knocking on your door. Make sure you do your research so that you can confidently explain all the stages of the project, and make sure you’ve got some sort of pricing structure worked out in advance. KantanMT has a Machine Translation fuzzy match tool that gives you a quality score per segment expressed as a percentage. These types of tools make it easier to develop a pricing strategy for MT.
Some ways to promote your Machine Translation service:
Website – Most Language Service Providers (LSPs) dedicate a page or menu to list their language services. Why not begin to develop a page for Machine Translation? It could be a simple page at first where you invite prospective clients to contact you, or a more detailed page that lists the benefits of MT, like Merrill Brink or one that lists the possible use cases, like Milengo has done.
You can always continue to add more content to your page as you further develop your MT service offering. Don’t be afraid your clients will be put off by the fact you are using MT – human translation services and MT are two completely different services – they understand this!
SEO – OK, so you’ve got a lovely website that is focussed on selling ‘Best Quality Human Translation’ and you have optimised your website as such. Now you should start thinking about optimising some of your content for keywords like: Machine Translation, Post-Editing, Light Post-Editing, Full Post-Editing.
Also, if you want to make a little worthwhile investment consider running some Google search or display ads to boost your traffic and increase your Google search rank for these terms. You should have already established a good rank for your other service offerings, so don’t worry – this won’t effect that.
Blog: Are you good with words? Blogs are a great way to offer added value to your customers and to share knowledge across the web. They are also a really good tool you can use to boost your site’s SEO. Writing blogs with an MT theme and adding links to your website within the post will increase your site’s ranking for Machine Translation.
Make sure the link is in the sentence, like the following piece of text:
“The rising demand for Machine Translation has resulted in a stronger focus of Post-Editing education in translation courses…”
The words you are linking are Machine and Translation. You should link this to a page about MT on your website.
Conferences – Talk, talk, talk. Let people know you are developing an MT strategy. Rather than say you are ‘considering’ it, let them know you are taking it seriously – that way, they’ll take you seriously when they are looking for a vendor. It might be too early for you to present a talk about MT but think about what you could present. Presentations lead to conversations – if you touch upon the topic of MT in your presentation you might find yourself steering discussions this way afterwards.
Also, bring some marketing collateral that lists MT as a service provided by your company – the more people who associate MT with your company the better. You never know when they might call you up about an MT project!
Articles: Have you thought about writing a guest article to build awareness of your business? Many online publications welcome submissions from guest authors. You might have to do a bit of work before you establish credibility but a well written opinion piece by a high level exec will look really good for your company. Fast Company has published a great article on how to ‘get published’ – it’s definitely worth a read, or two.
OK, so there you go, some little tips on how to start promoting your MT service offering. Of course there are thousands of ways that you could do this – I listed the ones above because they are pretty pain-free (low-cost and low hassle) and generally quite effective.
If you’d like any more information about introducing MT into your company or introducing the idea to a current or prospective client, please get in touch with: Niamh Lacy (firstname.lastname@example.org)