View Full Version : Support and Languages
10-07-2004, 11:49 AM
I was wondering for if a customer of your in another country is not fluent in you native language (mine is English) how you you give them support in their native language. For example I recently got an email in Spanish, luckily I have a Spanish translating friend, so I got it done. But I am concerned on other languages. Especially since I am thinking of localizing my software.
BTW, I can't speak spanish to save my life. must less the other languages of this world. And to require it be in english, would just limit the customer base
10-07-2004, 12:14 PM
My native language is spanish and I'm fluent in english; I also have a very, very, very, very vague understanding of german, french, italian, and portuguese. Add the fact that most support emails are "the download link doesn't work", so if you can pick up just a few key words, you can usually understand what people whant.
What I do in these cases is offer an apology for not being able to respond in their native language, then my guess about what did they want, and how to solve it. Finally, another apology and "If I misunderstood you, please let me know what can I do for you".
So far, I always guessed right, and nobody ever complained by my lack of understanding of their language.
10-07-2004, 12:15 PM
Not the best and most reliable solution, but perhaps the cheapest and most convenient solution is:
10-07-2004, 12:42 PM
Well, Altavista would likely give you enough correct words that you could piece together what they wanted. Responding might be an issue, but at least you could shoot them a link or solution or whatever...
10-07-2004, 10:48 PM
I've used Altavista / Babelfish whenever this situation has come up. The translation gives me enough of an idea to know what they're asking. Then I write a response in English, and run that through the Altavista translator into their language. I start the email with "English version follows below", put the Altavista translation, and then put my original English version at the bottom. If they need to reply again, I often find they reply in English from that point on.
Because of all this, I haven't localized my programs. I already get non-English enquiries without localizing, and I can only imagine how much that would increase if I did localize. It can be frustrating to deal with at times. So if I was going to localize, I would find a company that is prepared not just to translate, but also to handle support in that language, and also handle marketing in those countries too. The only companies I can think of like this are Bridge 1 (http://www.bridge1.com/english.html) in Japan and SiliconAction (http://www.siliconaction.com/) in Brazil. I'm sure there's plenty of others.
10-07-2004, 11:34 PM
Anyone worked with Bridge 1? Sounds like a good idea.
10-08-2004, 01:20 PM
I've gotten non-English speakers through support problems using Babel Fish, but usually what happens is the person figures the problem out on their own while I am sending horrible computer-generated translations at them.
Another useful thing is to have a good message board with lots of players from different countries on it. (Easier said than done, of course.) I've had requests for help in Dutch, French, and Italian that were answered by other players who were fluent in those languages. Through no pushing of my own, nearly all requests are handled on the message board--I believe it is more satisfying to know that several people will look at your problem instead of just one. The message board for my game has been hacked into some kind of knowledge base type thing, with a peer rating system, online generation of in-game screenshots, and a system for looking up answers to common questions before you make a request. I love my message board and will spend way too much time talking about it if given the smallest opportunity. :)
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