Optimizing Translation to Improve Real Estate Results

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Optimizing Translation to Improve Real Estate Results

Many areas of the US are becoming increasingly bilingual, and virtually every North American  has Spanish mother-tongue residents. Hispanic owners, buyers and renters are an important market segment that real estate agents would be wise to take into account, giving due respect and consideration. A key element of that strategy is investing in making your carefully honed pitches and marketing content sound as good in Spanish as it does in English. We consider different approaches to achieving that result, professional translation agencies, freelancers, and the increasingly competent results of AI-driven neural machine translation engines. How can these language optimizations make your business impressively bilingual and appealing to Hispanic clientele?

It goes without saying that what follows could apply equally to other foreign language, and potentially could also apply to businesses in Spanish-speaking areas which should reach out to English speakers in a similar manner. Suffice to say that our best practices and tips below are language-agnostic. They can apply to any language or language pair in any market.

Respect Your Audience by Investing in Quality Translation

No one likes being disrespected, and language is the means by which we show respect, or the lack thereof. When it comes to real estate, the importance of proper and respectful language cannot be overstated. Ofer Tirosh, CEO of Tomedes, a professional language service provider specializing in translation and localization, emphasizes the importance of language in building trust between a real estate agent or property owner and a prospective buyer or renter: “The higher the deal value, the more important the linguistic nuances. Deals are made or lost on small details, on perceived omissions or microaggressions. If the language of your presentation, marketing or legal documentation is mistaken or substandard, this will undermine the confidence and credibility needed to make a deal.”

Mark Attarha, a real estate agent in the linguistical diverse Bay Area, notes that both San Francisco and San Jose are in the top ten for linguistic diversity in the United States, with both cities boasting more than 100 languages spoken according to census data. “Even if you learn only a few key phrases, knowing how to greet your customers in their native language will go a long way, and ultimately make your job easier.”

Related article:
Is Being Multilingual Important for a Realtor?

That casual approach may work fine for a meet-and-greet agent, but it doesn’t begin to describe the challenges of a serious property firm that wants to up its multilingual game. It must step back and think big picture, starting with signage and branding, and extending to every piece of messaging: spoken, printed, and online, in websites, documentation, external listings, and social media. A concerted effort to invest in a multi-lingual approach to translating all materials and messaging will pay off in the long run.

Benefits of Multilingual Messaging

The individual benefits of learning a second (or third or fourth…) language are many.

·        Build Your Brain: Studies show that multilingual people active and expanding their brainpower, and open new neural synapses.

·        Build Your Network. Being multilingual enables you to expand your networking beyond your same-language circles, creating new opportunities.

·        Build Your Empire. It’s no surprise that the super-successful are so often found learning and mastering additional language. Consider the cases of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (Mandarin), WhatsApp’s Jan Koum (Russian) and French Football Manager Arsène Charles Ernest Wenger OBE (six fluent languages).

Related article:
The Business Benefits of Being Bilingual

Becoming Multilingual for Real Estate Agencies

How do you apply those principles to your real estate business? You have a few options as to how to proceed. If you have the budget, and want to be sure you get an English to Spanish/Spanish to English professional translation, then turn to an experienced translation agency. A professional Spanish translation is not just running your content through Google Translate. An expert specializing in marketing translation services will know the right words to make an Hispanic buyer feel comfortable and press the right emotional buttons. Professional translation services don’t just focus on the language but also cultural expectations and norms.

The chosen translation service of a real estate professional should not only create a Spanish document translation but all your marketing content, from real estate slogans, real estate taglines, and realtor slogans to presentations, brochure, prospectuses, reports, and more.

With the Hispanic home-ownership increasing at one of the fastest rates of US ethnic groups (see, this segment will be of increasing importance in the real estate market. If real estate market trends continue, Spanish-speaking home buyers will be spending more and more on purchases in the coming years. So your real estate marketing needs to keep pace with that increased demand.

The Freelance Translation Option

If your budget is more limited, or if you want to get your feet wet by translating a few key pieces of marketing or sales collateral, you can also seek freelance Spanish translators either in your local community or via the online freelance networks which supply capable linguists at more affordable rates. This option is increasingly easy and affordable, thanks to freelancer marketplaces like Upwork and Freelancer. Here you will find the profiles of thousands of English to Spanish (and Spanish to English) translators and interpreters, each with rates and ratings, reviews and profiles.

You would just post your job or project requests, and translator candidates will apply with their bids. You can consider their offers, interact with them, even negotiate with them on terms and rates. We find it’s a best practice, for every significant project, to hire not one but two translators, one to audit/proofread the work of the other and to serve as a backup in case your primary gets sick, goes AWOL, or otherwise doesn’t come through for you.

These marketplaces protect you and the freelancer. You deposit the agreed amount in escrow and only instruct the freelance site to release it when the freelancer has delivered the goods to your satisfaction. Our suggestion is to try this a few times to locate a freelancer that offers good value at a low rate, but always have a Plan B available.

Do It Yourself? The Last Resort

A final option is to use the many online applications – most free – to translate. Services like Google Translate and Microsoft Translator have indeed improved their games in recent years. They can help in doing rough translations of low priority docs.


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Nick Marr

Promoting real estate internationally
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