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Golden Opportunity: Translate Your Listings

April 25 2012

world connectWith a struggling real estate market, every REALTOR® is looking for new business opportunities, ways to keep your business booming in tough times. International buyers are a golden opportunity. The key is knowing how to reach them. You may want to consider foreign language translations of your listings.

Extending an "Olive Branch"

We'll get to the SEO benefits of listing translation later. There's a less quantifiable, but perhaps even more important, benefit: the "good will" you demonstrate by making an effort to speak an international buyer's language. By translating your listings, you're demonstrating respect.

International buyers are a growth industry. More and more homebuyers are going to speak a foreign language. In addition, the spending power in those groups is growing exponentially; they're upwardly mobile. International buyers and non-English speakers are often bilingual, but research proves that they want to do business with people who respect their language and their culture.

Janet Choynowski of Immobel is an expert on international marketing for real estate. She explains that, in addition, you're demonstrating your worth to another group – your sellers. "Real estate agents these days have two masters: sellers and potential buyers. You can satisfy your sellers by demonstrating that you have a legitimate international marketing campaign that can get those juicy international buyers. It's simply good business."

"But what if I don't speak another language? Should I still translate my listings?" Absolutely. In most cases, if they're U.S. residents they will be bilingual and, if they're international, they'll have made arrangements (i.e. a translator).

SEO Benefits

It's easy to take a myopic view and delude ourselves that the rest of the world is thinking, speaking, and writing in English – like we are. This is completely unrealistic. In fact, recent studies show that only about a quarter of those using the Internet are searching in English.

You're not reaching the whole world if you're just using English on your website. Why? Because search engines do not return sites that do not show results in a foreign language. So, if your listings aren't in Spanish (for example), they won't be seen in Spanish-speaking countries or when someone searches in Spanish. Ms. Choynowski explains, "Websites with properly translated listings will be returned when someone searches from an international location or in a foreign language. But search engines disregard machine translation like Google Translate. In fact, it counts against you."

About Language Translation

There are a variety of companies that offer solutions for foreign language translations. You can learn more about your options in ourproduct directory. You can also read more articles on this topic:

What About You?

Do you translate you listings? How many of your buyers speak English as a second language? How many come from outside the United States?