“Why do not we just use this wonderful free online translation tool into any language in our real estate marketing?” as real estate sellers and their realtors ask the author almost every week.
But anyway, let’s look closely at an imaginary case that you have translated your listings into a foreign language free of charge online. As you do not know the foreign language, you have no idea what your foreign readers will actually get, right?
Here is a real life example of a condo listing for sale in Moscow translated with a free online translation tool from Russian into English:
“2-x k.kv. M. Leninsky Prospekt Vernadskogo Pr d.98 k1 2 / 28 K / M 142/70, 3 / 18 rooms 18 +18 +35 dining author’s apartment with furniture repair 2 san.uzla ter.shikarny fenced gate, security, videonablyudenie.vozmozhna sale of the mortgage.”
The listing price for the condo is approximately $2,500,000 in the ruble equivalent.
You are probably thinking, “Hmmm… What is this? What the “furniture repair” has to do with you if you have two and a half million of dollars to spend?” Will you be interested in this condo as a foreign buyer? Right, you would better leave this stupid website for good…
Now, you have to know that the original listing in Russian makes perfect sense to a human translator who knows both languages and cultures. We have to admit though that the original listing uses some abbreviations, grammar irregularities and Russian real estate slang; that is why it is very hard on any free translation tools.
Apart from the abbreviations and slang, to translate the real estate listings correctly, one has to know many things like the following in this case: the Russians measure in square meters instead of square feet, they define the number of rooms and the area of a home or condo differently, etc.
And here we are with the correct human translation of the above Moscow condo listing for sale in comparison with the free online translation:
“2 beds, 2 baths, near the underground station “Prospect Vernadskogo”, in Leninskiy Prospect St. (the exact address follows), approx. 1,500 sq. ft., huge living room combined with dining room, 3rd floor of the 18-floor building, furnished, interior design of a well-known designer, gated community, beautiful hallway, security, video surveillance cameras, buying on a mortgage possible.”
See the difference now? No “furniture repair” anymore, but a designer’s interior perfection instead. There are still some rather strange things for you as a Western – what do they mean by that one can buy a condo with a mortgage? How is it possible to be any other way? Well, these are some Russian real estate market peculiarities that a foreign buyer has to learn not to get into any trouble over there.
The same advice is always important in relation to any other foreign markets. It is one more other chapter of the story, called “Cultural Differences”.
Let’s go back to the translation business now. Would you ever like your foreign prospects, buyers or partners to read about you and your services in their own language something like the machine translation you read in English in the above real life example?
So, you may use free online translation tools for getting a rough idea of an email or website and the like, but please do not compromise your business with free translations in real estate marketing to foreign buyers.
In the next post we will see the difference between how free online translation tools work vs. a human mind of a translator.
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