Specialist staff translate into real advantages
For most businesses working in international property it is vital to have some kind of reliable translation service to effectively market real estate and services around the world.
It’s not just about communicating accurately with business partners, agents and developers and investors who speak non-native languages and understanding important legal, financial and commercial documents and agreements and translating sales and marketing material, effective translators also understand the culture of the particular country/countries the business serves.
Take Belle Property Mosman, in Sydney, Australia. The agency recognises that almost half of property sales in Sydney above AUS$15million in 2014 went to overseas buyers, which are dominated by the Chinese and has employed a Mandarin agent, Bo Zhang, purely to deal with Chinese buyers. The advantage is that having grown up in China, but built his career in Australia, he can bridge the gap between the two cultures.
In the same North Shore area, the McGrath agency operates a China Desk, which deals with all Asian property buying and selling inquiries and provides translation and produces a Chinese version of its weekly magazine.
On setting up the department, Chief Executive John McGrath, says, “To effectively service the large influx of buyers from China and Asia we felt it was essential to provide a dedicated point of contact, so that we were better able to bridge language and cultural gaps.
“We want to accommodate their needs and provide them with the same level of confidence they would have buying or selling in their own country. Ultimately we aim to deliver an additional benefit to our local vendors by streamlining our contact with Asian buyers who have demonstrated their enthusiasm for Australian real estate assets.”
The China desk is headed up by Davey Hong, a fluent Mandarin speaker who is able to assist non-English speaking clients on all aspects of buying and selling,” said Mr McGrath. “He will be able to refer them to specialists for advice on regulations relating to foreign investment and has the negotiation skills developed as a real estate agent.
Juwai.com, the biggest Chinese-language property website, believes that translation is so vital that its translators have degrees and undergo a three-month internal training course to understand how to write about international property.
It’s not easy to find good translators who can capture not only the facts but the flavour of the company message, because it often requires that they have experience in real estate or luxury marketing, but the money spent on professional translation services pays handsome dividends, says Co-Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Taylor.
“Good translations are vital. It’s better to just leave your information in English, despite all the drawbacks that come with that, than to translate it badly. Just think how unimpressed you would be to visit a website that had been poorly translated into English from Chinese. It would give you a sense that something wasn’t right and the source shouldn’t be trusted.”
“In the worst case, a bad translation could actually misrepresent the property being marketed, putting you in technical violation of the rules that require you to be accurate in your marketing.”
He sums up the situation perfectly. “It comes down to this: Do you respect the buyer or not? If we do, then we need to make an effort to meet them where they are, and that often means translating materials.”
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