Why should college administrators consider making part of their website or campus app accessible to speakers of languages other than English, and can you offer any tips for success?
“Providing a multilingual web experience conveys that the institution cares about a diverse background of applicants as well as their enrolled student body. From a digital marketing perspective, providing a web interface in the student’s native language will likely increase enrollment by driving overall web conversions.”
—Seth Viebrock, chief executive officer, Origin Eight
Link to main story: Found in translation: Higher ed reaches out to international students
“We have OmniUpdate customers such as John Cabot University in Rome that are physically located overseas.
“Having a website accessible via several languages is a requisite when recruiting students from other countries, and because a university’s website is usually a prospective student’s first impression of the school, it is important to be error-free.
“Having a content management system with features like custom dictionaries and spelling checks is critical when content editors may not be experts in multiple languages.”
—Court Campion, director of marketing, OmniUpdate
“This all comes down to business metrics, i.e., what percentage of total recruitment numbers do international or Non-English speaking students represent for your institution and what does that represent financially? If it’s significant then it’s worth the time and effort to deliver content in multiple languages.
“Don’t rely on Google Translate; the experience is poor and the message gets degraded. Proper translation lifts the experience and, therefore, the impact for the end user. Don’t just think of the potential students; foreign language sites for parents can be very effective.”
—Piero Tintori, founder and CEO, TERMINALFOUR
“Think more broadly and analyze the impact of globalization in higher education. English directly influences international education in many ways. A number of countries among the European Union offer English language Bachelor and Master programs aiming to attract foreign students and increase the English skills of their domestic ones.
“Moreover, joint-degree programs from institutions abroad have become increasingly popular. As [author and researcher Philip] Altbach states, ‘English is the Latin of the 21st Century.’
“This dynamic forces ‘small languages’ to contemplate whether to change information provided from the websites from only native-speaking language information to bilingual.
—Sokratis Nifakos, vice president of industry marketing, Modo Labs
Theresa Sullivan Barger is a Connecticut-based writer.