Choosing the right translation option: what do real estate websites say?

One translator, two translators? I prefer to think that translations from different sources are not interchangeable. Image source: Jorge Gonzales, via Unsplash

One translator, two translators? I prefer to think that translations from different sources are not interchangeable.

Image source: Jorge Gonzales, via Unsplash

I have recently read this wonderful 2-part article on hiring a translator via Fiverr (Part 1 and Part 2) by Hannah Keet and Natalie Soper. The inspiration for the articles was a suggestion by a potential client's colleague to do just that: use Fiverr to buy translation services.

This was another reminder of how confusing translation might seem from the "outside".

That got me wondering: what do real estate media outlets have to say about translation best practices?


What stands out most is the lack of any best practices or guidelines for translation of real estate marketing or informational materials. Translation quality is not discussed as a separate issue, and no distinction is made between online tools, using freelance portals, or finding a a translation agency or a translator to work with directly.


Inman: a plethora of options

Option 1: this Howard Hanna press release praises breaking down communication barriers with the power of translation tools.

Option 2: in this article on 3 savvy ways to attract (and keep) Chinese clients, Rick Phillips strongly recommends using a professional translator with experience in the field, without going into details of why.

Finally, this article on marketing to Hispanic households mentions freelance websites, such as Fiverr or Elance.

Randall Standard makes a good point: "if you can’t help a customer in their native tongue, you’ll either lose them to someone else at your brokerage who can — or worse, to another company".

Placester: aware of benefits of translation, automated and otherwise

This article on website optimization tools mentions translation in passing, as an additional benefit of using Ginger Software (the primary benefit is improvement of English sentences). This tool promises easy, natural communication, and will help you avoid making embarrassing translation mistakes. In short, it is everything that you could possibly want - and for free!

I cannot verify whether or not this tool is as amazing as it sounds. The copywriters lost me when they promised that writing will become fun and enjoyable. In my world, writing is hard work.

Still, the Placester points out valid benefits of having listings translated, just like this article on translation of New Zealand real estate listings.

Moreover, in a different article published on this website Colin Ryan offers some great advice on finding a cost-efficient way to boost target-language SEO and making sure that the website visitors feel welcome (and yes, it does involve working with a translator).

Making a decision: which option to choose?

As a matter of fact, there was an article on that topic, published on the RISMedia website. Stephanie Tramdack Cash, a fellow ATA member, has the same piece of advice I was planning to offer: to make an informed decision, visit the website of the American Translators Association.


Ekaterina Howard, Pinwheel Translations

English to Russian and German to Russian translator working with business, marketing and real estate materials. An ATA member and the current Administrator of the ATA Slavic Languages Division, she works with companies that want to attract Russian-speaking buyers with flowing and attention-grabbing copy.