Feb 7, 2009

Automatically Translate Your Emails To Over 30 Languages

Original email in English. Click a translation link on the right.

Original email in English. Click a translation link on the right.

We’ve got a lot of international users on MailChimp. So we’ve considered translating our entire app into multiple languages. It’d be a huge undertaking. But the truth is, most of our users speak a little English. So for now, we’ve kept our translation efforts focused on the signup process.

Any-hoo, If you’re sorta thinking about "going international" too, there’s an easy way to do that with MailChimp.

It’s taken me an embarrassingly long time to get this done, but I’ve finally created an RSS-to-Email version of the MailChimp Blog (you can subscribe to the right, if you’re so inclined). I created a special template for the blog emails, and in that template, I’m using our new TRANSLATE:LANG merge tag to provide automatic translations of my email.

Here’s what the same email looks like in different languages…






Honestly, I have no idea, but it looks cool:


The TRANSLATE tag is very, very tall. It generates links to 34 languages. So you should only do this if you’re using a side-column template of some sort.

Now that this is all set up, my blog readers across the planet can get a rough translation of my content. And I don’t have to do anything. I just blog like I normally do, and MailChimp does everything else automatically.

And with the RSS-to-email tool, you could add translation links to anything that generates an RSS feed. Not just your blog.

Some shopping carts, like Magento, output RSS feeds for inventory. Eventbrite generates RSS feeds of all your events.

It’s not just for business, either. Churches and non-profits who want to spread their outreach globally can do it really easy now.

And here’s the thing. If you’ve already got an email marketing vendor for all your newsletters and promotional campaigns, who cares? MailChimp’s so affordable (free in some cases) that you can just use our tools for certain segments of your email list. There are some huge companies who have their own in-house email systems, and who also use MailChimp for certain types of campaigns. We don’t feel the need to be your exclusive email provider. MailChimp’s cool that way.

Now, I know you’re thinking that the automatically generated translations are not "perfect" translations. But whenever you run into someone who obviously doesn’t speak your native tongue, isn’t it nice to see they’re trying?

So give it a try yourself. You’ll find the translations, though not 100% perfect, are good enough.

For now.