Oct 29, 2014

Speaking to Subscribers in Their Own Language

As MailChimp’s user base expands, more and more often we find that our customers need to communicate with subscribers all over the world. We know that sending targeted content to your subscribers is the best way to drive engagement, but how do you do that when you’re sending to people who speak different languages?

Well, here’s one way: We’ve worked with the folks at Unbabel to build a human translation integration for MailChimp. "Human translation" means just that: Actual people read your newsletter and translate it into the language of your choice. Human translators ensure your message’s voice and tone are translated with appropriate nuance, unlike machines, which simply translate on a word-by-word basis.

Integrating with Unbabel

It’s easy to get started with Unbabel for MailChimp. First, sign up for an account and connect it with your MailChimp account. Once your campaign content is ready to send, log in to Unbabel, pull in your draft, choose the languages into which you’d like to translate, the general topic of the email, and the tone you want used for the translation. You can also include some additional notes for the translator so they get it just right.

When the translation is complete, you’ll receive an email notification prompting you to log in to Unbabel to accept or reject the translations. Then use MailChimp’s list segmenting tools to target readers by geolocation or language preference to make sure your subscribers get the right version of your newly translated campaign.

Putting Unbabel to work

Kaley Sweeney of the World Photography Awards tried out Unbabel and found that sending newsletters in her subscribers’ own languages immediately helped increase open and click rates.

“We deal with a large international audience—about 170 countries—and communicating in multiple languages is key to growing our engagement,” she says. “We realized we were not engaging more than 15% open rate on average with purely English content. With Unbabel, we’ve seen more than 40% open rate in some cases. Unbabel helps us translate a single message without the hassle of hiring a translation company and has been absolutely wonderful considering the little effort needed from our tiny team!”

The World Photography Awards’ first Unbabel campaigns showed some impressive results. The English language campaign had an open rate of 16.7% and a click rate of 1.5%, while the translated campaigns averaged an open rate of 36% with a click rate of 4.4%. Their 4 most recent translated campaigns continue to show average open and click rates that are considerably higher than their English counterparts. The English campaigns average open and click rates of 15.9% and 1.1% while their translated counterparts averaged 29.3% and 2.8%, respectively. Not bad!

Unbabel CEO Vasco Pedro thinks these early results are exciting, if not surprising. “Speaking to your customers in their native language shows them you care,” he says. “Show them your love and they’ll love you back!”