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Recruiting Intelligence

The Role of Translation in International Student Recruitment

“Why should we translate our materials if prospective students need to have strong English skills to perform well in our classes?”

It’s a valid discussion. We have always been vocal advocates for translating marketing materials into the local language of your target audience. This week: our perspective on translation, some of the most effective places to use it, and most importantly, why.

This post is important for your team producing the materials and your higher ups who are questioning the rationale. Our goal: making you more capable, powerful, successful. Share away.

Important to remember that translation is just one piece of the larger content customization process and that the content you share with your US audience will not resonate with your international audiences, whether you translate It or not. Each of your audiences are unique and will respond to different messages.

Here's the thing you already know: marketing differentiation is all about speaking to your audience segments with the information that resonates. Seems obvious, but not many institutions take the time to do it. Instead, they blast the same stuff to every lead.

And yet...they all complain and wring their hands about declining numbers and yield. There are solutions right there in front of you that do take more time and more investment. Take advantage of them sooner than later!

To read more about developing audience personas and audience segmentation, see our post on Persona Development: 101 here. 

The Intead team does this targeted content strategy and writing for our clients to improve application flow and yield. Let's get to work together. 

A note on adding Google Translate to your site: not better than nothing. The nuance and specifics of your differentiators that your marketing department worked so hard to craft are absolutely butchered with Google Translate. Your target audience scans (not reads) pages translated via Google. They get the high level gist of it and move on quickly. There is no absorption of content because everyone knows you are losing a lot of accuracy. You'll understand more about all you are losing by taking this awful shortcut as you read on.

So, about the rationale and the process for translation, let's dive in...

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Think Positive: Differentiation is Powerful

Last week, we touched briefly on the importance of differentiating your institution in the minds of international students. You may be seeing ever more doom-and-gloom sentiment among your peers on campus and colleagues in the field. The uplifting confidence that comes from a deep understanding of your differentiators is essential to your success.

This approach applies to your institution's success as much as it applies to your personal success. For this blog, we'll stick to your institution's approach and leave the rest to you.

So, your institution is not ranked in the top 50, right? And your access to a major city? How about your brand recognition in your target countries?

The reality is, most schools are in the same boat here. Not all international students are looking for the same things. There is a niche that will find your attributes just right. All international students are not all looking for the same things. But they DO need to become aware of what you have that other's don't. YOU need to help them assess and select.

International marketing is not an easy thing to do. It may seem overwhelming, confusing and, at times, impossible. It's easy for your colleagues on campus to fall into the trap of thinking, "Why would any international student want to come here?"

It's time to flip the question.

Why wouldn't they want to come to your school? You have so much to offer. Your doors wouldn't be open if you didn't. The question is: "What can your institution offer international students that no other institution can?"

Bottom Line: Creatively communicating your differentiators is essential to helping students know about and then grasp the opportunities you offer. 

Let's get into this a bit deeper...

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Campus Diversity, Cultural Competency and International Students

Dr. Carlos Cortés has had an amazing career and tells a great story. He was one of our keynote speakers at our International Student Recruitment Bootcamp back in January and we’ve captured the best parts of his talk here in an 18-minute podcast.

Along with a great talk and discussion over dinner, everyone who attended received a signed copy of his book Rose Hill: An Intermarriage Before Its Time. This was a treat. And now we can share it with all of you.

Dr. Cortés addressed campus diversity and cultural competency issues from a unique perspective. And he asked us all to consider some provocative questions that are hot issues on campus today. How do we evaluate our desire for freedom of speech when students are fighting to squelch offensive speech? And what does this mean for the integration of international students who are learning English as a second language?

Take a listen to his fascinating talk. You’ll be glad you did.

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The Struggle is Real: 27 Struggles International Students Face on American Campuses

  Source: BuzzFeed.com

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