A Babel of Asian eCommerce


Photo by Roberto Faccenda on Flickr

Japanese may be one of the easier Asian eCommerce languages to translate – it has a considerably less challenging alphabet although there are five different writing systems to deal with – but it still poses its translation challenges. Any Asian language will, and not just because of the vastly different alphabet, more so even than European languages with unfamiliar letters or largely different alphabets.

And don’t argue!

If you’ve ever wondered why Chinese dominates the hilarious world of bad foreign translation websites and memes, it’s because Chineseis one of the most challenging languages for anyone to translate in either direction. It’s not just that the West’s languages are largely alphabetic and Asian languages like Chinese are pictographic with sometimes thousands of characters; the whole structure of cultural and historical reference, communication and thought is completely different.

Palace of explosive loin bad menu translation

Photo by lawtonjm on Flickr

Arabic is no walk in the park either, with its different alphabet, its lack of vowels in writing, unfamiliar sounds, and starting a text at what Westerners would call ‘the end’.

No appetizer for me, please…

But hey, guess where nearly a trillion and a half American dollars can come from in the eCommerce world. If you guessed “All the places where the language is least like English”, please join me in a Hai Five!

Asia’s eCommerce potential isn’t just because they’re so populous, but also because many of the countries are just beginning to get online, or adopt mobile, or are losing their wariness of eCommerce marketplaces and payment systems. You can catch the early- to mid-adopters before the waves crest.

Read more here…


This post originally appeared on the Yappn blog Yappn About.

Tags: , , , ,