Social media tools

Over the past few years there has been a significant increase in the number of organizations using social media tools to disseminate information. Although it is difficult for organizations to truly quantify the commercial benefits of social media, many are accepting that it is now an integral part of the marketing mix. Social media enables companies to create online discussions with targeted communities and also allows them to promote products and services at a relatively low cost. As Oscar Wilde once said, “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” According to research conducted by Burson-Marsteller ( for its Global Social Media Check-up, in February 2011, 84% of the top 100 companies in the Fortune Global 500 index are using at least one of the main social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or corporate blogs. Twitter is the most popular social media tool among Fortune Global 100 companies (with two-thirds having a Twitter presence), and at least half are reaching audiences through Facebook (54%) and YouTube (50%). One-third of the companies maintain corporate blogs. Many organizations are beginning to realize the benefits of blogging. It’s a quick, relatively inexpensive tool that enables you to share your expertise and build web traffic, and more importantly, connect with clients and potential clients.  Companies based in Asia Pacific primarily use social media to communicate with their western stakeholders. In the course of 2010, there was significant social media growth in Asia Pacific and Europe, especially in terms of Twitter. In 2010, the number of companies being talked about on Twitter increased by 90%. Besides the four main social media sites mentioned, there are also many more sites available.


Key Geography

Registered users

Europe and Latin America

116 million

African Americans

 20 million

South Korean

 25 million

Southeast Asia

 90 million

India and Brazil

100 million


Many companies have multiple accounts, and these different accounts can be managed by different company divisions that may be located all over the world. Both HP and IBM have over 80 blogs apiece. The New York Times website has 59 blogs, all by different writers and journalists, all on different topics and all representing the brand and the company. This online content creates a continuous demand for rapid translations from social media providers and users all over the world. Millions of new entries, blogs and posts go online everyday. According to, September 2010, the market for web-based translation is estimated to be worth about $3 billion. Even if an organization does not have a proactive social media presence, it still needs to monitor social media sites for content relating to them, their brands and industry — such as complaints, product feedback and trends. One of the unique qualities of social media is that it is multidirectional. An organization is a participant (a consumer) as well as a producer and publisher. It’s not just about the content you are pushing out, but also the content that you and your business are attracting. Once social media gets hold of an interesting tidbit, the effect is nuclear, and your coverage could be worldwide. If that content is being published multilingually, then do you understand the content as well as all the cultural nuances that may exist within it? Some translation vendors provide multilingual social media monitoring services although the approach is fairly basic.

Most organizations do not have the resources to maintain multilingual blogs and monitor social media content. The most obvious low-cost solution that companies turn to for the translation of content is machine translation (MT). We all know MT has its limitations, but there are an increasing number of plug-ins for blogs and content management systems that allow the streamlined generation of machine translated content. Translation plug-ins (for example, GTS Translation and WordPress Global Translator plug-ins) will automatically translate and update a blog each time a new post is added. The content is pushed through the MT system and then ideally into a post-editing workflow so that it can be cleaned up by human translators.