25 Jul 2017

Multilingual Chat Bots in New Markets’ Acquisition

What You Need to Know to Enable Your Chatbot to Find You Overseas Clients

With the present-day technologies, the world’s gotten much smaller. At almost no cost you can often reach audiences in farthermost places.

However, some things are still a hassle, a hurdle, or a worry while you are trying to market overseas. Looking for distributors, competing with the locals on your own and getting to know your overseas audiences and their preferences all take a lot of time and effort. What if your firm is not just big enough to set up a branch across the ocean? Or you just have no opportunity to hire a bunch of foreign-speaking reps and, thus, give your eCommerce app a chance?

With the advent of multilingual chat bots, not all the news is bad.

How a Multilingual Chat Bot Can Help You and Is it Really Worth It Developing One

There are several problems that may hamper your sales to overseas markets and can be solved by multilingual chat bots. Chatbots are swiftly gaining ground but are still seldom conceived and developed to sell to foreign-speaking markets. Just how much opportunity can be there and is it really worth the bother to make your forthcoming chatbot multilingual?

Most of us are used to speaking one or two languages on a daily basis and the same holds true for our Web-browsing habits. But the world is not so homogenous: according to Digitalist Magazine, today, only 40% of all Web content is in English, compared with the nearly 4/5 of it in the mid 1990-s. The magazine also indicates that some languages have lately been growing their online share at a breath-taking rate, Arabic, Portuguese and Malay being among the frontrunners.

Would many of the speakers of these languages rather be spoken to in their mother tongue while making a buy from your website? The answer is obvious, not to mention the hundreds of millions of people all over the world whose native language is the only one they know. A multilingual chat bot is a great (and often only) chance to reach them.

What You Need to Know If You Want to Succeed with a Multi-Lingual Chat Bot

If you are considering building a chat bot and you are willing to pay extra for your bot to be an native born polyglot, you must be aware of several points to make the project a success:

  • Your provider must be able to implement the version of the target language that is spoken in the geography you consider your market-to-be. Accents vary and they are not always immediately understandable. The same happens to words and expressions: they may mean similar but different things, completely different things, or just nothing to those outside a specific area. A chat bot that was brought up in American English is unlikely to be able to sell a pair of “jandals” to a Kiwi shopper.
  • When it comes to chatbots, an accent can also be a way to win your client’s favor. In this respect, it may make sense for you to implement several different regional accents. For example, your chatbot could switch to a specific variety of a language or regional accent based on your client’s IP address.
  • With some linguistic gumption, you can kill even more than two birds with one stone: just make sure you’ve taken a good look at the neighboring national markets. For example, you can cover Sweden, Norway and Denmark with any of the corresponding languages and still be well-understood. If you have no budget for several different versions, why not benefit from linguistic affinity wherever possible?
  • Unfortunately, there is oodles more to blurring the borders and barriers with multilingual chat bots besides simply translating the scripts. The regional differences and preferences can be multi-faceted and hard to capture upfront. Terms of address, holiday greetings, male or female voice preferences, speaking or typing preferences, color spectrum, name of your bot, and a host of other things need to be factored in.
  • Due to this, it would often make sense to customize your sibling bots to differ not only in the languages they speak, but also in their feature sets to make them more appealing to their varying regional audiences. That is why it would be great if your development team included someone with a corresponding background and cognizant of the culture and ways of your target audience.

    Incidentally, unless the chatbot platform your development team opts for  supports your target language, the process will involve a lot more than the mere translation of the scripts. In this case, you will need to develop the text & speech natural understanding module for the new language from the ground up. This means that you should probably decide beforehand what languages you may want to include and choose the platform accordingly in cooperation with your development team.

  • The irony with chatbots is that while everyone wants their precision, painstaking, tirelessness, and immediate availability, nobody wants them to behave like bots.
There are two things that can make your chatbot sound a lot more human-like: a professional script writer (or a good creative translator, when it comes to foreign languages) and advanced Natural Language Processing & Understanding technologies.

The more advanced present-day Machine Learning algorithms are capable of interpreting some 80-90% of your shoppers’ speech, including slang terms and obscenities. In this sense, if you are looking to build a chatbot with a good conversational ability, especially, a multilingual one, you should be looking for a team with great NLP and ML expertise from the first.

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