Over the past 2 years I’ve come across a handful of potential clients which inform me that they can get copy done cheaper overseas. While I appreciate that there are other developing countries trying to claw their way out of whatever colonialism may have subjected them to, I do feel quite strongly about outsourcing your website or blog copywriting, overseas.
I have decided to share my concerns with you, in order to help in the decision making process, on whether to outsource overseas or not:
Language – yes they speak English in many other countries in the world, and of course companies in India, Malaysia and the Philippines will say that they can write copy in English however, you should keep in mind that English is their second and sometimes even third or fourth language – which could mean grammatical and language errors at the best and a host of cultural faux pas at the worst.
Let’s look at the example below, this was taken off of a website which reviews dating websites, and was in fact the opening paragraph on their home page:
‘Such websites open the door for amorous adventures where you can meet uncontrolled strangers for casual relationships. That will be a welcome reprieve for many that are simply downright bored of their dating activities. Yes, adult dating websites have a lot to give those short of fun. There arrives a point when you simply have to let your hair down and take one or two possibilities. Looking for the best online dating service?’
I actually thought I’d landed on a porn site with this copy – need I say more…
Culture: This is similar to the point I have made above, but just to hammer it home, people in other countries don’t always share the same rules of engagement, and if they don’t have a deeper than vocabulary knowledge of English, won’t realize their mistakes either, so for example:
- Found in a Japanese hotel room: ‘You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid’
- In a Paris Hotel: ‘Please leave your values at the front desk’
- At a Swiss Mountain Inn: ‘Special today… No ice cream’
The list goes on but I think you get my drift.
Cost: Of course it is cheaper and quicker getting 100 Malaysians to write your 100 pages of copy BUT, that is 100 different writing styles with 100 different interpretations of your brief and that isn’t even factoring in the language and cultural differences. Business Management 101 – cheaper is NOT always better, because you will then have to commission another writer to do the work or to edit the work already done which could end up costing way more than what you had budgeted for.
Local is Lekker: Yes I am going to pull this card!! There are extremely talented copywriters in South Africa which you now have access to with Alfalfa Content Generator, at rates which are way below what you would normally pay a freelancer, who have English as a first language and who know the difference between we, we’re and were.
In closing, don’t make a rookie mistake when considering an outsourced service for your online copywriting – international companies are great for things like research or website development, but when it comes to copywriting and website content, rather make sure you put your best foot forward and pay a little extra for quality.