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Language Barrier and Communicating Better To Get More International Sales


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Hey There,

The best way to get your gig more successful; begins with communication. Fiverr is a Global platform and has users/buyers from all around the world. Here’s some tips on how to breakdown the language barrier that may hold you back from getting more sales from the international community.

  1. Pay Attention - look at their wording and check the buyer’s profile to see what country they may be from, this will help you catch if there’s a barrier earlier on and help you speak better with the client. Some clients may speak well initially, but might be misunderstanding without you knowing because of certain words.

  2. Simple Language - sometimes we get caught up in industry/niche terms that we know for our business, but others that speak your language as a 2nd language most likely won’t. Figure out the simple equivalent to what you need to convey. Always avoid slang if possible.

  3. Watch Out For ‘Literal Meaning’ Confusion - for example I said to a buyer ‘extra mile’ and they literally thought an extra mile. This is a slang expression and should be avoided anyway, but there are other regular phrases that can cause this too.

  4. Acknowledge The Barrier - this is a touchy subject, but in a very very polite way, ask the buyer what languages they speak fluently? Rarely it’s different from what they have next to their name, but it’s good to reinforce to reduce frustration. Then when you know, like in my case I only know English well. I’ll say, “Unfortunately I only speak English, so let me know if there’s any confusion I can help with or If I need to explain something further”. This will ease the tension and make the buyer more comfortable with you and they’ll more likely ask questions. Don’t say “I think there’s a language barrier”, many people take pride in how they speak and may get offended. I’ve made this mistake and learned from it.

  5. Use A Fiverr Translator Gig - let’s be honest Google Translate can help a little for a word or two, but overall phrases won’t work. This generally only applies to bigger orders, but you can recommend that the buyer have their brief translated by another seller here directly on Fiverr. This way you get a nicely translated brief that you can work with easier.

  6. Don’t Guess - this one is more loose, but you’ll get the idea. You have a brief and you think you know what they want. Always ask and try to get clarity. If that doesn’t work, weigh your options. If you are 90% sure of what to do I’d say go for it, but rarely this is the case. If you are unsure you’ll just gain an unhappy customer and probably a negative review if you guess incorrectly.

  7. Defuse - the language barrier will cause frustration. If you notice this happening defuse it quickly and don’t get frustrated as well. People tend to get rude when frustrated. I had one buyer insult me repeatedly and ask for a refund, of which I gave. They came back a week later and said I’m sorry and I would like to pay you for your work. They admitted they didn’t understand the quality of the work because they didn’t know the language well enough. It’s all heat of the moment. Stay above it and be polite. Mention that there “appears to be a misunderstanding” and “that we should get back on the right track so I can help you better”. This will lower the frustration.

  8. Admit You Can’t Help - if the language barrier is too big, say something about it. It’s okay to say “I’m not a good fit for this one”. If they ask why, explain to them you feel you can’t help them the best for this project. They’ll be appreciative that you didn’t blindly take the gig on.

These will help you help international customers better. If you think of a tip add it to the comments and share, or if you have some questions or thoughts about these, let me know.

Have A Good One,
Steven K.

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