Etsy’s Translation Project & Who “English Allergy Japanese” Really Are

craftI love handmade crafts 🙂 If you have an online shop of your handmade crafts and arts with Etsy, here is a good news: Etsy is currently undergoing translation of their website into Japanese.

You might have heard of so-called “English allergy” of the Japanese. That is, only a small percentage of the Japanese are “confident” enough to communicate in English in day to day situations. They don’t dare to buy anything online unless they can communicate with the online shop in Japanese language. This, in turn, makes business opportunities for “import service providers”. There are a number of such personal services available for the Japanese.

The import service providers basically bridge the language barrier and they do not pitch products to their consumers, which means, here’s the point, those Japanese customers do have English proficiency, good enough to locate what they want, but they balk at dealing with the sellers in English. So, the English allergy of the Japanese, after all, is not the out-and-out situation, but rather confidence issues in practical use, if you ask me.

It seems that Etsy’s translation project is focusing on this particular segment of the Japanese consumers. Once the platform of the website is translated, covering from order placement to troubleshooting, then the Japanese may feel comfortable shopping with Etsy, even though the other information, products and shop owner details, stays as they are in English. Oh, and of course, the Japanese loves handcrafting, so I’m sure that Etsy is eyeing on that side as well.

Now, if you own a shop with Etsy and happen to have a Twitter account, you want to generate leads of those “confidence-issue-segment” of Japanese consumers, right? Why don’t you try following Japanese accounts who seemingly do not have English allergy. I think it is fairly easy to locate such accounts.

Here’s how:

1. Search Twitter accounts with #英語 (English) or #英会話 (English Conversation)

Just copy and paste one of those Japanese words with # (hashtag) and search the Twitter.  Voila! What you will get of course are tweets written in Japanese. However, they are English tutors’, English schools’, and of the Japanese ardently studying English, etc.  They may not be perfect as your potential leads, but it is Twitter, some of them may follow you back and could become a good starting point.

2. Find Japanese accounts that follow @JapanTimes

The Japan Times is the leading English Newspaper well-distributed in Japan. I don’t think “English allergy” Japanese would follow the accounts of English newspapers, but there are some adultery accounts following @JapanTimes only to be conspicuous, so you may want to check their tweets before following them.

Last of all, I do not recommend to use Twitter DM. You are right, the “confidence issues” may kick in when you try to establish a direct contact. Plus, many Japanese do have “Direct Mail allergy”.