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Written by: host
4/26/2011 5:25 PM  RssIcon

HANDOUTS AND REMINDER / MARKETING LETTERS IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE (CHINESE)

There is no doubt that recent years have seen huge migration of Chinese and other nationals into most western countries. Hair Salons and Beauty Clinics are also seeing an increase in patronage from such clients. In some instances, especially with the older generation, language can be a great barrier, especially when it comes to written communications. This blog provides ideas that may be used to achieve goals in communicating better with non-English speaking clients. This should result in better outcomes for the salon in general. I have dealt with Chinese only but the ideas discussed here can be applied equally to any other language you need to support.

WHAT IS CHINESE LANGUAGE?

There are many dialects of the spoken so called “Chinese” language. Mandarin is a standardized form of spoken Chinese, based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin Chinese. It is the official language of the Chinese Mainland and Taiwan, as well as one of four official languages of Singapore. Cantonese is another influential dialect in the Chinese language. It is one of the official languages of Hong Kong (together with English) and of Macau (together with Portuguese).

Although spoken Chinese has a lot of varieties, written Chinese does not. These days most people who speak Chinese can understand Mandarin reasonably well. In written form, there are two types of Chinese characters: Simplified Chinese characters and Traditional Chinese characters.

Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters for use in Mainland China. They are also officially used in China and Singapore. Traditional Chinese characters are currently used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

While most people will understand either, ideally you may want to have to have two different documents depending on which character set the client prefers. Call one document “Traditional” and one “Simplified”.

HANDOUTS

The Ad-Hoc handout button on the HAIRLINKSQL toolbar supports access to any Microsoft Word Document that you place in that folder structure. Instant access is available to these documents for printing purposes. It is very easy to create Word Documents in another language. Once configured, the language can be temporarily changed so that, for example, Chinese characters can be typed. The integrated free word processor built into HAIRLINKSQL will also support Chinese and English characters with some limitations. With some minor “tweaking” when typing you can get a result without spending a fortune on Microsoft Licenses if you wish. See later for tips on how to achieve results with the in-built word processor.

HOW DO I DISTINGUISH BETWEEN MY DOCUMENTS

The best way to do this is to name the file appropriately. For example, if there is a document called “Post Treatment Procedures” then  simply call the Chinese one “Post Treatment Procedure CH-Simple” and “Post Treatment Procedure CH-Traditional” or similar. If you collate a large number of documents in various languages in the Handouts Folder, then create sub-folders and name them appropriately – this would be a much better solution in the longer term.

HOW DO I DISTINGUISH BETWEEN CLIENT PREFERENCES

So how do you know who should get English ones and who should get Chinese? This is where a little bit of lateral thinking comes in. One way is to use one of the marketing flags in the client record. Use any one of the four marketing lists and create a flag for language. For example, you may designate a letter for English, one for Chinese Traditional and one Chinese Standard. From the top menu, go to Options/Setup/Client/Lists to set this up.

How do I default this so it’s always English unless I decide to change it? How do I automatically get the client record to set correctly when entering new clients? This is what the CLIENT PROFILE feature was designed for. If you always use just one profile (not really using the feature) then go into the profile you use all the time and set the default flag that you wish to come up –eg. English. If you want to ask the question whenever you enter a new client then setup different profiles for English and Chinese Std and Chinese Trd and then set the default flag correctly in those profiles. Profiles can be setup and default values set from the top menu – Options/Picklists/Client/Profile.

Important Note: You will have to have one mailer group for each person including English for this to work. If you don’t have this then you will not be able to filter out that group –eg. English Letters – unless of course you want to send English letters to everyone as well as another language – which is a good idea anyway. If you wish CFL to automatically get a flag ticked to all your old clients, you may request a quote from helpdesk to do this for you. It is usually around an hour’s time from the developers.

REMINDER LETTERS & MARKETING LETTERS

Version 4.4 and later versions of HAIRLINKSQL now supports the use of Microsoft Word as well as the built-in Word Processor in the “Marketing Module”. Either Word Processor may be used to create mail-merged documents.

Printing Letters: Printing letters will now be quite easy. Simply print your reminder or marketing letters as you normally do but create multiple “letters/campaigns” for each language. The simply go to the “properties” button when you are presented with the filter options and select the appropriate letter. Note: There is no need to do this for each run – simply create multiple Reminder Campaigns with different names and then select the default letter to it. Now, when printing simply select all the filters that you require (reminder date range or reminder type or any other marketing filters) IN ADDITION to the mailing filter to select only people on the required language mailer group that you had created! Just repeat this for each language and you are done!

Note: All the mail-merged fields such as Name, Address, Reminder dates, etc will have to be in English.

HOW DO I TURN ON A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE?

Windows is easily capable of handling multiple languages. Once you are in the Word Processor (eg. Word) simply switch languages using the icon on the bottom toolbar in windows. You may switch languages if you wish while typing. In the case of Reminders and Marketing Letters you will have to have English on when selecting the Mail Merge fields such as Name, Address, Reminder Due Date, etc.

Because this is a Windows setting you may require your IT professional to assist you. The HAIRLINKSQL helpdesk is not qualified to assist with this Microsoft issue. You may however call our IT department for assistance if you wish, noting that this assistance will be billed out for professional time as incurred. The following links will however assist you and your IT professional if you wish to give it a go yourself; it is not too difficult. Note that we cannot guarantee that these links will be available forever so it may be best to print and save for future reference.

A Quick Start Guide to Using Pinyin Input for Simplified AND Traditional Chinese Characters in Western Versions of Microsoft Windows:

Windows XP:                     http://www.pinyinjoe.com/pinyin/pinyin_setup.htm

Windows Vista:                 http://www.pinyinjoe.com/vista/vista_pinyin_setup.htm

Windows 7:                       http://www.pinyinjoe.com/windows-7/win7-pinyin-setup.htm

I DON'T WANT TO BUY MICROSOFT WORD FOR RECEPTION AND TREATMENT ROOM BUT WANT TO PRINT WORD DOCS I HAVE CREATED

There is no doubt that people have nice documents already formatted in Word. As far as we are aware, you don’t really need to have a Word license to be able to view and print work documents. Again, your IT person can assist or you may use out IT department for assistance, noting that this time will be billed out as incurred. The HAIRLINKSQL helpdesk is not qualified to assist with this Microsoft issue. The following links will provide the appropriate resources to download the Word Readers. The last update was in 2003 but together with the compatibility pack, you should be able open and print .doc and .docx documents and save several hundred dollars.

Word Viewer: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=3657ce88-7cfa-457a-9aec-f4f827f20cac&displaylang=en

Compatibilty Pack: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?familyid=941b3470-3ae9-4aee-8f43-c6bb74cd1466&displaylang=en

SOME TIPS TO MAKE THE INTEGRATED WORDPROCESSOR TO WORK

Multiple Language characters can be used but is a little tricky. You will need to experiment a little. When entering characters, the space between words does not show up until you press the enter key. While it can be a little frustrating, you can achieve the final result. Otherwise you may need to buy MS Word.

HOW DO GET SOMEONE TO WRITE MY LETTERS IN CHINESE!

If you have a simple English example, we can have it translated and typed up for you ready to insert into your campaign! The one-off cost of this will be $180.00 plus gst (no gst for clients outside of NZ) per letter.

Hope this was of some use and at best enjoyable reading!

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