Foreign-Language Erotica

Alex Henderson
English is the most prominent language on the Internet, and that includes the adult Internet. More adult websites are published in English than in any other language, but that doesn't mean that other languages are not important to the adult entertainment industry. Millions of people surf the Internet in languages other than English, including consumers of erotica — and in an increasingly global economy, webmasters stand to broaden their customer base considerably by publishing non-English-language adult sites.

Milan, Italy, native Moreno "Mo" Aguiari, who is the Atlanta-based founder/president of TranslationsXXX and has served as an administrator for (an Italian-language website for adult webmasters), said that in addition to English, important languages for Internet erotica include Spanish, German, Japanese, Portuguese and French, among others. TranslationsXXX, in fact, specializes in translating adult websites into different languages, and the company's long list of clients has included, Playboy, Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network (AEBN), Fling and American Mobile Ventures.

If an American adult webmaster decides to expand into non-English-language markets, that doesn't mean that he is giving up English-language websites; rather, American webmasters who turn to a professional translation service like TranslationsXXX are typically people who plan to keep the English-language versions of their websites but want those websites to be published in some other languages as well., for example, is still best known for English-language adult sites but hired TranslationsXXX to translate their sites into five other languages. The languages that TopBucks requested, according to Aguiari, were Spanish, German, French, Italian and Portuguese. But Aguiari stressed that before English-speaking webmasters start publishing their adult sites in additional languages, they need to take a close look at where their traffic is coming from.

"I would definitely check my stats first before making any decisions on which languages I want to go with," advises Aguiari, who moved to the U.S. from Italy 10 years ago. "If a company asks me, 'Which are the top languages?' I always answer, 'Which are your top languages?'— meaning that you need to check your stats and see where most of the traffic is coming from. If most of your traffic is coming from a specific nation, you might want to target that nation as far as languages go. If you have a lot of traffic coming from Italy, it makes sense to translate your website into Italian. If you have a lot of traffic coming from Germany, it makes sense to translate your website into German."

It's important for American webmasters to remember that even though many Internet users in Europe surf the Internet in English, that doesn't mean that all of them do. Holland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway are countries where fluency in English is the norm even though English isn't their primary language; Spain, on the other hand, is a large porn-friendly country (Spain's population reached 46 million in 2008) where fluency in English isn't nearly as common and most Internet users do their surfing en Español. And Aguiari noted that even if a French Internet user speaks English proficiently, he might prefer adult sites in French.

According to Internet World Stats, Chinese is the second most prominent language on the Internet (followed by Spanish at No. 3, Japanese at No. 4, French at No. 5, Portuguese at No. 6 and German at No. 7). Unfortunately for adult webmasters, porn is illegal in Communist China. But as Aguiari pointed out, millions of Chinese Internet users live in countries where adult sites are perfectly legal.

"I will do a Chinese translation if the client asks for it," Aguiari said. "Even though the Chinese government forbids porn, there are a lot of Chinese people living outside of China."

Aguiari said that if an adult webmaster decides to target a specific country and wants to start publishing in that country's primary language, it is crucial to know what the country's preferred billing methods are.

"If you're a paysite," Aguiari explained, "make sure you have the billing platforms for the specific country you are targeting. If you are targeting Germany, for example, make sure you have the ACH debit card available for German clients to pay with. Billing is a very important thing to take into consideration if you are targeting other countries."

When Barack Obama was campaigning for president in 2008, he asserted that Americans need to learn foreign languages in order to be more competitive in a global economy. Aguiari agrees with Obama's assertion, and he said that being able to speak more than one language is a valuable skill to have in adult entertainment or any other industry.

"I definitely agree with Obama that Americans should be a little bit more multilingual," Aguiari said. "We live in a globalized world. The three Ws mean World Wide Web; it says it right there on the browser. A lot of affiliate programs are offering payouts in euros; that says it all."

Aguiari strongly advises against using software programs to translate adult websites into foreign languages. Such programs, he said, can produce awkward translations that will likely alienate potential customers.

"Some people try to cut corners and use something like Babel Fish for translations," Aguiari noted. "They come to us and say, 'Hey, can you review this?' and I will say, 'This is not good.' I always suggest doing a human translation vs. an automated translation. Accurate translations are important to everyone's business development."

In addition to translating adult websites into foreign languages, a service that TranslationsXXX offers is search-engine optimization. Aguiari said that if a webmaster has paid to have his sites translated into other languages, it is important to make sure that people surfing the web in those languages are likely to find their sites.

"If you want to increase your traffic in Germany, for example, you need to optimize your site for the German market," Aguiari asserted. "If you have a website, the goal is to increase sales. And in a globalized world, having more languages and more markets will increase sales."