Thoughts after Speaking on "How to Produce Global Websites—Solutions to Problems Faced in International Corporate Communications"

March is graduation season in Japan, and as such is a time for change. I, too, am trying new things every day.

On February 23, I had a chance to speak at the Koho Kaigi's readers workshop entitled "Footholds to International Corporate Communications—Points to Cover in Its Practice." The theme of my lecture was "How to Produce Global Websites—Solutions to Problems Faced in International Corporate Communications."

With the advent of the Internet Age, it is now easier to try to seize not only domestic but also global markets. Even relatively small companies are now finding it easier to do business overseas.

Using Arc Communications' abundant experience in consulting, producing and operating numerous global websites, I encouraged workshop participants – persons in charge of international corporate communications – to appeal their companies and products to the world and create fans not only here in Japan but also overseas.

While there was not enough time for me to go into detailed techniques, the presentation materials I used for the lecture can be downloaded from here. Please have a look if you are interested.

Every time I give a lecture, I cannot help but think that it is I, as speaker, who has learned the most from giving a lecture. I look forward to receiving your frank opinions and requests for consultations!

Arc Communications Inc.
Moriden Bldg. 7th Fl., 3-9-9 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0073 Japan
Phone +81-3-5730-6133 Fax +81-3-5730-6134

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Our Services

Here is a look at some of Arc Communications' services.

In response to the Tourism Nation Promotion Basic Plan announced by the Government of Japan in FY2008, there was a dramatic increase during the last fiscal year in requests we have received to produce websites in English, Chinese (traditional and simplified) and Korean. In order to deal with this increase, Arc Communications unified the contact points for website production and translation and created a framework for responding swiftly to client requests. We are also cultivating new, trustworthy partners in China, Taiwan and South Korea in order to enable high quality and speedy response, and we are starting to see such efforts bear fruit.

Meanwhile, we are also beginning to receive requests for the production of multilingual websites in European languages. In addition to our existing partners in Europe, we also developed several new partner companies in Eastern Europe (Romania and Russia).

Please feel free to consult with Arc Communications – a company with rich experience – if you are planning to make your website multilingual. More Details here(Japanese only)
When creating a multilingual website, Arc Communications does more than simply translate Japanese into another language. We firmly backup the client company's global strategy by developing content and designs with such important elements as the visibility of the client company in the target market and cultural differences in mind.

Arc Communications has abundant experience in the construction and operation of numerous multilingual websites, including those of leading IT firms. If you are interested, please contact Tomoyuki Unno to learn more. More Details here(Japanese only)
[Graphic Design]
From corporate brochures and product pamphlets to the web—today, development into various media is a must in corporate communications. When handling corporate multimedia designs we at Arc Communications work to unify a company's brand image and reinforce its communication capabilities. Experience the combination of convenient one-stop services and exceptional design. More Details here(Japanese only)
[Temporary Employment and Referral]
The network Arc Communications has cultivated through its translation services and website planning & design services enables the dispatch of temporary staff members who have skills to match customer's specialized needs. We also cater to onsite business process outsourcing needs, such as the dispatch of translation teams for auditing requirements and production teams for external newsletters. More Details here
Arc Communications is highly regarded for dispatching business-minded professional interpreters.
Interpreters with abundant and specialized knowledge accurately comprehend the original language and communicate it appropriately. Our interpreters do not simply transpose words in one language to another language. Rather, they understand the nuance and context contained in spoken words and express them in another language to provide more than just simple communication—they help channel the conversation into mutual understanding.

Please call on us if you require interpreters for needs such as visiting VIPs, seminars, training sessions and meetings with overseas bases. More Details here
Arc Communications Inc.
Moriden Bldg. 7th Fl., 3-9-9 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0073 Japan
Phone +81-3-5730-6133 Fax +81-3-5730-6134

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Arc Communications Staff Interview #03: Yoshihiro Sato

Yoshihiro Sato

There has been a major increase in the number of clients wanting to create multilingual websites. It looks like we are now moving from an age in which companies created an English site ‘for starters’ to an age in which multilingual sites that match the content of their business and their targets are being created. Arc Communications has been on a winning streak in the business proposal competitions it has entered, including those for the production of multilingual websites. In this issue, we focus the spotlight on Yoshihiro Sato, who is leading the Web Team as a producer, for an answer to the secret behind Arc Communications' winning streak.

An Age in which the Strength of a Proposal Is Important for Multilingual Site Production

-Are there many requests for the production of a multilingual websites?
Yes, we receive many requests to produce English and traditional and simplified Chinese websites in addition to a Japanese website. We also receive inquiries from other companies in our business that want us to handle the production of the non-Japanese portions of a website they are involved in because they don't have the capability to do it on their own.
They are primarily seeking our expertise in translation, but ultimately, the fact that we have staff members in the Web Team who are skilled in different languages or have ample experience in practical business also become keys to our success. I think it is very reassuring for clients to discover that the persons they come into contact with are professionals in both website production and language. So, it's not just a result of unifying the contact points for Web production and translation.
For example, when communicating with the head office, web jargon often places major strains on those in charge at the Japanese arm of a global company. There have been times when our clients have been happy for the help we can provide by communicating directly with their head office.
An overwhelming number of clients are still in the process of seeking ways to rollout overseas versions of their websites. For this reason, there is emphasis placed on a company's ability to make strong proposals based on experience. I think we are highly recognized in this respect because we have been involved in the production of multilingual websites even before demand became high.
-Are there any actual examples that you are free to talk about?
The way a multilingual website is produced differs greatly depending on who the target users are. Something that may be considered a common practice in Japan is not necessarily a common practice elsewhere. That is why you can't make a website for a foreign audience simply by translating the Japanese original. In fact, problems will arise if you don't understand this because you end up with a multilingual site that cannot be understood by those outside of Japan. Let's use Arc Communications as an example. If we were to say, "Arc Communications is located close to Sengaku-ji Temple, which is associated with the Ako warriors," very few people overseas are going to know what we were talking about. You might think this is an extreme example, but, you know, there really are a lot of websites that are like that.
Here is another example. We once received a request to participate in a competition for the production of a website that targeted a developing country. It was an interesting experience for us. We ignored the Japanese version of the website and proposed a website that was as ‘light’ as possible in terms of the size of the files involved. We also kept it simple in its look. The proposal that we made went against current trends, which call for elaborate websites. There is admittedly a danger that such a website could give an impression of being inexpensively produced. But when you consider the Internet environment of users in developing nations, ours was the right answer. We substantiated this fact when making our proposal, and the client agreed with our view. In fact, the client rated our proposal very highly.

Website Production Based on the Understanding of a Business

-The Web Team has a high rate of winning business proposal competitions. What is the secret to your success?
Our clients are professionals in their business field while we are professionals regarding the web. It's easy to say that a job is being carried out by utilizing each other's strengths, but if you're not careful, it could end up being an unsatisfactory project that is concluded without each party really getting to understand the other's specialized area. I think a project like that is such a shame.
We place emphasis in speaking the same ‘language’ as our clients. The approach we take is to make sure that we understand our client's business and have a grasp of who the target users are. We then use our own ‘words’ to express our client's strengths as a company and think about what kind of a conversion is required in order to convey it on a website. It is much easier to find out what our clients really think if they feel that we have a real understanding of their business. Being able to communicate at a deeper level often leads to client satisfaction.
We were once asked what corporate philosophies published on websites were like. We responded, "In the case of your company, it would be something like this..." The example we gave was used on their website as we had proposed. It made us happy to know that the company representative valued our opinion as being one with a clear understanding of their company.
I would like to say that this kind of approach we take is our strength. However, the problem is that there needs to be an easier way to convey this to others. I was wondering if there wasn't some kind of marker that could be used to express this in a simple manner, and I came up with our winning percentage in relation to business proposal competitions.
In the first year of our establishment, Arc Communications was selected in all 10 business proposal competitions that it participated in, and some of them involved 10 other companies or more. So I thought, "Aha! This is what we should use." I think the reasons I mentioned would make an even stronger impression and feel more ‘real’ if we said, "Here are the reasons why our winning percentage is 100." Of course, this would add to the pressure on us to keep on succeeding! (laughs)
-Do you think your background and experience are some of the reasons why Arc Communications exhibits such strength in competitions?
I've always wanted to do work that involved some kind of communication, so I started out in the television industry in video production. I later experienced other work, such as business plan consulting; the editing of brochures, including those for corporate communications purposes; and sales promotions for a shopping center. And here I am now doing Web-related work.
People often say to me, "You've certainly tried a lot of different things." That's true, but please don't get me wrong. It's not as if I went from one field to another after just taking one bite. I spent more than five years in each of those fields and experienced the big picture as well as the true nature of every one of those fields.
My ability to express the strengths of a company in ways that differ from others as well as to look at things from a users' perspective was acquired through the work that I was involved with in the past.
For example, one day I would be on location directing the shooting of a video for a television travel show, and the next day, I would be creating the outline for and writing the narration for an educational video on semiconductors. Or, I would visit an IT company in the morning to gather information on enterprise application integration (EAI), then in the afternoon, participate in a sales promotion meeting for selling a 500 yen cake for 300 yen; and that evening, make a proposal for measures to enhance conversion rates for an e-commerce site. That's the way I've been working all through my career. I think such experience improved my ability to grasp the outline of various businesses within a short span of time and to communicate my intentions precisely.
Five years have passed since I joined Arc Communications and as is to be expected, our winning percentage after over 50 business proposal competitions is no longer 100%. However, our winning percentage for those items that I've done the presentation for is still over 90%. I suppose that this could also be said to be the product of my diverse experience.

Future Goals

-How do you see Arc Communications' web business developing in the future?
Foremost in my mind is that we continue to offer services that our clients can benefit from. Keywords that can be used to describe Arc Communications include ‘synergy,’ ‘one-stop solutions’ and ‘one source multi use.’ I feel it is important that we develop services that are beneficial to clients on the basis of these characteristics. In fact, our current services, such as the rollout of multilingual websites from a Japanese-language source and other production, from websites to sales promotion tools, are all based on such thinking.
As mentioned earlier, simply converting information in one language to another language is meaningless. I think the most important thing is that Arc Communications proposes the optimum, cost-effective solution while keeping the characteristics of a medium, the manner in which it is utilized and its target users in sight.


Yoshihiro Sato
Joined Arc Communications in 2005 as a director and producer who leads the company's Web business. Prior to joining Arc Communications, he was active in other fields, including as a video production director, consultant and executive editor of a magazine. Sato dislikes the hay fever season.

My film recommendation

Kimi Mo Shusse Ga Dekiru (You Can Succeed, Too)
directed by Eizo Sugawa (1964, Toho)

Said to be Japan's first full-scale musical film, You Can Succeed, Too is a fine film that contains the producers' drive and the energy of Japan's high-growth period. While it strikes people with the impression that musicals can be produced in Japan, the film was a box office failure and discouraged further production of Japanese musicals.

Arc Communications Inc.
Moriden Bldg. 7th Fl., 3-9-9 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0073 Japan
Phone +81-3-5730-6133 Fax +81-3-5730-6134

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Photo Contest

Theme: A Bit of a Foreign Country Found in Japan

Due to the nature of their work, Arc Communications staff is often in contact with people and things from outside of Japan. They were asked to take photos of scenes around them that reminded them of foreign countries. The result was these many multinational photos. Enjoy!

>>View photos here (Japanese only)

>>voting result

Arc Communications Inc.
Moriden Bldg. 7th Fl., 3-9-9 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0073 Japan
Phone +81-3-5730-6133 Fax +81-3-5730-6134

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The voting was closed on 22 March (Mon).

A desktop calculator decorated with an original design will be given away to 20 people.
(Please choose one of the four designs.)

A desktop calculator decorated with an original design no.4 A desktop calculator decorated with an original design no.3 A desktop calculator decorated with an original design no.2 A desktop calculator decorated with an original design no.1

  • Winners will be determined by a lottery drawing.
  • Presents will be shipped to winners in lieu of an announcement. Please note that we may contact a winner by email to ask for a shipping address.
  • Presents are available only to residents of Japan. Our apologies that we cannot ship to overseas addresses.