Irrespective of which industry you belong to, every company today is a publishing company. And, when you start going global, so must your content. This is where localization steps in, and this is why Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) need to understand localization.
In this post, we’ll talk about how CMOs of global corporations can use translation and localization services to deal with some of the issues that they grapple with daily, be it managing multilingual content, maintaining brand integrity, keeping pace with agile development, or staying within budget while launching in new markets.
1. Tier content and tailor it to international audiences
Your company creates different types of content: website copy, sales supporting material, help guides, and other marketing content, including social media posts. When launching your product into a new market, it’s a mistake to think that you will need to translate all of your content into the target language.
A language service provider (LSP) can work with you to tier the content according to its purpose and help prioritize its translation. For instance, marketing campaigns must always be translated first, while blog posts written for the home country audience may not need translation at all.
Content tiering also helps you determine the translation method you want to adopt for each type of content. Marketing copy usually needs the highest quality of translation; sometimes it may even have to be transcreated. If you possess tons of product description material, you might consider using post-edited machine translation. By varying the translation method and level of quality to suit the type of content, you can not only work within your budget, but are also able to speed things up.
Translation increases the findability of your content and makes inbound marketing work for you in international markets. Your consumers in markets abroad may not use the same terms as your domestic shoppers while looking for your products or services. For instance, while someone may look for “grey trousers” in the UK, they’ll look for “gray pants” in the US.
2. Use translation technology to build a consistent brand voice
Your volume of content is getting out of hand in one language, not to mention what happens when it’s translated into a dozen languages or so. This poses two challenges: how to manage multilingual content while holding on to a consistent brand identity, and how to integrate with content production to avoid a back-and-forth of original and translated material?
Enter translation technology — a blanket term for many solutions such as translation memory (TM), terminology tools, translation management systems (TMS), machine translation (MT), and more. Translation memory is a database of past translations, which makes it possible to avoid translating the same sentence or phrase again and again, thus saving time and money. When used with terminology tools, it can help maintain brand voice. TMs and termbases can also be used to train MT engines.
As for your requirement that everything connect to each other, cloud-based TMS can do just that. Translation tool vendors are also building connectors that will allow content to flow to and from pretty much any content management system (CMS). This way, localization managers can worry less about the exchange of files and instead concentrate more on quality.
3. Partner with global LSPs to take agile content across the world
With agile development, continuous translation is required to help your content go global. While connectors and cloud-based TMS provide the technical infrastructure, larger LSPs are adopting a follow-the-sun localization model to make this happen.
This is how it works: when a client hands off source files at the end of a US business day, production teams in China can pick up and prepare the files for handoff to the translators. When translation is finished, the strategically-placed PMs and localization engineers working during their business hours in Asia, EMEA or the Americas can receive and post-process the files for immediate handback to the client.
4. Access new markets as well as consolidate existing ones
You don’t always have to think of localization in the context of international marketing. Even if you’re operating in just one country, perhaps there are languages that you have not yet supported. Localizing content for these languages helps you gain an edge over competitors. Case in point is Spanish in the US.
5. Acquire customers in one of the least expensive ways
Just by localizing your existing content, you increase your chances of attracting the customer’s attention and subsequently tempt them into a transaction. Localization typically costs a fraction of the money spent on original content creation. So, this really is one of the least expensive ways to acquire customers.
Take the example of the hotel industry. If hotel chains are able to secure customers directly on their websites, rather than having them rerouted through online travel agents, they can make up to 15-18% more on the transactions. And, one of the factors that helps customers find the hotel’s website using a search keyword is high-quality translation.
Localization underpins all of your international marketing efforts, though it may not be obvious all of the time. For instance, personalization, which is currently all the rage, is near impossible without translation. Yet, it’s frequently taken for granted. Use localization services to turn your global content local. It’s too good of an advantage to be thrown away.