As your brand grows in this digital-only world, the content you have online explodes as well. It’s your FAQs, product descriptions, customer service content, and user-generated content (UGC) such as product reviews. And since being online means you are inherently doing business globally, the amount of translated content is increasing as well.
To many of you, translating all this content may seem too expensive, too slow, hard to manage and organize or even out of control. Managing the vast volume of content doesn’t have to overpower you if you take a logical approach. Here are six tips.
1. Prioritize your content for translation
Tier your content to decide what to translate and what not to. Highly popular FAQs? Videos with high views? Absolutely. Other content just sits there (a user manual PDF, anyone??). Don’t bother translating it.
And you also have to weigh which content is easy or fast to translate and which is not (see number four below). If it’s popular content and quick to translate, it’s a no-brainer—such as product reviews.
2. Let go of perfect quality
It’s no longer controversial to say that translation quality isn’t a top priority in some cases. A user may be so thrilled to have content in their own language that they are willing to overlook some mistakes. Making content available instantly—but not perfect—can make a huge impact on user experience. You can get content out there faster and more cheaply if you skip some of your QA steps—a formal edit by a third party after translation, for example, may not be needed.
3. Choose fewer languages
One way to reduce the cost of providing content to global markets is to just not translate it at all. Of course, this is not ideal because you can shun some of your markets. So, you need to prioritize: where are most of your customers? Where do you see the largest growth? Focus on those first and do the others later. (Check out our post on how to select languages.)
Look into using Machine Translation (MT) to speed up translating certain content types. For example, if your users will get along fine with a translation that gives the gist—think customer reviews, FAQs or chat content—then MT is a great choice. You can customize an engine for your industry, and literally translate content in minutes. (Don’t try this with high-profile marketing content, though, which needs the full, creative human process.) Then, depending on quality requirements, you can decide whether to post-edit it or not.
5. Community-translate it
Let your users decide which content they want translated—and then perform the translations themselves. If you can bring them together via a collaboration tool and incentivize them (with previews of new products? recognition? coupons?), this model could work for you.
A community can also edit and validate terminology, helping drive the quality of your conent even further.
6. Stop generating it
Are customers barely looking at your user manuals or written FAQs? Then stop creating that content entirely and focus on what your users find most useful.
Considering all the online content supporting your product (whether you or your users generate it), you need a content localization strategy to make sure it’s optimized for each market. You can get translated content out there to your global customers with a thoughtful approach that takes content type, quality requirements, speed, and market size into account.