Let us begin with a story: in February 2008, Facebook took the first step toward global domination by launching the Spanish version of its website. In the following 4 months, Facebook usage doubled in Spanish-speaking countries.
Facebook then localized its site for each Spanish-speaking country and region that were represented. 3 months later, usage across localized countries had increased 6-fold.
The point is: your company can also dramatically increase its reach and relevance by dynamically targeting specific audiences through content translation and localization.
WHY TRANSLATE AND LOCALIZE YOUR CONTENT?
You should care about translating and localizing your content if there is even a remote chance that your product or service could be accessed or purchased by someone who speaks a language other than the one your content is currently in.
Here is why:
- A study of 2,430 web consumers in eight countries found that 72.4% of consumers said they are more likely to buy a product with information in their own language
- The same study found that more than half of consumers were willing to pay more to companies that provide information in their languages
- A European Commission study from 23 countries showed that 9 out of 10 internet users always visit websites in their own language when given a choice
- The same EU study showed 42% of consumers never purchase products or services in other languages (nearly 50% refuse to buy without information in their languages)
Call it the comfort factor – people prefer not to have to work too hard to get information that shapes their opinions and purchasing decisions.
WHAT DOES TRANSLATION AND LOCALIZATION MEAN?
You will often hear a number of words used in reference to translating content and their definitions can be confusing. So, just to be sure we are speaking the same language, let us clarify what each word means.
- Translation: refers to the process of translating content from one language to another;
- Localization: goes beyond translation to adapt the translated content and other site elements to audience specific cultural preferences and expectations. This is critical when translating technical, educational or medical information including for example converting measurements from metric to U.S. standard, or using specific colors or references in graphics or images.
Then there is also:
- Internationalization: the process of ensuring that your site’s architecture and platforms can handle multiple languages and cultural conventions. For example, right-to-left alphabets such as Arabic or Hebrew;
- Globalization: achieved after translation, localization and internationalized, once content, systems and platforms are optimized for multilingual search engine optimization.
The above processes and techniques can be applied to any content, system or platform your company produces or uses:
- Multilingual websites;
- Technical documentation;
- Culturally sensitive marketing materials, including videos, pictures, graphics;
- Social Media content creation and management;
- Instructions or help documents;
- Company reports;
- Training or educational materials;
- Any content you create and distribute – either internally or externally can benefit from being translated. Any external materials that interface with potential customers would benefit from being localized.
HOW DO WE HELP WITH YOUR TRANSLATION AND LOCALIZATION NEEDS?
Translation and localization efforts should not be treated as an afterthought. The key is to plan early and answer the right questions. Below is a partial list of items to consider as you prepare:
- What are your global business goals?
- Have you defined and analyzed target markets, languages, cultures and other local customs?
- There are over 7000 spoken languages and dialects. Do you know which one(s) to focus on?
- Do your company name and brand names work in your target markets or do they need to be adapted?
- Are there any cultural issues or trademark conflicts?
- How will localization affect business processes and systems?
- For web projects
- Are the business objectives of your corporate and global websites the same or different?
- Do you have the right technology to support multilingual operations?
- Do you have a strategy for prioritizing website content for localization?
- Do you have a defined multilingual search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and the resources to execute it?
- Have you registered the appropriate country specific domain names and extensions?
Axellium helps you prepare for, plan and execute your translation and localization effort so your content is culturally relevant and effective, and aligned with your corporate goals and objectives.
WHEN TO CONSIDER TRANSLATION AND LOCALIZATION?
The world has become very small. For most businesses, target markets and audiences expand well beyond the reach of their own borders. But even when they don't, local markets are already multi-cultural. Whether half way around the globe or just next door, your products and services are likely relevant to individuals who would consider them, if they only knew about them. Translating and localizing your content is one of the best ways to make your content accessible.
- Increased target audience
- Increased cultural relevance and trust
- Improved ability to target potential customers