Creating messages that resonate in one language is stressful enough, but that stress is amplified when you begin to add more and more languages to the mix. You have to consider how much of your messaging is universal and can be translated directly or whether you need to transcreate messages so they make sense in different languages and cultures.
While there is no magic bullet that will solve all of your global content needs, I have found that following these four keys to global content creation will give you a strong footing as you expand your brand internationally.
1. Assess Content Needs
The first thing you’ll want to do before taking your content global is assess the content you have already created in your native language. What’s performing well and why? Then determine what content is worth translating and repurposing in other markets.
In the past translating a few key web pages was enough to satisfy other markets, but that is no longer the case. Brands need to deliver fully realized campaigns in all of the languages they do business. To grow your business internationally, ambitious brands should focus on global fluency. Which leads us to our next key to creating killer global content — having an in-depth cultural understanding of all of your markets.
2. Understand the Culture
It’s no secret that every region, every country, and every market has different tastes and preferences and exhibits different buying behaviors. Not all of your messages are going to resonate in every language. Brands that don’t take the time to learn about differences in culture, languages, and dialect could end up doing more harm than good to the brand.
Brands that truly understand the concept of global fluency create messages that feel local, even if they are headquartered thousands of miles away in a different country, because the messages exhibit a knowledge of regional idiosyncrasies, shows respect for cultural differences, and an understanding of the different buyer behavior.
The fastest way to gain a true understanding of the different cultures where your brand conducts business is to hire local marketers. This will level the playing field with local competition and give you a leg up on your global competitors who don’t put in the effort to cater to local tastes.
3. Personalize Messaging
Once you have the proper understanding of culture, your brand should be ready to create personalized, market-specific messaging. But many US-based companies still operate under a ‘lift-and-drop’ mentality where content, marketing campaigns, and product literature are created in US English and translated directly for other English and non-English speaking audiences.
You might not think this would matter much, but even when moving from US English to UK English, there are a number of subtle differences. If your brand fails to take these into account, you risk turning off prospects, confusing customers, or worse, losing them forever to another brand.
Take the following differences into account:
- Spelling: localization vs. localisation
- Meaning: fries vs. chips vs. crisps
- Phrasing: two weeks vs. fortnight
- Formats: month/day/year vs. day/month/year
- Naming conventions: snow peas vs. mange-tout
Failure to understand cultural differences in your brand messaging could result in unhappy customers at best or at worst could cause you to offend consumers or even lose potential business.
4. Use Technology to Your Advantage
Finally, if you want your content to scale globally it is imperative to use technology to streamline the translation and localization process. Traditionally the process for translating and localizing content has been hard and laborious — basically a job that no one wanted to do. But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.
Translation management software that integrates into your content management systems, marketing automation platforms, and code repositories can automate as much as 90% of the manual processes that were previously associated with translation and localization. By eliminating manual processes, you can reduce costs and speed up the time to market for your content, while also improving quality and consistency of your marketing collateral.
Following these four keys might not eliminate all of the stress associated with your job, but they will definitely make your job a little easier and help jump start your brand’s international growth.