If you have eight seconds to get a customer’s attention, asking them to read content they can’t understand will fail you every time. Did you know that 87 percent of customers who can’t read English won’t buy products or services from English-language websites?

Multilingual Content Pays Off

When it comes to reaching new worldwide audiences, most global companies recognize the value of multilingual content. So much so, in fact, that translation memory databases are legally considered to be corporate assets.

According to bytelevel research, global organizations now support an average of thirty languages. 

What’s more, Fortune 500 companies with localized content are two times more likely to increase profit and 1.25 times more likely to increase their year-over-year earnings per share. 

Localization Goes Beyond Translation

The words “translation” and “localization” are often used interchangeably, but while their meanings are related, they are not one and the same. Translation looks at the word-level process of moving between languages. Localization captures not only language but also accounts for cultural nuances, meaning and impact.

Localization includes the subtleties of idioms, metaphors and tone, as well as the format in which the content is delivered, be it print, digital, or part of a user interface. 

For instance, the phrase “Like father, like son” localized for a Chinese audience would roughly read: “Tigers do not breed dogs.” While this translation doesn’t match up word-for-word, the connotation is carried through to the target language.  

Capturing Meaning Can Mean Headaches

Similarly, the context in which translated content appears needs to be localized as well. For example, the word “file” can be a noun or a verb. If the word is describing a collection of information stored on a computer or device under a single name, it would be translated into Swedish as “fil.” But if you are referring to the “file” drop-down menu in a computer document, the proper translation is “arkiv.” And if you’re using “file” as a verb, then the Swedish translation is “spara som.”

Using “spara som” for “file” also illustrates how translations often expand the original character requirements of the source language. Some adjustment to the user interface or document layout is often necessary to accommodate the text expansion and in some languages, that expansion can be as much as 50 percent. 

Plan Ahead for Local Impact

With all of this in mind, it becomes clear that what most organizations want is not translation, but rather to have the same impact on their localized target markets that they intended for their original audience.

Learning Opportunities

Yet, the side of the business that manages translations is often separate from the sides of the business that use these translations to communicate with global audiences.

The result? Your global customers can easily fall victim to disjointed translation and content management efforts, translating for them into message confusion and bad customer experience. 

Build a Flexible CMS 

Achieving seamless global content management requires more than just linguists: It requires a holistic perspective on how content is created and distributed for each market. 

It requires the streamlining of inefficient and error-prone approaches to translation that employ a “cut-and-paste” mentality and rely on multiple spreadsheets and disconnected business applications. 

It also requires flexible architecture in your CMS, as well as planning ahead to leave lots of white space in source documents to allow for automatic resizing in UIs.  

Integrate Technologies for Global CX

The holistic identification of global content priorities and integration of the technologies to deliver them is precisely what will enable global organizations to meet the demand for relevant content in each customer’s own dialect. An overarching approach will minimize manual labor and its resulting errors, resulting in a better experience for global customers. 

A commitment to relevant content based on cultural references, customs, values and beliefs is a surefire way to boost your brand’s competitive edge. Establishing a seamless connection between translation processes and nuanced localization can create true global brand consistency for your company. Translation? Happy, loyal customers wherever they may be.