Multilingual strategies that drive global revenue streams

Article posted by Robert Gorby, on behalf of SDL Plc

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strategies for a multilingual business website

An organization’s ability to globalize is commensurate to its ability to grow its revenues, customer base, and fund its innovation. For this reason, organizations can no longer wait to globalize, and must instead, quickly address the global market opportunity.

Communicating in these new markets is not just about translating marketing collateral and hiring a few in-country sales reps. With the growth of digital content, the diversity of communication channels, and the expectation of a personal online experience, organizations must deal with enormous complexity. Language enablement, technology integration, and local cultural sensitivity must combine to differentiate the company and product.

Mastering this complexity can be challenging but the results are worthwhile.
We’ve broken it down into 10 areas you should consider for driving revenue streams in new international markets:

1. Understand the potential and invest carefully

12 languages reach 90% of online audiences around the globe according to Common Sense Advisory. However, your strategy should be determined by data-driven analysis regarding the potential opportunities you have in region, your competitive positioning in that region (especially if there are native incumbents who have the home-court advantage), and your ability to execute locally. Try not to do too much too soon, it’s better to execute one or two languages exceptionally well than be mediocre in ten.

  • 2. Get the plan right

    Carefully consider the objective, strategy and tactics for each country or region:

    • What’s the objective? For the brand, for each product line
    • What’s the strategy? How are we going to hit those objectives in this country vs. our local and global competitors?
    • What tactics will we employ? The barriers we need to overcome, the promotions that will work, the traffic driving tools and media
    • Who are we targeting? The audience profile, the insights we have the context in which they encounter our website
    • What will engage with them? The key product or service benefit that we need to dial up in the context of the local competitive situation

    3. Build Awareness Through Translated Content

    In a survey of 152 digital experience managers conducted by Forrester in July of 2016, most organizations translate commercial content before translating anything else. This makes sense when considering the first step of the buyer journey is awareness and if the content they’re looking for is not in their language, ignorance of your product and brand will soon follow. Not everything has to be gold-plated; just the stuff that really counts. So start by asking yourself what’s the value-add of each element of your content and then match your investment to that. E.g. your website translation will be absolutely crucial in being expertly localized per region; however, a simple Machine Translation may be a good alternative to some of your user based content such as chat or email support where you need to gather a gist of the content rather than expertly translating absolutely all of this information.

    4. Choose a language partner with care

    The qualities of the translation partner you choose will be critical if you’re serious about winning in global markets. Here are the top things you should consider:

    • Quality – In-territory translators?
    • Consistency – Approval standards?
    • Range – All languages and a fit-for-purpose service range?
    • Cost savings – Translation Memory technology
    • Speed – Resources, tools and technology
    • Scalability— How do they streamline processes so you can focus on going global faster?

    5. Think global, enable local

    If your web and content team is located at an English speaking HQ but are creating content for the other side of the world, it’s easy to miss the unique cultural nuances that resonate with a local audience. Rather than trying to understand a culture that is not yours, leverage technologies that allow your local team to deliver a relevant, digital experience while staying connected to your core brand. For instance, some web content management systems allow organizations to componentize content so that you can pick and choose what appears for individual markets rather than mirroring your original site. This means that your local team can quickly swap out American football images for soccer images in Brazil or add products that are only sold in that marketplace while still being integrated into your content management system.

    The purpose of the exercise is to deliver a truly localized experience that goes beyond the words you translate.

    6. Streamline the whole process

    If you think translating all your content into just one additional language is a hassle, how will you manage doubling or tripling that workload? The good news is that smart and simple translation, collaboration and project management tools have been developed specifically to answer this growing need. They simplify getting quotes, managing budgets, progressing projects, collaborating with colleagues or maintaining version control by putting everything in a central portal. Check out our Managed Translation platform http://www.sdl.com/languagecloud/managed-translation/

    7. Translate only once

    Language database technologies called translation memories exist that ensure you never pay to translate the same sentence twice. The more reputable vendors you should consider leverage these computer assisted translation tools so that each new project you commission will be cheaper than the last. While it may be tempting to use a linguist you found on the internet who charges far less than a bigger vendor, you will end up paying more-especially at higher volumes-if the linguist cannot use translation memory.

    8. Boost your international SEO

    The SEO implications of localization is a major consideration in any multilingual strategy. It’s essential that localized keywords are added to your keyword database, to ensure consistency and correct density. A thorough analysis of the most useful keywords within each territory is essential – the best ones are not always the most obvious ones!

    9. Make your multimedia content multilingual

    Video is becoming pervasive because it’s effective. Forrester estimates that just 60 seconds of video is worth 1.8 million printed words.¹

    So it’s worth localizing and if you’re planning to create new content in these formats, it’s important to consider their global application in order to maximize their usage and potential benefits. Consider the imagery and footage that you use and how well this will translate or travel around the world. Are there any significant cultural differences or nuances you need to take into account? Also consider the multimedia system you are using. Does it understand how to manage and publish localized media files?

    10. Consistent Terminology

    Every business is likely to have unique terminology that helps with differentiation, branding and global communication. Terminology becomes increasingly important in order to communicate effectively with customers worldwide. Consider establishing an effective way of managing your terminology in order to benefit from great reuse of your content and therefore reduced costs in your translation.

    ¹Reuters, “A minute of video is worth 1.8 million words, according to Forrester research,” April 17, 2014.

    To read more about why language is key to success in new international markets, click here to visit some of our resources online: http://www.sdl.com/languagecloud/managed-translation/learn/resources.html