Translating Success: Tips for Multilingual Marketing

As the digital age continues to connect the global community, companies of all sizes are finding it easier than ever to expand their borders and do business internationally.

“With the most significant population growth and increases in purchasing power occurring in parts of the world where English is either not spoken or is not the preferred language, companies are increasingly doing business in regions outside of their home market,” said Judd Marcello, vice president of marketing at Smartling, a translation management system.

But bringing your business into a foreign market isn’t as simple as opening up a store there or advertising that you ship your products overseas. If you really want to develop a strong presence outside your home country, you have to make sure you are, quite literally, speaking your audience’s language.

“Companies must be able to communicate with customers in their native language, not the default language of the company,” Marcello said. “The results of a 2014 Common Sense Advisory Group survey make it clear — 75 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product if the information is presented in their own language.”

“Marketers want their campaigns to evoke emotion,” added Caitlin Nicholson, business development specialist at LinguaLinx, a translation and global marketing service provider. “This is achieved through an understanding of the different types of consumers, their habits and their culture, [and] language is tied very closely to culture and identity.”

With the right strategies, the right messages and the right technology, you can make the translation process faster and easier while saving money and getting ahead of your competition, Marcello said. Here are a few key do’s and don’ts U.S. brands should follow when they’re translating or adapting their marketing materials for global audiences. [15 Tech Tools to Help Take Your Business Global]

Even if you or some of your employee are fluent in the languages you want to translate materials into, this is a task that’s best left to the professionals.

“Don’t simply rely on bilingual employees for translation of your foreign language marketing materials,” Nicholson said. “They may have good knowledge of the target language, but not the skill set of a professional linguist. In addition, they may not have a marketing background or familiarity with translating marketing materials and corporate communications.”

Whether it’s a freelancer or a full-scale translation service, the person or firm you hire should have a great reputation. Nicholson advised using in-country native speakers, if possible. They not only have knowledge of the language, but also live within your target market, so they’ll know about cultural sensitivities, current events and other nuances that will make translations relevant and engaging, she said.

Marcello noted that the provider you choose should be based on a number of factors, including  how specialized your content is, how many languages you need to translate your content into, and the overall scope of your translation project.

“If your project is limited, such as translating content for just one market, a freelance translator may be your best bet,” he said.

Word-for-word translations don’t always resonate the right way, so transcreation —translation plus creation — may be necessary so your materials don’t lose their impact.

“[Transcreation] takes translation to the next level where you adapt marketing content so that the words and the meaning carry the same weight in different cultures,” Nicholson said.

Marcello said that not all translation agencies and language service providers are adept at transcreation, so you may need to hire a specialist to handle this process.

Your brand’s English marketing materials likely have a distinct “voice,” so you’ll want to make sure your translated content has that same tone in any language. Marcello advised creating style and editorial guidelines for translators, marketers and content creators to follow in order to keep your branding consistent.

“In addition to setting the bar on content quality, developing guidelines will help your brand maintain a fluid and consistent tone, which is crucial to global marketing success,” he said. “Keywords related to your brand and any commonly used industry jargon, including acronyms and abbreviations, should be included to ensure accuracy and avoid mistakes.”

Nicholson agreed, and noted that you should provide reference materials like glossaries and previously translated content to help translators or content creators gauge the tone you’re looking for.

Once your materials are translated, send them through one more round of reviews to make sure everything is error-free, and that they meet your established guidelines, Marcello said.

It’s tempting to want to use free services like Google Translate for quick tasks or short pieces of content, but Nicholson and Marcello both agreed that a human translator should be used for every professional project, big or small.

“Machine translation tools … are often unnatural, inaccurate, error-prone, and lack needed context,” Marcello said. “More importantly, they will not enable companies to localize their marketing content to reflect cultural nuances, which is critical to ensuring native brand experiences.”

“If it is meant to be consumed by humans, then it should be translated by humans,” Nicholson added.

Translation doesn’t just encompass going from English to a foreign language. Because of the different regional dialects and colloquialisms, English-to-English materials sometimes need a bit of tweaking to make sense to a local audience.

“Many U.S. firms wisely target new markets still within the English language world as a first step to selling internationally, but this still requires research and localization of search terms and marketing assets,” said Richard Stevenson, head of communications for global e-commerce software “Consumers in countries such as Canada, Great Britain, Ireland and Australia expect to see and hear local market terms, and your products [must be] explored in the right context for them to confidently buy from you. For instance, if you sell umbrellas, both British and Australian shoppers would be attracted to the local term ‘brolly.’”

Stevenson added that dialects should be considered in non-English translations as well.

“In Spain, for example, there are four distinct dialects in use by region, and this could have an impact on your choice of campaign terms depending on your target audience, third-party resources, sources of your Web traffic, etc.,” he told Business News Daily. “You may need to modify language in line with regional sales patterns.”

A multilingual campaign involves more than another language, Nicholson said. It involves another culture, another way of looking at and experiencing the world. This means that, even with a perfect translation, your campaign materials still may not make sense to your audience.

“Marketers often uses puns, slang, humor, metaphors and pop culture references [to] appeal to their audience,” Nicholson said. “You are trying to say the right things in compelling ways, but the right thing to one culture might not be the right thing to another, and what’s compelling to one culture might be confusing or offensive to other cultures.”

Because of this, Nicholson said it’s important to look at the premise of your campaign and make sure it’s appropriate for the other culture. You might need to come up with a different angle and have the copy written in the target language by a translator, she said.

Original article published here: Business News Daily

6 mistakes to avoid when launching a global website #InsideSaaS

Launching a new website is one thing. Launching a new website targeted at a broad, global audience is something different. At least it’s more complex than you probably think of.

In this blog post we’ll show you how to avoid common pitfalls in website translation and become a global champion.

Launching a global website

#InsideSaaS – Our journey to global success

We at Usersnap teamed up with Linoghub to share our biggest learnings and tips for taking your SaaS business to global success. In the last years we made a lot of progress in targeting a global audience. We experienced a lot of learnings, made some mistakes and also had some great success. So we decided to share our journey with you.

In our first blog post, I’ve shown you some insights why there’s more than English as your prior language. In the second article, Anja gave you seven excellent tips on going international with your website.

So, here they are. The top 6 mistakes you should avoid when translating your website and launching a global website.

1. Not asking essential questions on going global

So, you might have recently launched your product and you saw some spikes in traffic on your website coming from countries which you haven’t expected.

And now you’re considering going global with your website. It sounds so tempting, right?

However, this traffic-driven considerations often lack basic – but strategic – questions when it comes to going global with your product or service.

Before thinking about going global with your website, you should consider the following questions:

  • Is there a need or awareness for your product or service in certain countries?
  • Are your products adapted for local markets?
  • Are there any legal / political restrictions in your newly targeted countries which might make it complex to launch your product/service?
  • How are you going to handle customer service (in terms of language & time zone differences)?
  • How are you going to target your potential customers in those new markets?

These are just some of the first questions which should pop up when thinking about a global launch.

2. Only relying on quantitative data from Google

Don’t get me wrong. Google and its different tools are a great starting point. With the Google Keyword Tool and the Google Global Market Finder you have great tools at your fingertips for evaluating the market potential of certain countries.

The Global Market Finder enables you to find new countries based on various search terms and the existing competition (= adwords advertisers). The Market Finder from Google basically combines the number of local search queries and the cost-per-click of local ads.

Launching a global website using Google Global Market Finder

However there are a couple of things to consider when making use of those tools:

  • The basis for all those evaluations are keywords and search terms. You need to have an excellent knowledge about various local markets in order to understand which keywords are used in which use cases.
  • The Google Market Finder relies 100% on Google Adwords, which might not reflect the real market situation.
  • There might be interesting countries out there, where Google isn’t that popular and not the main search tool.

3. Localizing content by putting it into Google Translate

As automated translation services become more and more popular, people tend to believe that a website translation can easily be done with Google Translate. Yes – it can be done. However, results show that the current state of automated translation is still of low quality.

Especially when it comes to marketing copy and technical terms, an automated translation won’t get you anywhere.

Better make sure to invest time and money in a great translation service.

4. Focusing only on website copy

As Anja wrote in her last blog post, there’s way more to consider than text translation. Preparing a website for a new language includes more tasks than just focusing on the website copy.

Making sure that screenshots, images, meta descriptions and og data are translated as well is a core and essential step in every website translation process.

Do not underestimate the time necessary for translating all meta information and images as well.

5. Not thinking about local content distribution

You might think that you’ve done your job as soon as you’re done with the translation tasks. You’re not. Translating your website is just the first step.

When entering new countries and new target audiences you better should be prepared to adjust your content distribution strategy. Especially when expanding to other regions and continents this is an important topic.

Facebook is popular in Europe and North America. However, there might be other (maybe better) networks available. VKontakte in Russia, Mixi in Japan, or WeChat in China. There’s a lot of unknown when it comes to social networks, content distribution and UX in other countries.

6. Only considering language barriers

Language is a huge barrier for a lot of people. Taking into account that English is only ranked 3rd when it comes to the most common languages on this planet (yes – on the 3rd place after Mandarin & Spanish), it becomes even a larger barrier.

And besides language, there are probably a ton of other market entry barriers which every company should consider. Even if you’re a software company selling a software solution to various markets, you might (re-)consider various soft facts.

Besides legal and political entry barriers, there’re probably a bunch of cultural differences to take into consideration.

Here’s why cultural differences also matter in business communication:

Wrapping it up.

Launching a multiple language website might sound like an easy win in the first place. However, translating your website is an intense phase during every project where people tend to forget about important tasks. By avoiding the mentioned mistakes and making use of great translation services, you can ensure an efficient and transparent way of translating your website.

Original article published here: Lingohub