The fastest way to provide current information to the majority of customers worldwide is through the World Wide Web, also known as your online presence. But do your site and your social media posts “speak to” everyone that may be interested in your product or service? According to Common Sense Advisory research, a company wanting to reach 90% of the online world will need to market their products and/or services in 14 languages, including Arabic and Chinese.
To properly create and support this large of a target represents a considerable investment. While many companies do invest, it is usually only for an already established demand in a certain market. This means their message is not reaching millions of potential customers who may want the information in their own native language.
Obviously, not all companies have the resources, or the need, to do business in 14 languages. Websites, manuals, mobile apps and social media all play a part in the marketing chain; investing in translation and support for numerous languages can require a sizable budget.
How, then, should a company organize its resources to obtain the optimum advantage in its language choices? After all, every company is different and one solution is not suitable for all. However, with proper research and planning for your specific situation, you can prioritize to ensure that your budget is well spent on optimizing the languages that will increase your sales and improve your level of service, as every customer can attest they prefer to receive information in their native tongue.
Study the international markets where you have the most success: What materials have you translated in those countries? Though they accept content in English, have you translated any materials to benchmark the response? Do you just assume a localized version is not wanted or needed because it has not been done to date? Do you have data and feedback that indicates more content in the native language of the local market will improve future sales?
Get detailed information about your customers, including the use of web analytics. Where are they? What languages do they speak? Do they want to engage with you through social media? This will help you make an informed choice, based on your budget, about which languages and types of content you need to reach your targeted audiences.
Use Your Budget Wisely
Use the data you have collected about your customers to decide how best to invest in translation. For example, if your customers in Canada are Facebook enthusiasts, then it makes sense to translate into Canadian French material for Facebook, so they will find engaging content and be able to communicate with your company and other customers in that venue. On the other hand, if you have had success in a particular country with a marketing campaign in English, perhaps you can give higher priority to translation for a different language instead. Or, looking at it from another perspective, even though marketing and sales may function quite well with only one or two languages, product documentation and user training materials might be required in many more languages. This is a significant consideration when it comes to safety and liability. Though you may not have required translated materials to sell your product, the material required to safely and correctly use the product should be translated.
Study the market place and see where your product might do well in an emerging market. For example investing in Spanish translation not only reaches Mexico and 20 other Spanish-speaking countries, but it also enhances communication within the United States, where Spanish is the most widely used non-English language. You can also discuss with your translation partner the use of more generic terms to ensure comprehension by most users, like International Spanish, or specific to a country — which is by far more appropriate if you want to really speak your audience language.
Finally, do not be tempted to save money by having your translation completed by someone in the office or worse yet, a machine translation. Your company’s translation and localization should be completed by professional translators who are experienced in the subject matter and are native speakers of the language. Errors and omissions insurance should be carried by the translator and there should be established quality assurance controls in place to ensure your company’s image is not in the hands of an amateur.
Worldwide customers can be reached quickly and your content shared faster than ever before with all of the online venues and social media available today. Before placing content online, though, you should ensure the information is relevant and correct in any language as “speed can kill” your company’s reputation.
Terralingua is an ISO-certified professional translation services agency specializing in the accurate communication of corporate content. You can find out more information about their services and clients as well as request a quote at www.terralinguatranslations.com or by calling to one of our local offices.