Localization Strategies for Global Content Operations

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Thanks to online translating tools, you can easily translate any website’s content at the click of a button. Translation alone, though, won’t cut it when it comes to understanding cultural nuances of a language or people.

For example, the phrase “won’t cut it” probably won’t work as a direct translation in most languages other than English. And even within English, there’s plenty of variation. From spelling differences, like “color” (US) or “colour” (UK), to how people refer to everyday items, such as “chips” (US) or “crisps” (UK), it’s important to be aware of how small changes in your content may have a big impact on how that message is received.

Understanding the Importance of Localization in Global Content Operations

Localization is a process that transforms content that makes sense in one region into content that is just as clear and impactful to an audience in a different region. It’s a comprehensive process that involves much more than simply translating text.

It takes into account:

  • Phrasing and syntax

  • Cultural nuances

  • Formatting and design (colors, fonts, layouts)

  • Local laws and regulations

Content localization can make or break your marketing strategy when trying to engage audiences outside your standard demographics. When executed thoughtfully, content localization allows your brand to adapt flawlessly to cultural nuances and help you connect to people in new markets. But if done half-heartedly, poor translations or cultural blunders may make customers think twice before interacting with your business.

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Benefits of Localization

Increased Global Reach

By localizing your content, it becomes more relevant to local search engines. This improves your organic search results and allows you to expand your brand’s visibility.

Increased Customer Loyalty

Customers are more likely to identify with your brand if they see that you’re making an effort to understand their unique perspectives and pain points. This loyalty boosts your organic reach as customers are more likely to make referrals.

Better User Experience

When it comes to navigating a website or using an app, users are quick to look for alternate solutions if they experience frustration or usability issues. Localization across all content ensures that all users feel catered to and have their needs met.

Higher Sales and Conversion Rates

A better user experience also translates to higher sales and conversion rates. You can customize your localized content to address local practices or seasonal trends.

Lower Risk of Legal Issues

An often overlooked area of content localization is its role in lowering the risk of encountering legal issues due to local laws and regulations. The EU, for example, has different rules for user privacy rights than the US, so websites launched in those regions need to have different browser cookie agreements.

Key Components of an Effective Localization Strategy

Brand and Marketing Content

This includes every piece of content that sells your products or services. Whether it’s product pages, blog posts, advertisements, or ?About Us? pages, everything should be localized and in sync.

Technical Content

This includes product documentation, user guides, FAQ sections, product descriptions and more. These pieces of content can often be ignored during localization efforts,  but they are crucial when it comes to customers actually using your product.

Legal Content

Not to be overlooked, legal agreements such as Terms of Use, Privacy Policies, and other disclaimers should be aligned with the laws of your targeted region. Have a regional legal expert consult on this process, as small errors can potentially lead to bigger consequences.

Back-end/System Content

Down to every last UX component, localization is essential for a cohesive customer experience. This includes things like button text, file formats, forms, number and date formats, and other conventions that may vary slightly from region to region.

Contact Information

Don’t forget to update your addresses, phone numbers, and other contact information specific to your targeted audience. If they can’t reach your company at a convenient local time, their enthusiasm for your products or services may diminish.

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Leveraging Technology for Streamlined Localization

Content teams that want to streamline their localization efforts should look into project management technology that supports translation and other aspects of the localization process.

With the rapid development of machine learning and artificial intelligence, content marketers can leverage AI-enabled tools to increase the speed and accuracy of their translations. Automated tools are becoming increasingly utilized in the localization process to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Translation management systems (TMS) play a key role in:

  • Managing preferred terminology

  • Organizing translation and localization workflows

  • Managing databases of past translations and content

  • Tracking and analyzing data related to the localization process

However, it’s important to remember that the purpose of content localization is to enhance the credibility and persuasiveness of your message, so while leveraging technology can help you stay on top of your localization workflow, humans are still needed to provide a personalized touch.

Overcoming Challenges in Global Content Operations

Managing the localization efforts of global content ops can quickly become overwhelming if you’re not aware of the common pitfalls and how to avoid them. Here are a few tips for frequent localization challenges.

Stay Within Budget

Localizing content across multiple regions and markets can be expensive. Plan ahead by preparing detailed budgets that take into account all of the costs related to translation, technical implementation, and quality assurance.

Be Aware of Legal Risks

New markets represent new risks. Before launching any content marketing campaigns in unchartered territory, ensure that your legal teams are well-informed of any potential compliance issues.

Invest in Experienced Translators

The quality of your translations is the backbone of your localization efforts. Don’t underestimate the value of human experts vs. automated machine translations. Experienced translators will be able to pick up on subtle but crucial nuances that software may overlook.

Utilize Advanced Tools

Choose the right technology that will serve your organizational needs within your budget. Consider the details. How will the tool handle multi-language content updates across different formats and publishing channels? How will it impact your existing version control workflows? What integrations does it support?

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Measuring the Success of Localization Strategies

How will you evaluate the success of your localization strategies? Analytics tools can help track your global content performance, but you should also be measuring how effective your localization is by tracking metrics such as:

  • Content turnaround time

  • Cost-per-word or per-piece

  • Throughput rate

  • Reviews required

  • % Right first-time quality

  • % Translation error rate

  • % Translation milestones met or on-time deliveries

  • % Content recycled

  • % Translation ROI

Remember that it’s not enough just to be effective at content localization itself. Ultimately, these efforts should serve your wider organizational goals and objectives. Consider how your localization strategies impact more general marketing objectives and their effect on related KPIs such as:

  • New customers acquired

  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC)

  • % Visitor conversion

  • Traffic metrics (by country and language)

  • % Market share

  • Net promoter score

  • Support calls: resolution rate and customer satisfaction

  • Multilingual SEO metrics

  • Overall customer satisfaction

As you continue to track various metrics and evaluate your success, aim for continuous improvement and adjust your targets as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Related Resources