Marketing professionals are often tasked with not only launching a new product, but also coordinating the communications of the launch simultaneously in multiple countries. As enterprises experience increased pressure to expand globally, traditional methods of translating important brand information and marketing messages just aren’t cutting it.
Netflix, the leading provider of movie and TV streaming, announced this year that they were immediately expanding into 130 countries. Completing this rollout by the end of 2016 means that Netflix must quickly add languages like Arabic, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese to the 17 languages it already supports (not to mention the many foreign markets where Netflix is available in English, but not the local language). When brands embark on ambitious global rollouts like this, it becomes necessary to utilize technology for quick and accurate localization.
Solving the translation challenge with technology
So how do brand marketers ensure that their multilingual content keeps pace with the breakneck speed of global expansion? In his recent article on digital darwinism, Brian Solis suggests that only companies that embrace disruptive technology will achieve continued success. That point certainly holds true within the realm of localization and translation. Digitized business thrives on automation as does translation. Cloud-based translation solutions are seeing increased adoption because they allow busy digital marketers the option to automate the translation of marketing communications. As Solis reminds us, companies that do not innovate and transform the way they translate will be left behind.
Continuous translation vs. Traditional translation
In a recent interview with CMO.com, Brian Peters, Director of Management Consultancy at ARRYVE, said “It's a great tactic to create a big wave of consistent messaging and brand experience across markets. It conveys the impression that the business really has its act together.” In practice, riding that wave of consistent messaging across multilingual markets is nearly impossible without effective localization and continuous translation of new content iterations. Continuous translation should be agile, fast, and accessible in real time. Traditional translation - including FTP, emails back and forth to translators, and offline content approvals - is slow, expensive and lacks digital visibility. Innovations for connecting marketing teams with language service providers (LSP) will be the difference in whether your international communication strategy is continuous and well-networked, or static and siloed.
Steps to a more networked approach
With 3.12 billion Internet users worldwide in 2015 and at least 23 different languages to translate in major markets, corporations targeting consumers in various countries and emerging markets must localize their sites and communications. Here are a few ways to start automating those processes, moving to a cloud-based approach.
1. Don’t suffer from Language Afterthought Syndrome
The Gilbane Group, a leading content technology analyst firm, has studied the Language Afterthought Syndrome in depth. They define it as “a pattern of treating language requirements as secondary considerations within content strategies and solutions.” This is a common problem plaguing companies today, and it is one that is avoidable. To sidestep this hurdle, put more time into your pre-translation workflows by identifying: your most valuable content, how technical in nature your messaging will be, timelines and milestones for production, and which vendors you’ll use for localization and translation. Knowing the full range of content types that will require localization will help you to accurately scope work and ensure the proper procedures are in place with your LSP.
2. Dust off your style guides because you’re going to need them
Linguistic assets, such as glossaries, style guides and translation memories, help companies ensure brand protection and messaging consistency. Proper use of each of these assets is essential for successful localization, especially when you begin to scale your processes. Companies that decide to not invest in linguistic assets will likely see future translation expenses that far exceed what the initial investment would have been.
3. Determine where your content lives and look for direct integrations
Not only are there technology options for translating directly inside your content management systems, but you can also find integrations with your marketing automation tools, eCommerce software, CRM, and knowledge bases. Direct integrations will be vital to ensuring you are more efficient in localizing your content and can accurately predict project completion times for go-to-market campaigns. Prioritize the systems that contain your most important content and switch to a Translation Management System (TMS) that can integrate deep inside those applications.
4. Understand which translation cloud providers are truly cloud-based
Traditional translation management vendors will claim to have cloud offerings, but their on-premise software is still powering everything behind the scenes. On-premise software is both hard to implement and expensive to maintain. Imagine Salesforce.com without the AppExchange. You would either have to install Salesforce.com software (something that goes completely against their “End of Software” mission) or need to find custom coders to develop against the platform for a solution to your pain point - a costly and very time-consuming endeavor.
Alternatively, some vendors will take a version of your site, copy it onto a proxy server, and call it cloud. But this completely removes your content from your servers and from your content management system - limiting your control over your content, increasing your costs, and killing your SEO. Proxy undermines your CMS investment and limits the agile nature of cloud-based translation. This is why it’s critical that your cloud-based solution has an open API with a scalable network of integration partners that work inside of your business applications. A truly cloud-based solution will give you real time, on-demand access to your translation projects that are stored conveniently in your CMS and other applications.
As international marketers strive to make the the customer experience more personal, language barriers will continue to play a major role in either the success or failure of global marketing campaigns. Adopting a cloud-based translation technology is now a decisive factor for success.
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