The universal challenge for most companies today is delivering a customer experience that transcends geographical boundaries. And engaging customers regardless of geography and cultural expectations is no small feat. From a content perspective, a significant part of the challenge is defining the relevancy of information provided throughout the customer lifecycle. For non-English consumers, a key facet of relevancy is information in their native language. As Kaija reminds us her blog on Multilingual Terminology, “you can always buy in your own language, but you must sell in your customer’s language.”
As companies expand multinational revenue goals to include emerging markets such as China, India, and Latin America, providing content “in context” becomes even more important. From this perspective, localization strategies for various markets become much more than a cost burden. Rather, they become a driver of competitive advantage and a strong foundation for global brand management. This clearly extends potential benefits way beyond project and product-specific ROI.
Certainly, most companies cannot afford to “just translate everything.” And in fact, mass translation without any prioritization based on geographic market analysis is inevitably a money pit. Think of it this way: geography and culture are both market segments to be evaluated for the revenue, brand presence, and customer base they can provide
That means a localization strategy should have significant amounts of collaboration between departments such as marketing, sales, operations, technical documentation, and customer support. This enables everyone who “touches the customer” to understand market segment goals and priorities. Then, defining the level of translated content provided and where/how it gets used should match corporate goals (in addition to the expectations of the targeted audience!)
And here’s where it gets tricky. We’ve found that the problem for organizations is less about the act of translation itself, and more about aligning the business processes that support it. The good news is that many companies are sharing their challenges, successes, and best practices on tackling this very problem. Check out our Content Technology Works site to read their stories.