How to Translate Business Content in a Complex Content Landscape

How complex is your content? This is a deceptively easy question, because the answer seems tied to what your content says and how much you need to convert. In fact, there are many factors that affect your ability to translate business content in-house and as efficiently as possible. The following is how you take control of your content before complexity takes over:

The Future, Today?

For many companies, the simplest route from original content to full translation lies with technology. As reported by The New York Times, language translation technology is finally starting to pay dividends with real-time voice services such as Skype and email conversion tools such as those available from Google. Cloud-based translation software for website and app localization is also gaining ground among companies that want the benefits of automating the non-linguistic steps in translation projects, combined with the expertise of human language experts.

However, technology alone isn’t enough to solve the problem of translating business content. Why? Because until you can quantify the complexity of your content needs, it’s impossible to find the right solution. Underestimate, and you’re stuck trying to do too much with too little; overestimate, and you’re paying for translation services you don’t need.

The Complexity Constant

What exactly is “complex” when it comes to content? As noted by GALA, intellectual property in the form of patents is a good example. While the entire US economy relies on some form of intellectual property because virtually every industry either produces or uses it, patent translations are often handled inefficiently, with little transparency and almost no oversight. This is worrisome because patents contain some of the most specific and important language about a company’s core product offerings and in many cases, are the basis of any legal challenges or rebuttals. So, yes, complexity can absolutely take the form of highly structured and specific documents, but this is just the beginning.

According to The Content Complexity Worksheet, there are up to 15 factors that all affect the overall complexity of your business content. The following are some of the most important:

  • Creators: How many groups in your organization are creating content? Departments such as marketing, human resources and legal all have different content standards and may use differing formats.
  • Volume: How much content is each of these groups producing? As your company grows, so does this number, meaning you have more web-based and local content to translate.
  • File Types: Which file types are used to store content? Are different formats used for publishing? Unifying .doc, .xls, .html, and .pdf files can be time-consuming.
  • Channels: Where is your content distributed? Websites, blogs, social media feeds, and help desks all come with unique translation needs.
  • Languages: What’s your source language? Is there more than one? How many publication languages do you need? This can easily reach dozens or even hundreds for large enterprises.
  • Updates: How often is your content updated? Continual updates are great for customer retention, but this means content must be translated again with each revision.

Ahead of the Curve

So, how do you get ahead of the curve when it comes to business documents, mobile apps, and website localization? First, evaluate where you fall on the complexity scale. If you have a large variety of content formats, creators, and languages, then you need the help of on-demand translation and localization services that automate essential processes and empower language experts. If you’re just starting to localize in other countries, you may be able to handle conversion in-house for the time being, but it’s a good idea to future-proof your content needs by tapping into scalable translation tools that can grow in power along with the complexity of your needs.

Expanding global reach requires you to translate website and business content accurately and efficiently. Before paying big bucks for translation services, however, start by figuring out where you fall on the scale of content complexity. Assess first and translate second to find the balance between spend and speed.

Learn More

Access The Content Complexity Worksheet below, or contact us today to see how the right translation tools can simplify your global content strategy.

The Content Complexity Worksheet

About Doug Bonderud

Doug Bonderud is a freelance technology writer with a passion for telling great stories about unique brands. For the past five years, he's covered everything from cloud computing to home automation and IT security. He speaks some French, is fluent in Ancient Greek and a master of Canadian English — and yes, colour needs a 'u'.