As a marketer, when you want to expand your reach into the global market, you face one big challenge: there is no such thing as a global market. What there is, however, is a worldwide tapestry of local markets filled with customers who are ready to hear about your brand, as soon as they see you are talking to them, not to that imaginary global customer.
Reaching consumers where they live—otherwise known as localization—begins with speaking their language. This is why language, translation, and translation management are such important elements of localization.
Translation Software and Translation Management
If you say, “translation software,” most people probably think of Google’s language tools or similar automated translation tool sets. If you want to read a story from a German newspaper, and you don’t know German, today’s automated (or machine) translation can give you that story in English, Spanish, or Hindi.
However, automated translation has its limits. What it won’t do is tell your story—or your brand’s story—in a different language in a way that sounds completely natural to local, native speakers. Human language has too many subtleties and too much nuance to be captured by automated translation. Skilled human translators will be needed for a long time to come.
So, does that mean translation software has to go out the window? No. There is another type of software—translation management software—that has become essential to reach a world of local markets.
Keeping Track of Language
According to the Linguistic Society of America, your customers and potential customers around the world speak nearly 7,000 languages. Most have relatively few speakers, and practical concerns limit their use in marketing. Yet in the past decade, the average number of languages supported by global websites has more than doubled, from 12 languages to 28.
Every brand has different specific language needs, but achieving a global market presence today means supporting two or three dozen major languages—and that is a lot of translating to keep track of.
Localization is important, but it must not lead to fragmentation. You want to preserve your brand’s unique identity. If your translation projects are aimed at local employees and partners as well as consumers, you need to ensure consistency in policy and guidance.
This is why a translation management system has taken on a vital role in global and international marketing. Preserving cohesion among translations is essential when hypertargeting global marketers to produce a unified brand message.
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