If Content is King, Context is Queen

It’s been said that, “content is king.” This is especially true in marketing, where content rules the kingdom – driving leads, conversions, SEO, go-to-market strategies – and plays a pivotal role in B2B and B2C communications and relationships. But what is a king without a queen, and content’s queen is context.

If pieces of your message aren’t presented in the proper context, then the whole meaning could be changed, and the opportunity wasted. So the queen (context), must always guide the king (content) on how to behave.

It’s hard enough to make sure your messages are in context, understood and resonant in a single language, but that problem is amplified when you expand internationally and are delivering messages in multiple (usually unfamiliar) languages.

On its face, translating content seems like it should be easy. Words are words regardless of language, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case, which is why context is so important.

For example, if you are translating the word “run” from English to Spanish, the translator will want to see how the word fits into the sentence, because there are at least 100 different ways that word could be translated. And in the right context, each is correct, but there a 99 ways to be wrong every time.

Broken system

In the past, the process to translate website content has made it difficult for initial translations to be both accurate and in context on the first pass. Translators would be given words or word strings in a spreadsheet to translate, and those would be reassembled by an engineering team and then sent back for contextual review, with this multi-party process repeating until the quality of the translated message was up to par.

Clearly, getting a single piece of content translated and ready to publish is an arduous task with the traditional method, which is much longer than it needs to be. If the translators could see their work in context (for example, what comes before or after the words to be translated, or whether it’s prose or a functional click button, and so on), they could be more confident that their translations are accurate. This alone would eliminate much of the time spent on processes, freeing up time for essential linguistic and contextual quality assurance, and ensuring high quality translation and a much faster time-to-market with the brand’s messaging.

A better approach

Fortunately there are tools that can help eliminate a vast majority of the headaches described in the scenario above. Organizations that are looking to streamline translation and localization should evaluate and implement a translation management system (TMS). Having the right technology in place can automate up to 90% of the manual processes associated with translation and localization.

A good TMS is flexible and customizable, and integrates seamlessly into your existing tech stack. A great TMS does all this and allows you to translate and edit copy in context.

The ability to see original and translated content in context – or as the web page will actually look once published – is a quantum leap from how translations were prepared using traditional methods. It allows the translator to know how it fits contextually with the rest of the copy, and if the translation has affected margins or how the content flows on the page. Being able to see things like whether the piece of content is too long (broken margins) or too short (blank space), now and in real-time, allows for fixes to be made quickly, as opposed to going through a lengthy back-and-forth.

As long as king content is driving marketing strategy, queen context will be there making sure everything runs smoothly. And brands that place an emphasis on how the context of their messages is affected by translation will be quicker to market and more secure in the knowledge that their messages will resonate with consumers.

Learn more

Download our Whitepaper: Redefining How Brands Approach Global Content Creation and learn the importance of building native brand experiences with content that resonates with people in any language, all cultures, and every market – so that, at each touchpoint along their journey, customers feel like the brand speaks directly to them.