Content Localization Services
Start localizing your content for each target market with Smartling's integrated translation management solution.
More Targeted Messaging
Even the most cleverly crafted brand messages won’t be effective in every region. There may be nothing wrong with the underlying theme, but cultural differences can be a surprisingly powerful force. Localizing content with support from native experts helps elevate your communications above competitors and build more authentic connections. With more consumers expecting and appreciating personalized messages from the businesses they interact with, even subtle localization details can dramatically improve audience response.
Marketing messages are always most persuasive when expressed in the language, terms, and context the audience prefers. This is true when working with different languages, or even different dialects. For example, Spanish-language marketing content developed for audiences in Puerto Rico may not be quite as resonant with Colombian or Argentinian customers. Meanwhile, a completely different approach might be required to connect with customers in the Basque region of Spain. Even though all three regions speak Spanish, they have different local histories, different linguistic particularities, and different cultural conventions.
Regardless of geography, consumers around the world are generally more comfortable buying a product or a service from a company that makes the effort to recognize these differences and tries to meet consumers on their terms. In one Common Sense Advisory study of more than 3,000 consumers whose native language was something other than English, 75% said they were more likely to buy a product with information listed in their primary language. The same research revealed that 30% of those surveyed never buy products from English-language websites.
Another study from Appia looked at markets in Spain, France, and Germany and compared the results from an English campaign in those countries with similar campaigns run in Spanish, French, and German, respectively. The English version of the campaign had an average click-through rate of 2.35% compared to 3.34% for the localized version. Meanwhile, the English campaign’s conversion rate of 7.47% was significantly lower than the 9.08% conversion rate the localized version drew.
Selling a product or service is a difficult prospect already, without throwing in language barriers or cross-cultural misunderstandings. Local idioms, slang, symbols, and more can change the message you are presenting to the market and lead to an embarrassing situation before you ever realize what was wrong. In some cultures, certain numbers are considered unlucky, while certain colors in some areas are offensive. Trusted localization experts will be familiar with these sensitive issues and can help prevent you from making a mistake that could cause irreparable brand damage.
Your website is often the first point of contact for potential customers. In fact, an influx of international traffic is often the indicator that inspires companies to localize content in the first place. The important thing to remember, though, is that website localization does not need to be an all-or-none proposition.
The smartest strategies often entail prioritizing content that is most crucial to the customer journey and adapting that content first. For example, a company may localize its product pages and checkout pages immediately while addressing customer support content a bit later. That way, companies can start realizing returns in a matter of weeks instead of waiting months or years to launch a completely localized website.
The world has gone mobile, and most mobile traffic is now going through apps. In fact, 90% of all mobile device activity now goes through apps instead of browsers, meaning it will take more than just localizing your website to remain relevant in the mobile age. According to one study, localizing the text in applications for the iOS operating system resulted in a 128% increase in downloads per country.
With worldwide app revenues almost doubling in 2016 from the previous year ($51 billion to $101 billion), it’s important to make your apps accessible to as wide an audience as possible, on both iOS and Android. This includes translation as well as matching local numeric, date, and time formats, including currency calculations. Make certain that symbols, icons, and colors are all appropriate to the target region. Keep in mind that different regions also use different keyboards, which need to implemented.
Software rarely comes out of the box ready to be used in any region. When developers release a software product in a new country, they need to adapt several elements to make it more usable for local users. This is not restricted to purely text translation; even among English-speaking countries, there are often localized versions for United States, United Kingdom, and Australian markets.
Depending on the culture, companies may need to swap out images, icons, logos, and other elements to be in line with the market. If a word or number is taboo in the target region, the content will need to be updated. Companies may replace images of people used in the program with pictures of people who more closely fit the local demographic. They will also update values to reflect local currencies and formats such as date, time, and other units of measure.
Marketing content localization
Not all marketing content resides on websites or within apps. And with the speed and volume at which it is developed and delivered, many companies consider foregoing localizing a good chunk of it. Many companies release blog posts every week, or even more often, email campaigns have tight deadlines to meet, social media pages need to be updated regularly, and marketers want to be able to publish new ebooks, videos, and graphics immediately, rather than wait for every regional variant to be prepared.
Translation management tools that can automatically collect marketing content from wherever it lives and quickly put it in the hands of translators is helping ambitious companies address such issues. That way, every regional audience can be addressed with similar levels of marketing speed and sophistication.