How to Prioritize Content for Translation and Save Money

Brands should stagger content translation based on priority to help simplify localization efforts and save money.


Are you looking to expand your brand's experience into a new market? Or launch a new product in a new region? Or are you bound by legal requirements to translate documentation or an application's user interface?

No matter what your project is, chances are there will be a lot of content to translate. So much that it might feel overwhelming at first.

But don't worry, a simple prioritization strategy can make all the difference in a successful product launch.

Why Prioritize Content For Translation?

Just because your brand is planning to go global doesn't mean you will plan to enter every single new market right away. Therefore, going global does not mean your brand will have to translate content into every single language, either.

Nor will you need to translate all of your content, at least not at first. Instead, brands should prioritize content for translation.

While some content may be appropriate to translate with machine translation (like user-generated content), brands should aim to prioritize content for translation, and stagger the process to ensure a more successful entry into new regions. Here are the benefits of starting small:

  • Faster Time To Market: Prioritizing content for translation enables your brand to push individual releases to new markets much faster, staggering releases as content is ready. Otherwise, you’d have to wait for every single piece of content to be translated before going live.
  • First-Mover Advantage: And of course, with a more agile and rapid translation process, your brand will be able to leverage the first-to-market advantage, potentially capturing market share before competitors have a chance to enter.
  • Staying Within Budget Constraints: Translating and localizing an entire application or website can become expensive quickly. By staggering and prioritizing your translation efforts, brands can spread out their projects and develop a more manageable process.
  • Meeting Legal Requirements: Depending on where your brand already exists or plans to expand, there may be legal requirements to have certain forms of content translated. It might be necessary to prioritize the translation of legal documentation, or even your application's user interface, before anything else.

Simply put, prioritizing content for translation and staggering efforts can reduce the amount of work and time involved in the process, enabling your brand to focus instead on high-quality translations and reap the benefits of the first-mover advantage.

Prioritize Translation Based on Necessity

Depending on the specific needs of each project, there will be multiple forms of content that must be translated. But, what and when will come down to the unique aspects of each project, including budget, timeline, and volume.

Let's take a closer look at what content you will want to prioritize first for translation:

  • Marketing Copy
    Awareness is the first step to any successful launch. Therefore, brands should ensure that their product or service is communicated correctly. Its critical to ensure that marketing copy and any related documentation is not only translated first, but accurately, as this will be the foundation for your offering moving forward.
  • New Features or Platform Updates
    If customers are demanding a new feature or function to your solution, it would make sense to prioritize the translation of these new features as soon as possible, and any associated documentation along with them. For example, brands can drive higher user adoption of these new features by offering pop-up announcements and in-platform walkthroughs in their native language.
  • Support Documents
    Users rely on support documents like help centers or knowledge bases when learning new features, onboarding new users, or troubleshooting any issues before jumping to live support. Any related support information like How-To articles, user manuals, technical information, or learning centers, should all be prioritized when entering a new market with a product or service.
  • Legal Content
    Any legal documentation or information should be highly prioritized before launching your service into a new region. Licenses, terms and conditions, SLAs, guarantees, or any other legal information should be translated to avoid any legal concerns or speed bumps. This content should also be created by specialized resources who are familiar with legal translation.
  • User Interface
    Now it may seem obvious that your app or website's UI must be translated, but that doesn't mean all of it needs to be translated right away. Brands can prioritize the translation of their service's UI in different batches. On one hand, some regions that may natively speak one language might still feel comfortable and familiar with a UI in a different language. On the flip side, other regions may even have legal requirements for app localization, obligatory your brand to translate everything.

This is just a starting point, but these are generally the highest priority aspects of a service or product that would need to be translated and localized before launching your brand into an entirely new region.

Prioritizing For Translation is All About Timing

One common theme to keep in mind when prioritizing your content for translation will be timing -- both time to market, and potential project deadlines. High quality translation can take time, and not every project will be right for a speedier machine translation and post-edit process.

For example, when it comes to more creative work such as marketing copy or in-platform content, the insight of a human translator will help your content both effectively communicate the desired message, and drive further engagement.

However, the creative work of a professional translator will take longer than a simple machine translation process, and benefit from extra tools like our visiual context editor.

Therefore, your brand will want to prioritize content that will have a longer time investment before otherwise dry and simple content, like support documentation, that does not demand the creative touch of a human translator.

We’ll Help You Move The World With Words

Smartling’s cloud translation management systems makes it easier than ever to transform your brand's service into a localized experience, reaching a new audience with a voice that feels familiar.

To help ease the burden of localizing an entire website or application, brands should aim to prioritize content for translation to break the project down into more easily attainable goals.

If you want to learn more about how Smartling can enable you to transform and localize your brand's amazing experience, book a meeting to connect with an expert today!

About Matt

Matt Grech is the Content Marketing Manager at Smartling, responsible for growing Smartling awareness and brand content. As a digital content writer, Matt applies his journalistic lens to content, helping users deepen their understanding of the brand, services and technology provided by Smartling. Matt has previously contributed to an industry leading Unified Communications resource, as well as local newspapers where he developed his unique ability to investigate, interview, and transform complex problems into simple solutions.