As a company, the decision to expand into different languages can be incredibly exciting. Offering your product or service in new markets can lead to increased revenue and brand market share. Translation allows you to serve customers in their desired language all over the globe.
But as you may know, translating your content and brand messaging is not without its challenges. It requires a strategic process, working with translators hand in hand, and is an investment in both time and financial resources.
Yet when approached the right away, expanding into new languages can be one of the best decisions you make for growing and scaling your business.
In our latest webinar, our very own Adrian Cohn sat down with Jessica Birenz, Director of Planning & Project Management at Yext, to discuss their experience with translation and how they used Smartling to both establish market share in Japan as well as for their continued translation workflow.
Yext: A new approach to search
Yext is an intelligently structured database that helps improve the search experience on your brand's website. Your customers turn to your business for accurate, up-to-date information, and yet many websites search functionality is flat out unhelpful.
Often, site searches only consider the exact keywords and frequently fails to provide the relevant answers your customers are looking for.
Yext works to put all your content and information into one place and provides the actual answer to your visitor's questions.
Keys to launching a new language successfully
Yext is not new to the world of translation, having translated its website and branding into multiple languages, including Japanese and German. Expanding into new languages has played a large role in Yext being able to grow 15x in just 6 years.
Throughout the process of translation, they have learned many difficult lessons and what works when launching a new language successfully.
Here are the top three takeaways from our webinar with Jessica Birenz.
1. Translation is a team effort
When launching a new language, it's tempting to think that you can simply hand off the desired content you want to have translated and have a translator do the rest of the work. In reality, it's not always so straightforward.
Successfully launching a new language is a team effort and requires buy-in from your entire organization—from leadership to your product managers, and yes, even your sales and marketing team.
Working with your translators closely to help communicate your brand and product is essential in getting the most of your translation efforts. One of the major benefits of Smartling compared to other translation services is that you can personally talk to your translators and provide them with the additional resources and materials they need for them to excel.
Throughout the translation process, there will inevitably be misunderstandings both among your team and with your translators. Working together holistically across the board allows you to improve the quality of your translations and communicate your brand in a way that makes sense.
2. How Yext used Smartling to help their launch in Japan
When Yext decided to launch their service in Japan, they did what most companies do. They hired a few translators to translate their content into Japanese and hoped for the best. They quickly realized that approach wasn't working out as expected.
The content was not fitting the market. It didn't make sense and was missing the mark.
The translations weren't low quality, but rather the way they talked about their business in the United States didn't map to how their Japanese customers communicated. Additionally, it was costly to have their marketing manager in Japan spending the bulk of their time reviewing translations—instead of being in the field selling.
Their initial struggles led them to revisit their efforts and ask the question: How can we talk about our business using all the materials we have and make in a way that makes sense for Japan?
After reflecting on their initial approach, they decided they needed to put on the brakes and reevaluate what they wanted to accomplish and the best way to do so. Working with Smartling, they were able to not only develop relationships with our Japanese translator, but also have the tools and tech needed to ensure that the translation process was smooth, accurate, and efficient.
Their learnings in Japan also gave them new insight into how they should approach other languages they offered at Yext.
3. Context is key for successful translation
One of the most impactful lessons Yext has learned throughout the process of entering new markets is that context is crucial for success. Not just context for your translators, but having a clearly defined brand goal of how you want to position yourself in the desired language and culture.
Having a member of your marketing team, for example, talking with your translators and explaining how you position yourself in the United States, goes a long way in ensuring that you can communicate your brand in a way that makes sense for each market. Having a sales rep explain the sales process can help improve the quality of your translations overall.
Another benefit of Smartling is we provide a dynamic visual content interface that allows for the translations to be seen in the environments in which they will be live. Technical translations on Github, for example, should be approached differently than translating a standard blog post. Effective translations are highly dependent on having enough context.
Having an updated glossary and marketing materials for example, is essential in keeping your translations up to date and prevent context being lost throughout the process. If there is a term or phrase you plan on using often, but a direct translation doesn't quite fit, you can define it as a team and save it for later reference. Smartling helps keep all your terms in one place and is easily accessible during translations. No more constant back and forth.
Ultimately, launching a language successfully requires a strategic approach to your workflow and is not something that is completely hands off. By using the right tools, providing context, and treating translation as a team effort you can improve your translation efforts.
Hungry for more? Relive the entire webinar, and grab a bag of popcorn while you're at it. 🍿
Ready to learn more about Yext? Check out their website!