Checklist on how to go beyond the translation

Going global doesn’t mean simply applying all your national marketing tactics at scale. It requires a special touch, known as localization. CMOs usually make a commonplace mistake while running a global content marketing campaign. They treat localization of content as mere translation. Is there any difference between these processes? Brian Nichols, Content Marketing Manager at Lionbridge Technologies, underlines that many marketers and project managers use these two notions interchangeably, having no idea how to distinguish them.

Let’s clear up what we imply by saying “translate” and “localize” the content. Paraphrasing the dictionary definitions, translation is a process of changing content components, such as text, video and audio materials from the source language into the target one. As a rule, it is done by mere substituting the corresponding word equivalents. Localizing is not that simple and goes much further – it stands for modifying your content in accordance with individual customer preferences and behaviors. Since we’ve recently broken down seven core components of successful global marketing strategy, let’s single out some localization cornerstones in this article.

        1. Technical issues

Before starting to localize your global content to a regional market, check out the technological capabilities of this country. It is quite a common thing when an original English website, mobile app or any other deliverables hit the shelves in the US, but fall flat in another country. The reasons may be different: data is too expensive or the Internet bandwidth is dramatically low. In any case, your prospects will not be engaged and therefore converted.

Also, you must consider what operating systems, e.g., Android, iOS, Windows Phone or BlackBerry are used by your company in the target area. The reason is obvious – you may find your content does not fit to certain screen size, display type or resolution. Even some specific fonts and characters can fail to be readable on certain devices. For instance, Amanda Wong, Customer Success Manager at Prezly, names length issues to be one of the primary challenges you face when localizing a mobile app. That is why, just translating brand content doesn’t guarantee it will work well.

        2. Organizational issues

You need your global content to be well-structured so it could be handled with on a local level. Some business practitioners like William Terdoslavich, for example, insist that content must be presented in an understandable and intuitive way. Clear structure helps you not to miss any key messages and preserve brand value when it comes to localization process. Local teams can easily scan through various chapters for customizing the necessary details.

        3. Cultural issues



It is a no-brainer to do the translation, but rather problematic to break through the culture barrier. Federico Pascual, Digital Delivery Services Director at Globalization Partners Int., defines cultural customization as a fundamental step toward reaching global audience. You must have insider knowledge, so that you can adapt content to meet target local expectations. Remember localizing all the components – words and images, with their respective size, place and coloring – every single detail can have quite opposite meanings in different countries. Moreover, it is typical to rename the whole brand to succeed in some areas.

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