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2016-11-30

How to localize digital content smoothly (3 easy ways)

There’s been quite a lot of talk on localization recently. What we have all heard by now is the common truth: localization is NOT just translating materials. It’s much more profound than that. To localize your marketing campaign really means to study the market, get to know cultural and social norms – and then build upon that knowledge to present your product most effectively. In this sense, localization is almost a completely new campaign launch.

Wow, you think. So that is what progress has given us? Instead of simply paying an agency to translate an ad, there’s this absolutely massive undertaking? A 3 days’ work has turned into a giant project?

Sort of. That’s competitiveness, and who can do anything but adapt? In this article, we provide just several ideas on how to make your localization run smoother. Perhaps we should explain what we mean by “smooth” – it’s not directly linked to expenditures and time, but rather to keeping the course straight from the very beginning. Avoiding unexpected 180° turns is the guarantee you won’t stop – and that means you’re more likely to gain both financially and in terms of time.

Trick #1. Have a machine do it for you

(and no, that’s not what you thought)

Of course we are not referring to automatic translation. If you haven’t heard the hilarious stories about what a computer may give you instead of your original phrase – well, just ask a professional translator: “Why should I pay you when there’s a free online service?” Enjoy. What we really mean is, apart from the creative work, there’s a lot of barely noticeable organizational things humans waste their time on. Although the average businesses only spend around 1-4% of their marketing budget on translation and localization, there are some recognized hidden costs.

In short, digital technology makes organizing the effort easier. This includes:

  • Enabling coordination between different teams. You’d definitely want your marketers participate in a local campaign launch, and you need communication. At least.
  • Feedback collection. To localize successfully, you need a basis. Some insights about the market, the population and active competitors. This info is… What’s the word? Kaleidoscopic? There’s still no better way to collect and analyze such data than digital tech. And consider getting feedback from teams, as well!
  • Materials flow, aka content flow. Writing an occasional email is one thing. However, when a single piece of future content has to circulate between departments and go through a number of approval procedures, you’ll need a common platform to improve that flow.

Trick #2. Have a team do it for you

(not completely, though)

Divide responsibilities. It is a myth that a single agency can do everything, although we have to admit – a rather charming one. In reality, you can arrange the strategy beforehand as far as it is possible, than define who gets which part. Several pieces of content have to be created anew, some transcreated, some require additional info. The general picture you draw for your customers-to-be? That’s for your marketing team to decide. Even the translation/localization gurus at Lionbridge agree on passing that role to marketers – their 2015 report shows 53% of global companies to be explicitly in favor of the idea.

Oh yes – sales teams are in, as well. So are local departments. After all, HQ is also located somewhere, isn’t it?

 

Trick #3. Have your salespeople do it for you

(that is, the most difficult part of it)

If you already have pictures of sales reps leaning over dictionaries, that’s not what we meant. The thing is, salespeople actually provide a lot of insights and essential details no one else is aware of. We could all agree that localization should take into account cultural issues. Who knows these issues better? By establishing uninterrupted contact with reps in fields, you can trace these things quite easily (and perhaps even cut research expenditures a bit).

Again, localization is not something done once and forever – according to statistics, around 4 in 10 companies will need some fragments of content localized on a weekly basis. Ideally, you should know when to, and local salespeople can tell you that, if you only ask. Using a good digital platform to manage your content and capture feedback, you can basically coordinate and direct it all with a few clicks and taps in online mode. 

Regardless of which way you feel is more productive/smooth, there’s one factor that unites them all. These tricks require tech to be cost-effective; digital steps at the most unpredictable moments, mostly those where convenience matters. And it does play a role when you’re anxious to launch and update in time.

With a reasonably powerful platform, you could unify all the elements that make up your localization. This should ideally be compatible with all the other tech you’re using, like CLM, portable devices and other different software products. Do you want to see how it works in practice? Are you eager to launch smooth and effective localizations? Make a step. Request a free demo right now.