Content translation sounds really simple, doesn’t it? Just run your texts through a free app and upload them in the foreign language, right? Nope, that’s so wrong! The experts at Trusted Translations explain why in this article, with tips on how to localize your marketing content successfully.
Effective communications are the reason why businesses considering expansion into other markets must look beyond simply translating their content. From complex websites to customer reviews and even product names, localization is a major field of translation that extends way beyond words. It requires a native speaker with a sensitive ear and a delicate way with words.
Bridging Cultural Gaps
In fact, the relatively new process of reworking content aimed at Country A customers into a form that appeals to potential Country B audiences is a long and difficult task. Indeed, it’s so important that it should be encompassed by a global content strategy. Even if the language is technically the same, usage changes with cultures: the English used in India or Australia is wordier and more formal than its US counterpart, while Brazilian and European Portuguese require complete rewrites by native speakers.
But it’s worth all the effort, in the long run. According to Forrester Research, visitors spend twice as long on websites that are available in their native language. And with over a third of all internet users being non-native English speakers, a business that communicates in their own language may be up to four times more likely to close a deal.
The Devil Lies in the Details
Tone and style are aspects of translation that are often neglected, and rarely handled correctly by machines. Usually reflecting national cultures, they can undermine corporate images and discourage audiences. This is often a problem when more casual English business communications are translated straightforwardly into languages that use more ceremonial structures, like French, Japanese, or Polish.
For more formal societies such as these, the relaxed style preferred by many businesses in the US, UK, and Australia may convey a lack of respect, sounding unprofessional, or even just plain rude. This is why opting for a native translator in your target language can be worth its weight in gold, making sure that your messages are not only seen, but also properly understood by different audiences.
For marketing content to hit its target, translations must be closely aligned with the entire business model. They must fit seamlessly into the selected communications channels, using language that conveys a wide variety of messages (discounts, promos, product features, etc.). Other important touchpoints whose content is often neglected include chatbot and hotline scripts, as well as focus group guides, instruction booklets, and how-to videos.
Don’t Forget the IT Team
For any software localization project, a successful outcome requires seamless collaboration between the translators and the IT team (often monolingual). Codes might need updating, particularly for special characters—and there are around 110,116 of them, among all known languages! Keywords are culturally sensitive; layouts may have to change, particularly when switching between right-to-left and left-to-right languages. Titles and first or last names must be displayed in culturally appropriate ways; the presentation of times, dates, currencies, temperatures, and distances may change; and multiple calendars may be needed to avoid confusion, particularly over local business days and holiday dates.
In the West, people tend to read in an F-shaped pattern, scanning a website from left to right, with their attention focused most sharply on the left. In contrast, Arabic is read from right to left. This means that translated content can’t simply be slotted into the same space on a page, as it would fail to align with the expectations of its readers.
Content undoubtedly boosts engagement—but only when it connects with people at an emotional level. This is why culture and language are also important, as they shape audience responses. So, localization must crack emotional codes that get people responding positively, while avoiding missteps triggering negative reactions (because even comic bloopers undermine brand credibility).
Invisibility Is Important When It Comes to Translation
Translating is possibly the only art that must strive for invisibility. That’s because audiences care only about content in their language: is it understandable? Is it relevant? Does it respond to local needs and preferences? And—most important of all—is it aligned with their cultural context? If a text reads like a translation, it needs more work, patiently ironing out Inconsistencies that are perceptible to only a local speaker.
Particularly in new markets, skillfully translated content attracts prospects through search engines, social networks, email campaigns, and even referrals. The experts at Trusted Translations know how to draw visitors to your foreign-language content, while burnishing your reputation as an authority in your industry. For new audiences in other countries who might be unfamiliar with your brand, this is a solid cornerstone for all future marketing campaigns.
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