Translation and Localization are the New Frontiers of Content Planning

Are you speaking the language of your customers?

This question is often posed to marketers in figurative terms — i.e., are you talking the way they talk, using their terminologies, understanding pains and challenges from their perspective. But today I’m asking it literally.

The marketplace is fundamentally changing. In a digital environment, customer bases are shifting and expanding. Companies that don’t make their content available in multiple languages might be doing themselves a real disservice by cutting out potential buyers — even if the business doesn’t generally consider itself an international brand.

And while translation is important, content localization goes beyond language. It’s a critical aspect of targeting and personalization, helping ensure that your message connects and makes an impact.

The Difference Between Content Localization and Content Translation

Translation is a component of content localization, but the latter is a much broader concept. On the SiriusDecisions blog, Jessie Johnson does a nice job of defining the two terms and explaining the distinction:

  • Translation – the precise and literal transfer of text (e.g. product documentation, marketing communications, ad creative, social media activity) from a source to target language.
  • Localization –the adaptation of text and images, incorporating regional specificity and the sociocultural context of the target market. Localization includes cultural content (e.g. icons and humor) in addition to functional content (e.g. dates and times – including written formats).

In other words, if you want to translate your content for an audience in — say — Brazil, you would take the actual text and convert it from English to Portuguese. But if you wanted to localize it, you might alter the content itself to include recognizable sociocultural cues for people who live in Brazil. Both are important.

Why Does Content Translation Matter?

There are around 7.5 billion people in the world. Only a small fraction speak your primary language. If your content is only available in English, you’re making that content much more difficult to access and consume for a huge portion of your potential audience.

Research conducted by Common Sense Advisory a few years back showed that 75% of global consumers in non-Anglophone countries prefer to buy products in their native language, and 60% rarely or never buy from English-only websites.

Unless you sell exclusively to people who speak one language (and I think that’s a pretty rare scenario these days) translation should be on your content planning radar.

Why Does Content Localization Matter?

“Language – and content as a whole – calls attention to itself when it is not adapted to accommodate the context and culture of its intended audience,” wrote Johnson in the aforementioned piece for SiriusDecisions. “It gets weird.”

Personalization is now essential to high-performing content, and localization is a big piece of that equation. In fact, Juliana Pereira suggested earlier this year that hyperpersonalization via localization is the future of retail.

“Many global retailers and ambitious brands are already taking advantage of localization software, which decreases the manual effort involved in the translation process, reduces cost for creating multilingual content, and accelerates time to market for new products,” she wrote.

Across all industries, the benefits of content localization are becoming crystallized through data and demonstrable impact. As an example, one study found that 86% of localized mobile ad campaigns outperformed English-only campaigns in both click-throughs and conversions.

Bring Localization and Translation to Your Content Planning

Even if you acknowledge the solid rationale for translating and personalizing content, you might understandably be intimidated by the operational realities of making it happen. Per the American Marketing Association, 62% of companies believe content localization is too manual, and 50% believe it’s too complex to manage.

In the past, those concerns have held real weight. Today, the game is changing.

In recognizing the growing importance of these frontiers, it felt like a no-brainer for DivvyHQ to link up with SDL in a strategic partnership, which we recently made official. With more than 25 years of experience as a provider of language and content management solutions for global brands, SDL is one of the foremost authorities on content localization and translation. The company was recognized by Content Marketing Institute’s community as one of the top five providers of content translation services.

DivvyHQ is aligned with SDL in seeking to make content planning and production more efficient through sophisticated yet simple technology.

“Brands need to produce more content across more channels, in less time, with fewer people, with less budget,” says Simon Moore, VP of Strategy for SDL. His company’s solutions help content managers contend with these challenging circumstances, while still integrating crucial localization elements. And he’s excited about the way SDL’s solutions can pair with DivvyHQ to deliver superior content experiences.

“Divvy provides the perfect platform to plan content across all channels, connecting theoretical content plans and the actual content supply chain operating model,” Moore adds.

We, too, are excited about this partnership. We look forward to developing new integrations and collaborations that help customers maximize the impact of their content, across the globe.

Want to learn more about how DivvyHQ can help you scalably infuse content localization into your strategy? Request a demo and we’ll be happy show you.