Translation and localization offer businesses a chance to make their products and services available and appealing to people in a variety of different cultures. But how do you go about doing this? If you want your business to grow in other markets, is translation enough?
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the importance of translation and localization in digital marketing. We hope this helps you as you try to convert foreign-speaking customers.
Localization vs. Translation: What’s The Difference?
If you’re making your digital marketing strategy accessible to people who speak a different language, some translation will be required. That said, localization is far more than translation. Translation makes the words comprehensible, while localization is designed to make it work culturally.
For instance, you can use a website builder like InstaSites to create multiple versions of the same site in different languages. Get high quality translations so that the content is idiomatic and clear.
However, it would be best if you went beyond that, making sure that everything works the way it should in that language. For instance, an eCommerce website that’s in Japanese should list its prices in yen, not US dollars.
Here’s another example, German words often take up more characters—and thus space—than English words. You’ll need to make sure that the content looks natural on the design of your site. If necessary, this may require some design changes.
Proper localization requires research, which we’ll cover more thoroughly later in the article.
The Benefits of Marketing Localization
Roughly 26% of the world’s internet users speak English, and yet English accounts for nearly half of the total web pages on the internet. Many internet users are required to use pages that aren’t written in their native language or miss out on many of the available sites on the internet.
By translating your web page for others, you make it accessible to a new target market. Localization goes even further, making your website more accessible, increasing your conversion rate, and allowing you to compete with businesses that may be natural to a specific market.
The benefits of marketing localization will vary based on your business model. For instance, retail stores will need to be physically open before it makes sense for them to localize web pages in other markets. Ecommerce stores that are willing to ship internationally, on the other hand, may more easily find untapped markets by localizing their digital marketing strategy.
Research Potential Markets
In order to localize appropriately, it’s not enough to translate your web pages. You also have to understand the cultures you’re trying to appeal to. This gets at the heart of digital marketing: to help a business sell a product or service, we first have to understand what our target audience wants.
Poland is an interesting case study here, in that their business culture is very formal. If you’re an American company, you may need to ensure that your business language is changed, since American culture tends to be more casual.
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You should also make sure you’re taking all of the potential design issues into account, as discussed in the section, “Translation, Localization, and Multipurpose Digital Marketing.”
Digital Marketing and Translation
Translation can also lead to some technical issues that your team needs to be prepared for. For instance, if you’re translating into a language that reads from right to left, your code will need to reflect this different form of display.
You also want to make sure your flow is natural in a foreign language. Social media users are much less likely to engage with posts that feel like they’ve been directly translated. You have to make sure that what you’re saying makes sense and adds value in a foreign language.
Translation, Localization, and Multipurpose Digital Marketing
Many marketing campaigns focus on a single culture or language, which is essential since that focus helps you understand your target audience. However, there are two reasons why it may be important to look at a more multipurpose digital marketing strategy.
The first is that you may have saturated the market in your current languages. This is especially important for larger companies, which need to be able to provide service to a myriad of cultures.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are also niche companies where you may not have a large target base, but your potential customers or clients are spread out across multiple languages. These niches are usually high margin, which means you need to make sure that users with different native languages are given a high-quality experience.
In both situations, translation and localization are invaluable, helping to increase your profit margin.
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How To Work With Local Influencers
Influencers can offer your brand a lot of exposure, but it can be challenging to find the right influencers if you’re trying to run a social media strategy optimized for a foreign culture.
In this case, it’s often wise to find a marketing expert who’s familiar with the culture in question; this allows them to understand the reputation of the influencer in question and the nuances of this reputation.
In conclusion, there are a myriad of benefits that come from translating your site and your social media marketing, but that isn’t enough. You also have to make sure that your digital marketing strategies make sense, given the different cultures you’re marketing to.
If there are people in your company who are native to the culture you’re looking to target, their insight can be invaluable. However, it’s also wise to speak with a localization expert who understands exactly what companies need to do in order to target different demographics.
Billy Peery is the Content Manager at DashClicks, a white label digital marketing fulfillment company that helps agencies satisfy their clients’ needs. He has previously written for Cracked, Shopify, and Harvard Student Agencies. In his free time, he enjoys having heated arguments over capitalization rules, having heated arguments over Billy Joel’s discography, and honestly having heated arguments over anything else. He really, really wishes people would stop misusing semicolons. When in doubt, a period works just fine.
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