Localization is a cornerstone in marketing and in order to further explore best practices, we hosted a three-part webinar series focused on different marketing areas. In part one, we discussed best practices for localization in video including use of subtitles, voiceover and on-screen test while in part two, we focused on localization of websites.
In this installment, we will focus on best practices when localizing written content where Jeremy Clutton, VP of Account Management at Unbabel, will speak with David Oswald, Website Manager at Raymarine as they discuss localizing everything from product descriptions to technical content in order to best target international audiences.
Starting with Content Creation
Translating your website to suit new audiences is a great first step in localization, but if you’re going to build a rapport with customers and prospects over time, it’s important that all written and visual content is created with global audiences in mind. From product descriptions to blogs, each has different challenges and approaches.
Creating a great user experience for your international audience requires you to think about how you manage all these different channels to market and the way this content is consumed.
And content creation is the beginning of this process.
“Nothing is done within a vacuum,” Jeremy shares. “The quality of the content you produce obviously is designed to drive traffic to your site or create engagement. That said, creating content for a single market becomes significantly more complex when you look at multiple markets where use cases can be different and the way that people engage in the content can be different.”
Growing a brand depends on the message you deliver but not all content is equal in priority and businesses must determine where to invest time to produce the best ROI.
“You have to be able to look at what the content challenges and the timelines are,” says David. “[Then determine] where do I put my resources and where do I put my efforts. That’s something that we’ve been super conscious of and we are still super conscious of going forward.”
When entering a new market, there are many additional factors to consider:
- Cultural differences and sensitivity – Pay attention to formalities, religion, attitude towards certain topics.
- Number of languages – Particular regions might have several languages and translating to one might not lead to the results you expect.
- What’s happening in the region – Be aware of anything that people feel strongly about.
- How colors and images are perceived – What might have positive connotations in one country may have the opposite in another?
- Currency, time and date formats – Are there multiple currencies being used, will your date get misinterpreted?
- Payment methods – Make it convenient for customers. For example, certain countries will accept bitcoin, PayPal etc.
- Method of communications – Sometimes email isn’t always best i.e in Brazil they have a strong preference for messaging apps and social media.
- Laws and regulations – Import and export rules, what information you have to display, consumer rights and so forth.
Tackling Nuances of Content
As marketers, you’ll have several different channels that you leverage, and each channel will have different localization challenges to bear in mind especially when it comes to technical content, product descriptions and more. Handling spacing and how a new language will fit on a website can be a considerable challenge here, David shares.
“One thing I would say is always try to think about it from an international perspective from the beginning,” says David. “Consider how you can actually try and make the English content as concise as possible, because often when you’re translating from English into other languages, you end up with more characters, that’s inevitable, especially for Latin languages.”
Additional considerations for technical content localization include whether or not your company name may be translatable in some cases, choosing a font which is legible, keeping design consistent, and ensuring specialists who know the terminology are reviewing the accuracy of the translations.
Localizing Product Descriptions & Images
When it comes to product descriptions, people prefer to shop in their native language. 71% of respondents from Unbabel’s Multilingual CX survey said it’s very important for brands to promote their products in the native language so getting product descriptions right is key.
Businesses should ensure the right numerical format is being used and that localized descriptions minimize chances of returns. In addition, accurate descriptions can improve your search engine ranking. But, consistency is also important to keep in mind.
“We’re super conscious of users jumping between country sites,” David shares. “They should structurally remain very similar including the content, imagery, and copy. Those can be localized and should be localized. But it’s that uniformity and consistency of user journey that’s quite key.”
Finally, image localization is equally important. When localizing images, businesses should consider an array of factors:
- If people are in the picture, are they from the region?
- Avoid hand gestures and symbols that aren’t universal
- Will character length in the image impact design?
- Be mindful of connotations associated with different colors
- Will there be text on the image? Should it overlap or sit below/next to?
Key Takeaways & Best Practices
While localization in marketing can seem daunting, keeping a few key factors in mind can make this task simpler and lead to a better ROI for your business.
- Create content with international audiences in mind from the start
- Take into account which channels will be most effective
- Think how the content can be recycled for different channels
- Consider how the fact that your product or service may be consumed different in different markets will affect your approach
- Look beyond content – ensure the entire experience is localized
- Leverage data to determine performance and adjust for different markets as needed
Interested in learning more about best practices in marketing localization for video? Watch the entire webinar here.