Three different approaches to translation

Friday May 14, 2021 - Posted by:

In the early days of international ecommerce, translation was often viewed as a one-off job that simply had to be done to launch a global marketing campaign or to introduce a product to a new market.

As the internet and the expectations of customers have evolved, however, it has become increasingly clear that a more nuanced approach is often required to get the results you’re looking for.

While traditional translation and per-word pricing are still good enough in some scenarios, if you’re looking to build a global brand and make real connections with international audiences, it is important to be aware of the various services and solutions available to you.

Basic translation and localisation

If you’re an international business, or you’re in the process of planning your first steps into foreign markets, you’re likely to come across a number of situations where large volumes of content require direct translation into different languages.

This might be repetitive or standardised content such as:

  • Post-purchase information that customers need
  • High-volume product copy
  • In-the-box paperwork, such as instruction manuals or product quality guarantees

Ensuring you have certain content accurately translated into relevant languages can be particularly important from a compliance perspective. The EU’s GDPR legislation, for example, places a requirement on businesses to have certain clauses in their contractual terms, privacy statements on their websites and other key pieces of information in place.

Online retailers also have to provide a returns service, which should be accompanied by all the details customers need in order to be able to use it.

In cases like these, direct and accurate translation of content from one language into another will account for the majority of the work involved. There is limited need for analysis of how necessary or effective the content is, and other workflow aspects like technical setup and quality assurance can be relatively straightforward.

Per-word pricing can work well for these sorts of projects, but you’re also likely to face challenges that require more carefully tailored solutions.

A data-driven approach

To get positive returns from international marketing, you’ll need to go further than simply providing essential information in a number of target languages. One particularly important concept to focus on is data, which should be at the heart of your efforts to understand your target audience and measure the performance of your campaigns.  A core Locaria value is “Celebrating Language with Data”. We use data and bespoke tech solutions to change the localisation industry, and bring brands closer to their customers. We pride ourselves on our ability to offer a tailored, hyper-localised solution for any market or language where there is sufficient demand and the opportunity for positive ROI. With expert data, we are able to prove the value of language and create content with authority. When insights meet creativity, our people work at their best.

If you’re hoping to get results from international search engine optimisation, for example, you’ll need to invest time and resources in data-focused processes such as:

  • Researching what your ideal customers are most interested in and their most common search terms
  • Improving your understanding of factors that influence search engine results at a local level
  • Planning and producing content that has a high level of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness

Another area where data needs to be at the centre of your strategy is social media. With more than half of the global population (some 4.2 billion people) now using Facebook, Twitter, WeChat, TikTok and the like, there are countless opportunities to build your brand in the social space, but you’re unlikely to benefit from them if you’re not using data in the right way.

Identifying and analysing the most relevant information will give you vital insights such as the number of impressions and clicks you’re getting from particular types of content and how this feeds into conversions and purchases.

Getting strong returns from your investment in areas like SEO and social media marketing requires a different set of linguistic and strategic skills to basic translation. Consequently, word rates and per-word pricing are likely to be less relevant.

When evaluating suppliers of global marketing and language services, think carefully about whether solutions that are priced by the word will be sufficient to deliver the results you’re looking for, or whether a more consultative, collaborative approach is needed.

Performance Linguistics®

There are many valuable advantages to be gained from working closely with a partner that has a deep understanding of your business, your ambitions and the intricacies of your target markets, as well as the linguistic and technical skills to incorporate these insights into your marketing.

By adopting a data-driven, iterative global marketing strategy you can ensure you’re constantly learning about your customers’ behaviour and using this data to fuel your content production.

As well as helping you avoid wasting budget on unnecessary or irrelevant content, this can give rise to new opportunities. If your research shows that specific search terms perform well in particular markets, for example, it could highlight sources of demand you weren’t previously aware of.

These are the sort of benefits Locaria delivers through our Performance Linguistics methodology, the key phases of which are:

  • Setup and background research
  • Cross-channel keyword research
  • Content creation
  • Quality assurance
  • Ongoing analysis and testing
  • Reporting and optimisation

Performance Linguistics® is a registered trademark of Locaria Ltd. You can learn more about this approach, as well as related topics such as the relative cost of languages and why customer engagement is the ultimate measure of content quality, in our recently published Procurement Guide to Global Content Purchasing by Locaria COO, Lindsay Hong.

Synopsis by Gunilla Huddleston

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