Optimizing Localization Quality for Global Marketing Content

By Julio Leal, Head of Localization, Ciena Corporation

Julio LealThe localization of marketing content differs from other content types like technical, multimedia, legal and customer support and this affects how we measure quality. All those dealing with marketing translations know content marketing is considered a “special beast.”

Marketing content has to be culturally adapted to service many different local and regional markets. To produce high quality marketing translations, translators and linguists need a deep understanding of the overall brand and how this brand is to be portrayed in its global markets.

Approaching marketing translations in a purely linguistic way could damage the brand and potentially lose you customers. Marketing translators must focus on different aspects, such as brand values, concepts and tone. They need to transcreate content unlike, for example, technical documentation, which requires in-depth subject matter knowledge, high levels of accuracy and must remain true to the source.

Due to the creative nature of many marketing campaigns, quality can be difficult to measure. You’re not making a straight comparison to the source and it can be subjective.

The quality of any marketing content is defined by customer action and satisfaction.

DSC01295As long as the content is used, consumed and we get good feedback and response, then that’s a good measure of quality. This will surface in leads generated or increased revenue levels in certain markets. Having set KPIs on linguistic errors does not guarantee quality for marketing content. Even more importantly, keep any quality measurement system simple. If a quality system is too complex, you are not likely to get the engagement you need and it won’t probably add any value to the localization program.

Giving your translation teams the right environment plays an important role in achieving desired quality levels. For marketing translations, it’s not great if you’re getting a bad response at the in-country review stage. Getting the initial translation drafts right first-time is key to the final quality output. This means creating a good environment for all translation teams.

Tip #1: Give Translators Time

For all types of content, translation and transcreation is not about word counts and number of words translated per minute. You want the best output for your customers that meets your business and marketing objectives. Allow your translation teams the necessary time and be realistic about the time they need to produce quality output. If you’re rushing your translation teams and putting them under unnecessary pressure, then the output quality will be poor, however you manage it.

Tip #2: Supply Relevant In-Context Information

Good time planning also allows translation teams to receive the necessary product information to get a better picture on how their translated content will be used. The fact they have in-context knowledge will automatically translate into better outputs. Sharing central marketing information about product, brand and style will also help translators be better prepared before they start working on the localized materials.

Tip #3: Give Creative License

Translators working on marketing content are effectively linguistic copywriters. They need freedom to adapt marketing copy. Creative licence allows them to focus on concepts and brands rather than actual individual words. This takes time so be patient and engage with the in-country teams as much as possible at the initial stage.

Tip #4: Treat Translation Teams with Respect

Needless to say, respectful communication, realistic time frames and appropriate pay will create a happier working environment, which will result in better translations. This applies to any team, not just those working in marketing translations!


Julio Leal is Head of Localization at Ciena Corporation. Julio recently took part as a panelist for the session, Ensuring Optimum Localization Quality at Welocalize’s LocLeaders Forum 2016 in Dublin.