Evolution of User Generated Content and Localization

By Hanna Kanabiajeuskaja, Product Manager (Localization) at Box

Today, global business is just starting to touch on localizing user generated content (UGC). It’s such a new field for us, so how do we even think about it? How do we localize it to add value to our overall global business activities, engage with audiences and make sure that we do it successfully?

Content is more diverse. Traditionally, we have had to deal with relatively simple content like marketing brochures, articles, manuals, support and learning documentation and presentations. Now, new content types have emerged in the form of network generated content or as it is typically known as UGC. On one hand, we have bite-sized pieces of information with little context, like social media posts or Internet of Things (IoT) data. On the other hand, we have complex multimedia content like photographs, interactive graphics and videos that contain metadata.

There is more content. Every year, the volume of content published grows exponentially. In the past two years, we have generated more digital content than in the entire history of human kind.

What does this mean for localization?

As content volumes grow, many businesses are faced with limited resources and subpar technology that is unable to cope with emerging content types and volumes. How do globalization and localization professionals survive when faced with such scaling challenges? We must prioritize content. A good approach is to consider the longevity of content (the relevancy period) against how useful the content will be to the user (utility).

What if everything is of high priority? How do we ensure that the quality is still good?

  1. Set the right quality expectations with the user. Different content types require different quality levels. UGC is typically written quickly, in short bursts and therefore, can contain abbreviations, grammar errors and typos. Translating this type of content to 100% linguistic accuracy is not always necessary. Simply maintaining the key message or “gist” of the message is often enough. This is where use of translation automation comes into play. Machine translation (MT) can help to translate huge volumes of UGC, sometimes with post-editing, for publishing quickly, meeting the needs of the business and the user. Other techniques for multimedia, like text-to-speech, can be used when high production value is not needed for content types like video.
  1. Invest in MT upfront to make it as reliable as possible. The sooner you integrate MT into the overall translation process, the more intelligent the system will become, making output more accurate and in line with the overall company brand and tone of voice. You can scale your human translations with machine-learning based technologies.
  1. Scale your quality monitoring. One way to do this is through sampling; however, there is another, more scalable way. Instead of monitoring translation quality, monitor the impact on users. For example, if you have just translated thousands of product reviews to attract more potential customers, instead of reviewing all of these translations, start monitoring your conversion rates. If you have just translated a massive documentation site on your software product, check if users became more engaged. Use data and analytics more intelligently on user activity rather than simply focusing on translation quality.

New content types provide new business opportunities. When you handle large amounts of content for your users, you have a unique opportunity of adding value on that content by making it multilingual or even language-neutral. Translating UGC converts content into a greater asset to reach and engage with more users. As the technology and processes in the globalization and localization industry advance, many global brands have more channels to communicate with users in multiple countries.

Hanna Kanabiajeuskaja is Product Manager (Localization) at Box.

Hanna took part in the special guest panelist for the discussion at Welocalize LocLeaders Forum 2016 in Montreal, “Quality Validation for Network Generated Content.”

Insights on Quality and MT for Localizing User Generated Content 

Samantha HendersonThe premise behind the Welocalize LocLeaders event series is to provide a forum for some of the localization industry’s most influential leaders to discuss new concepts, and how these ideas will shape the future of global business. The question of how to deal with the mind-blowing volumes of source content, which are primarily network and user generated content (UGC) and now flooding our lives daily, is one of the challenges which the localization industry must address.

There is great opportunity for businesses who can apply strategic, innovative approaches to localizing UGC and create greater engagement with customers all over the world. Moreover, the risks of not localizing also warrant keen examination so as not to lose a crucial edge on the competition.

The Welocalize LocLeaders Forum 2016 Montreal panel discussion, “Quality Validation for Network Generated Content,” brought together expertise from attendees who gave valuable insight into the challenges of dealing with evolving types of source content, including UGC.

There are different budgets, different quality expectations and certainly a different sense of urgency for localization depending on who, what, when, why and how the localized content will be consumed.  Source content needs to be categorized, with quality expectations defined, and then a calculation on potential return on investment will determine the priority for localization. UGC usually has a short shelf-life; however, there are examples such as a breaking news announcement, the instant impact and gratification of the message warrants that it is done fast and accurately, or else don’t bother at all.

img_3539The localization budget plays an important role. To translate high volumes of UGC using a more traditional localization approach would be too expensive and time consuming.

There is a lot of buzz around community or crowd-sourcing models, which, for the most part, rely on the goodwill of their user base, as a highly cost-effective and scalable model for both translating and validation of UGC. However, closer evaluation reveals that a ‘crowd’ willing to offer their services for free cannot be expected to mobilize for just any content type. There needs to be a deep-rooted passion for a product or a movement, which, in itself, drives a desire to make sure that consumers in their target market are able to experience the product or message in their native language. If such a community doesn’t exist, then other options need to be explored.

Machine translation (MT) is quickly becoming a standard tool for localizing UGC. Our LocLeaders panelists were all able to provide examples of how MT has been able to speed up time-to-market, increase efficiency and reduce the bottom line for their business.

MT translates content types which would otherwise been overlooked or sunk into traditional localization methods that don’t suit next generation content types like UGC. With a wider usage of MT, the role of the translator is shifting to a post-editor, with a focus on enhancing the raw MT output for better reuse and gradual enhancement of the MT engine quality over time.

The debate over the optimal way to localize UGC is only just beginning. By definition, we expect that users will increasingly devise their own creative methods for rendering source content into target formats. Welocalize aims to stay at the forefront of these developments and we will keep the discussions flowing at future LocLeaders Forums to ensure we continue to drive unique and innovative solutions for our clients.


Samantha Henderson, Senior Client Services Director at Welocalize

Samantha was a featured host at LocLeaders Forum 2016 Montreal for the panel discussion, “Quality Validation for Network Generated Content” with Loy Searle from Intuit, Hanna Kanabiajeuskaja from Box and Andrzej Poblocki from Veritas.  Sam also joined Katie Belanger from Intuit at LocWorld Montreal the same week to present, “Localization Models” The Search for the Optimal Linguistic Resource Model.”  If you would like to reach Sam to learn more about these presentations, reach out to

Monitor Content Usage To Determine Localization Quality Levels 

By Andrzej Poblocki, Globalization Architect at Veritas Technologies LLC 

andrzej-poblockiThe Evolution of Localization

The globalization and localization industry has evolved over many years. Teams no longer struggle to figure out how to translate a particular document, UI or website. There are countless tools, technology and processes that help with localization to the point that many of the non-creative tasks are now fully automated.

With the processes and teams in place, today’s challenge is to select the content that we need to prioritize, focusing on global customers’ needs and experiences. Localization cost, time and quality can be managed according to the specific content type.

Organizations know how to localize and have access to decent tools, technology and knowledgeable (though often small) teams; however, they are now faced with tons of content and different content types. With limited resources and budget, organizations can’t localize everything.

What Do We Focus On?

  • Cost – localize as much content as possible within budget?
  • Quality – deliver state of the art translations?
  • Time – publish all localized versions simultaneously with the source?

Balancing those three factors is not a trivial task, and yet, as we understand our customers better, we know that these three areas should be applied differently to different content types.

Content Types

There are many different content types, which will vary across organization and industry sector. For example, marketing, documentation, software UI, knowledge base (KB) and user generated content (UGC).

  • Marketing demands the highest quality. Any branded content requires in-context review and local office review (LOR) and in a lot of cases, projects go through transcreation rather than translation.
  • For documentation and software UI, translated segments have full linguistic review process.
  • For knowledge bases, pure MT can be applied with post-editing for the most popular content.
  • Network generated content or UGC is a rapidly growing and high volume source of content and requires a combination of translation automation and human translation skill.

What are the Localization Quality Levels?

  1. Don’t localize – leave it as is
  2. Use pure MT
  3. Post-edit MT output
  4. Human translation with review
  5. Transcreation

We don’t need to apply the highest level of quality for all content types. This approach allows us to balance the cost/quality/time triangle for different content types. Determining which content is consumed by users can help improve the globalization and localization process.

Rise of Big Data

img_3534Using big data analytics and telemetry, we can learn how users consume different types of content; which sites are users coming from? What did they click or download? How long did they spend on particular tasks or sites? With telemetry, you can figure out which content is in demand. Based on the customer reviews or interviews, you can determine what people are expecting from certain content and this can help set quality levels. For example, most people don’t expect social media to be linguistically accurate.

A lot of social media posts in the source language often contain abbreviations and slang, so there’s no point setting quality levels high for subsequent translated versions. For branded marketing content where quality is a priority, transcreation will be used based on data from particular markets to establish the extent of the differences from the source, often in English.

Where volume is high, we would focus on delivery time and cost of translation, and consider sacrificing some quality, for example, content like KB.

  1. Enable MT if there’s enough demand from non-English speaking regions.
  1. Identify the most requested articles, with some minimal threshold, in particular languages for post-editing.
  1. Anticipate that most popular English articles will also be required in other languages, so prepare post-edited version of those beforehand.

The level of quality applied, is based on the demand and popularity of the content.

What Will the Future Bring?

We should keep focusing on the global clients’ experience. Keep using data to better understand their needs and content journeys. Expect that language tools and MT will allow us to increase quality at a lower cost, while content volumes will keep growing. We have to expect new trends and technologies will affect (or disrupt) the localization industry: bigger demand on video content, Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality to name a few.

I don’t know what the future will bring, but I am sure it will be interesting.

Andrzej Poblocki is Globalization Architect at Veritas Technologies LLC and was a featured panelist at Welocalize’s LocLeaders Forum 2016 in Montreal.

Andrzej Poblocki is a globalization architect at Veritas Technologies LLC who is passionate about delivering a software that will delight international customers. During his 13-year career in the globalization industry he has held various positions, starting in quality assurance then quickly moving to localization engineering, tools, internationalization and finally to the architect role where he is responsible for the globalization systems, processes and integrations as well as the internationalization architecture of the company’s products.


Localizing User Generated Content Discussion Highlights from LocLeaders Montreal

By AnneCécile Tomlinson, Head of Content Operations, GetYourGuide

getyourguide-logoWe live in a digital era where customers expect to receive their content when they decide, usually instantly, downloaded on multiples devices and in their native language. Therefore, globalization and localization are, more than ever, key factors to consider while building and growing an international business.

To deliver the right content to the right audience at the right price and quality, requires global businesses and localization professionals to re-think their current best practices. We need to continually look for more innovative and optimal approaches for getting content and brand messages to global audiences.

import-camera-jg-1706At the Welocalize LocLeaders Forum 2016 in Montreal, appropriately themed “The Globalization Journey,” a room full of content and localization experts, discussed different strategies, generated a lot of new ideas and shared some common challenges and pains. For me, the main and most interesting questions triggered by the all talks and conversations at LocLeaders Montreal were around user generated content (UGC).

Many businesses are driven by UGC. With increased use of social media and e-commerce, users from all over the world are generating a high volumes of networked content. Global businesses have to translate this type of content and it is a huge challenge to address how to identify languages, appropriate levels of quality and implement localization processes to meet these needs.

At LocLeaders Montreal, we discussed how the localization industry should innovate translation of UGC and control quality of the output generated and published by users. We have just discovered the tip of the iceberg in terms of volume and power of non-professional translation for everyday UGC content. The very nature of UGC gives some flexibility in terms of quality.

Most people do not expect to read linguistically accurate translations for every user review and social media post. The key is to keep the concept of the message accurate. A positive review in English must translate to a positive review in Spanish, French or German, in a way that is culturally appropriate but doesn’t require large teams of professional translators and reviewers.

UGC is where translation automation tools like machine translation (MT) and human linguistic skills like post-editing will come into play, to produce high volumes of translated content that is brand and culturally appropriate. It’s still not a simple process and I will be curious to see how our industry will deal with this new challenge in the next few years.

anne-cecile-getyourguideI enjoyed the discussions at LocLeaders in Montreal. It was a good mix of input from Welocalize and industry experts. I look forward to continuing the discussions on next generation globalization topics at future LocLeaders events.


AnneCécile Tomlinson is Head of Content Operations at

montreal-badge-2016LocLeaders events are peer-to-peer discussions hosted by Welocalize.  Industry experts and colleagues discuss industry hot topics and trends.  The participants share challenges, innovations, best practices and solutions to address growth and content strategies related to their respective globalization journeys.  For more information about LocLeaders events, contact

About  From its founding in 2009, GetYourGuide has grown to be one of the world’s most successful online travel startups. Backed by leading VC investors Spark Capital, Highland Capital Partners, and PROfounders Capital, GetYourGuide has expanded into six global markets and opened offices in Berlin, Las Vegas, and Zurich. Awards and honors received include the Swiss Economic Award 2013, the Swiss ICT Award 2012, the 2011 De Vigier Prize, and the Swiss Venture Leaders award in 2010.




Increase Your Global Reach with Multilingual User Generated Content

Capturing the moment with a smartphoneWelocalize specializes in multilingual digital marketing content, including the translation of user generated content (UGC) to help global brands engage with wider international audiences. Recently, MultiLingual Magazine published the Welocalize whitepaper, Multilingual User Generated Content Increases Your Global Reach.

Read the entire white paper for expert insights into UGC, the benefits of multilingual UGC and some popular methods on how to culturally adapt and localize UGC, as featured in the December 2016 issue of MultiLingual Magazine.

Here are a few key excerpts from the whitepaper or click here to download the entire whitepaper: Multilingual User Generated Content Increases Your Global Reach.

User generated content (UGC) is a rapidly emerging content type used by content marketers to influence buyers and global customer experience. This type of network generated content gives many organizations the chance to promote brands and share product knowledge on a global scale, reaping significant rewards in terms of brand awareness and increased equity.

What is User Generated Content?

User generated content (UGC) is any form of content or media such as blogs, wikis, discussion forums, posts, chats, tweets, podcasts, digital images, video, audio files, advertisements and other forms created by users online, often made available via online websites or through social media platforms. UGC is often created by someone with an interest in the brand, product or service and is unpaid for their shared content. Whatever you choose to call it (network generated, online content or social media), the role of UGC in global content strategies is on the rise.

Why Translate and Localize UGC?

Social Media Listening: Do you monitor what other people are saying about your company and products online? Social media listening is a key tool for global marketing and product development. Good reviews of a product or brand is a huge benefit and asset. Allowing other potential consumers in wider international markets to see the excellent reviews written by other consumers, will reinforce a brand’s association with positive feeling. When reviews and opinions are good, this increases brand equity and, ultimately, sales. The same applies for negative reviews. If someone is saying something bad about your product or service, then you want to know about it.

Expand Global Reach: If UGC is available in multiple languages, it means people all over the world can read it and engage. UGC is a very simple and cost-effective way to project brands to a wider audience, targeting emerging markets, yet is limited to the source language if you don’t translate it. Good localization and cultural adaptation of UGC enables more consumers to interact with each other in local markets, creating an exponential effect of more positive publicity in new, target markets.

Methods to Culturally Adapt and Localize User Generated Content: There are a number of localization approaches that can be applied to take full advantage of UGC. It must take into consideration the volume of content, production speed of content and intended use of UGC as a marketing asset. For UGC, language automation technology is best suited to process high volumes of content that require translation to expected and appropriate levels of quality.

Copy Writing and Cultural Adaptation: There are various forms of UGC developed by and for brands. This type of content is often created or posted in English or a single language source. Not all content created “relates” to a local target audience when translated. This type of content requires adaptation, or what we refer to as transcreation. One option is to use native speakers to write new content. Another is to utilize a multilingual marketing service provider, like Adapt Worldwide, to adapt the content to ensure it meets the brand and customer experience for the target audience.

Human Translation: Using professionally trained translators and linguists to translate UGC can be pricey. Human translation is best utilized for high impact UGC, such as comments on a CEO blog or high profile product reviews. Lower-cost translators or even crowdsourcing can deliver high volumes of translation at a lower quality. However, consider the potential impact of publishing poor quality content about your brand.

Raw Machine Translation (MT): Using trained MT engines to provide raw translated output is suitable for massive volumes of UGC and can be published automatically providing the MT output meets the minimum scoring, based on a defined scoring system. For high volume UGC like social media posts, content translation expectations are fairly low. Customers understand that original reviews are authored quickly. As long as the “jist” is accurate and not offensive, then companies who produce massive amounts of UGC can benefit from using ongoing MT engines that can be customized to recognize and understand industry terminology and typical jargon. UGC such as social media can often contain many spelling and grammatical errors and programs can be put in place to “fix” source content, prior to MT. This increases the overall quality of the MT output.

MT with Post-Editing: UGC such as product and customer reviews, can be post-edited once it has gone through an MT engine. Post-editors add great value, processing more MT output compared with pure human translation at a lower cost. Post-editing can range from a simple plausibility check to prevent serious or offensive misrepresentation through to full post-edit to bring the content up to human translation quality levels. Post-editors do not have to be fully qualified translators or linguistic copywriters. They can be native speakers with good knowledge and interest of the industry and product range.

Welocalize User Generated Solutions

Global brands trust Welocalize with their multilingual user generated content and digital marketing initiatives. Our experts collaborate with global brands to identify the best approach and methods to generate, translate and localize UGC. Welocalize offers a range of solutions, working closely with Welocalize Language Automation Tools and Adapt Worldwide, a Welocalize Multilingual Digital Marketing Agency, to support global marketing initiatives and UGC activities.

DOWNLOAD ENTIRE WELOCALIZE WHITEPAPER: Multilingual User Generated Content Increases Your Global Reach



Laughter is a Global Language

thinkstockphotos-481993850Welocalize delivers localized content in more than 175 languages, so we have a good knowledge of the various cultural forms of communication around the world. From dialects and writing systems through to multimedia and images, we have localized and translated them all. There is one area of communication that also differs between countries – humor.

Humor is meant to provoke laughter and provide amusement. It can be expressed in many different ways, both verbally and written, and is frequently used digitally and distributed through social media sites. Anyone can laugh and it’s the ultimate feel-good language that is really easy to learn  and is universal.  What’s not universal is how humor is applied around the world. We just don’t all see things the same way and that is when cultural adaptation is needed to make sure we all get the humor, in any language.

Research conducted at University College London (UCL) indicates that laughter has commanding cross-cultural significance. Despite diversity in language, lifestyle and culture, laughter is one common way that all nationalities express emotion.

Research has found that an individual is up to 30 times more likely to laugh when in the presence of others (BBC Horizon), indicating that laughter is contagious, wherever you are, as well as part of a social process.

As humor is adapted, we also need to be aware of how others may view the actual impact. Individuals use laughter for numerous different reasons and often laugh at totally different things. An individual’s laugh is far from homogeneous across cultures. Laughing loudly or with your mouth open is considered a faux pas in Japan, whereas a free, loud laugh is the cultural norm in America. Individuals from China are unlikely to use laughter as a way of deflecting an uncomfortable situation.

 “Ha-ha!” Translated

Ha-ha, used in SMS messages and on social media, has become an established e-laugh.  Ha-ha may be well-understood in the English-speaking world; however, there are other ways millennials express this e-laugh of sorts in other countries:

  • Thailand ‘5555’
  • Brazil ‘rsrsrs’
  • Korea ‘kkkk’
  • Italy ‘ah ah’
  • Greece ‘xaxaxa’
  • Japan ‘wwww’
  • France ‘mdr’
  • Nigeria lwkmd’

One similarity is certain, in many cultures the user-generated content (UGC) of an e-laugh is short, simple and easy to type. The other certainty is that ha-ha is not universal!

Emoji Laughter

The term ‘lol’ is a well-used internet acronym for laugh out loud. Lol originated in the 1980s and was officially added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2011. The addition of the acronym in such a well-known publication was driven by the rapid adoption of technology, particularly mobile devices that have changed the way we communicate across the world.

Research conducted by social media giant Facebook discovered that lol’s are in fact being replaced by emoji’s as the go-to e-laugh. Emoji use differs across cultures. Japanese favor emojis that convey politeness, rather than raucous laughter. In a report published by Swiftkey, which analyzed nearly one billion pieces of emoji data, they found the French used more love hearts over laughter than any other country, while those in Australia use more holiday themed emojis than anyone else.

Laughter gives us all the same feeling of happiness and joy. Wherever you are in the world, try to take some time out today to speak the language and make your day brighter.


Jack Rainey is a member of the Welocalize Global Marketing and Sales Support team.

Understanding the Consumer Journey for Successful E-Commerce Localization

istock_000078763713_mediumOne of the key steps in the overall globalization process is to map the consumer journey by identifying content touchpoints. This step is very important, as it allows global brands to fully understand the overall consumer experience and their interaction with consumers via published content and communications, both verbal and written.

Many global retailers and B2C e-commerce organizations are surprised at the number of potential touchpoints that can influence the purchasing habits of their consumers. Touchpoint strategies factor into developing a targeted and successful localization program for companies within the consumer industry. In order to maximize the reach potential, each touchpoint should reflect a truly “local” experience, supported by content localized and culturally adapted for target audiences.

Based on our broad experience in working with global consumer brands, we have identified content areas that need focus and attention throughout the localization process:

DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS: First and foremost, does your main website and e-commerce sites speak to all your local markets in the right language? Localizing the main website is a critical step in reaching global markets. Web translation must be an integral part of a global content strategy because websites provide a direct route of communication with billions of potential online consumers. The main .com destination is probably the single most important digital touchpoint for most global brands. Each aspect of the website must be localized for target local markets, including: web content, UX, payment systems, product descriptions, marketing content, corporate messages, as well as legal and compliance information.

Every piece of content on a company website may potentially influence brand perception and purchasing power. For major online retailers, the website is the main shopfront and window to goods and services; therefore, all web content must be in the appropriate language, tailored for each geography and culture.

DIGITAL MARKETING AND SEO ACTIVITIES: As well as the main .com presence, online digital marketing campaigns can achieve a wide audience reach. Banner advertisements and sponsored online search activities, as well as digital online promotions can reach consumers all over the world. They are common place today for generating site traffic and influencing, if not directly impacting, sales and revenue. Multilingual digital marketing is crucial for today’s digital retailers. Each campaign must contain consistent concepts and brand messages and should be adapted to meet the local nuances and cultural preferences. The same applies for search engine marketing, also known as paid campaigns.  Each geography has different leading search engines and terms, tags and meta data may need to be localized, as consumers will search for different phrases, depending on where they reside.

Special Note: Welocalize’s multilingual digital marketing agency, Adapt Worldwide, works with a number of leading brands to develop multilingual digital marketing campaigns and SEO programs using professional linguistic copywriters and clever global search engine specialists to ensure online marketing campaigns maximize their potential.

EMAIL MARKETING: Reaching consumers through email is a valuable one-to-one communication tool. As many online retailers are reliant on collating consumer information, tastes and preferences, email is still considered an excellent medium to reach consumers with incredibly tailored messages based on previous purchases and other demographic information. To keep a consistent consumer journey, if websites and online purchases have been made in a local language, follow-up promotional and contact email communications must also be in the same “originating” language, style and tone.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND UGC: Social media and user generated content (UGC) has experienced a meteoric rise over the past decade. As more global consumers have gained access to the Internet, they have also gained a “voice” where they can easily publish their opinion and reviews of products and brands. This online experience is then amplified through use of social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Development of multilingual social media and UGC programs are often not a priority localization strategy. This is likely a result of volume. There is so much UGC to consider and content marketers are often unsure how to approach the localization of UGC. Plus, there’s the perception that the localization budget won’t cover the translation of millions of word of UGC.  The facts are, perception is not reality.

Welocalize processes millions of words of UGC for global brands using automation and language technology to minimize costs for our clients. Machine translation is one way organizations can use language technology to translate and republish UGC. This can reap benefits as online consumers are more likely to trust third party opinion rather than company paid media campaigns. Social media is an excellent way to gain visibility and reputation in new geographical markets. See Welocalize white paper, A Welocalize Guide for Global Content Marketers to UGC.

CONSUMER SUPPORT: Consumer support is a critical touchpoint for retailers and e-commerce organizations. Consumers remember good post-purchase support and it can reduce operational costs with lower levels of product returns and problem resolution. The online marketplace is so competitive, consumer loyalty is essential. The ability to talk to a support representative in a native language, whether over the phone or in online chat, will increase consumer happiness and loyalty. Other consumer support materials, such as FAQs, must also be localized to gain loyalty in your target languages.

RETAIL OUTLETS: Many e-commerce organizations, such as Amazon and E-Bay, also maintain traditional bricks and mortar outlets. From in-store promotions to billboard advertising, any content featured in physical stores also requires localization. Point-of-sale or point-of-purchase is a key process in retail transactions and communications at this stage must reflect a truly local experience.

Understanding the consumer journey and identifying touch points is critical for success for retailers and consumer organizations, in particular those conducting business through e-commerce. Each brand interaction must be tailored and personalized to consumer preferences and this means localizing different types of content to suit each unique language and culture. If you want to really connect to the buyer, speak their language!


Based in California, Monique Nguyen is Regional Enterprise Sales Director at Welocalize.



A Welocalize Guide for Multilingual User Generated Content

user generated contentOne of the significant growth areas for global content marketers to influence buyers and enhance the customer experience has been the rise in user generated content (UGC). Every second millions of network generated comments, blogs, posts, and reviews are published digitally on hundreds of media platforms and channels around the world.  How should global brands respond?  The challenges of being faced with the volumes of real-time experiences can be overwhelming.  Yet, there are many organizations that realizing there are great benefits in localizing, testing, adapting and translating content in multiple languages.

Welocalize has released an extensive guide with valuable insights for content marketers and localization professionals on how to manage multilingual UGC.

Get your copy now!  Click here: A Welocalize Guide for Global Content Marketers to UGC

UGC gives many organizations the chance to promote brands and share product knowledge on a global scale, reaping significant rewards in terms of brand awareness and increased equity across our expansive digitally connected world. From social media to product forums, this network generated content is highly valuable as it can build brand equity in highly competitive markets, help promote further sales and penetrate new and emerging markets.

In fact, 25% of search results for the world’s largest brands are links to UGC (Kissmetrics) and 84% of millennials report that UGC on company websites has at least some influence on what they buy (Bazaarvoice).

Ready to learn more? Welocalize’s new white paper looks at all aspects relating to network and user generated content and its role in today’s online digital marketing strategies.

What you will learn in A Welocalize Guide for Global Content Marketers to UGC:


This white paper is a must-read for digital content marketers and localization professionals who want to maximize the impact and value of any UGC.

DOWNLOAD A Welocalize Guide for Global Content Marketers to UGC NOW!

You may also like:

Nine Really Interesting Statistics Why Localizing UGC Matters

Ten Reasons Why Companies Need Multilingual UGC

UGC in Modern-Day Localization



Welocalize’s Global Force Shares Next Generation Multilingual Content Solutions at Content Marketing World 2016

Frederick, Maryland – September 1, 2016 – Welocalize, global leader in translation and localization solutions, is exhibiting at the upcoming Content Marketing World Conference and Expo taking place at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland, in Ohio, September 6-9, 2016.

Adapt Worldwide, a Welocalize Multilingual Digital Marketing Agency, will be exhibiting alongside Welocalize at the CMWorld 2016 to share specialized expertise in next generation content, transcreation, digital content, SEO, mobile marketing and cultural adaption.

Welocalize and Adapt Worldwide multilingual digital marketing and globalization experts will meet with leading brand marketers at booth #37 to discuss global content solutions, including strategies and methods for adapting various forms of content into more than 175 languages.

“Content Marketing World 2016 is an incredible opportunity for us to engage with content marketing professionals from around the world whose primary objective is to engage their international audiences through effective global brand marketing,” said Jamie Glass, CMO and EVP of global service lines at Welocalize. “Welocalize and Adapt Worldwide have unique and expansive knowledge to share about how to utilize all types of content, platforms, and channels to reach targeted audiences. We look forward to meeting with our partners, clients and brand marketers to learn how our global force can help support their international business goals.”

During the exhibition, participants visiting with Welocalize and Adapt Worldwide will receive the quintessential “Global Content Guide for Content Marketers,” with tips on how to target geographic regions around the world.  Welocalize will also be releasing a new whitepaper for managing multilingual user generated content at the event.

As sponsors of the special session, “Creating an Intelligent Content Framework,” Huw Aveston, general manager and co-founder of Adapt Worldwide, will be sharing tips for learning the language of digital marketing as well as introducing the presenters Ann Rockley and Charles Cooper.

content marketing world 2016 blackContent Marketing World 2016 will bring together 4,000 marketing and PR professionals from more than 50 countries to learn from 225 speakers, including the keynote presenter and award-winning Star Wars actor, Mark Hamill. For more information on Content Marketing World, visit

Welocalize, Inc., founded in 1997, offers innovative language services to help global brands reach audiences around the world in more than 175 languages. We provide translation and localization services, talent management, language tools, automation and technology, quality and program management. Our range of managed language services include machine translation, digital marketing, validation and testing, interpretation, staffing and enterprise translation management technologies. We specialize in consumer, technology, manufacturing, learning, oil and gas, travel and hospitality, marketing and advertising, finance, legal and life sciences industry language solutions. With more than 1,000 full-time employees worldwide, Welocalize maintains offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Romania, Poland, Japan, Hungary and China.

Adapt Worldwide, a Welocalize multilingual digital marketing agency, helps brands expand their global reach across markets and platforms in more than 175 languages. Increasing demands for an integrated approach between marketing and localization, Adapt Worldwide assists through the cultural adaption of content across digital channels. Our broad range of specialized digital and language services include search engine optimization (SEO), app store optimization, copywriting, transcreation, mobile, web and paid amplification. Based in London, with operations in 21 global offices, Welocalize acquired Adapt Worldwide in 2015. Adapt Worldwide was formerly known as Traffic Optimiser.


Nine Really Interesting Statistics Why Localizing UGC Matters

Some of the world’s best known brands and online retailers drive business and sales through maximizing the value on user generated content (UGC).

UGC can include many types of consumer experience, expressed in many formats from social media posts to blog and product review forums. UGC can be short and sweet, constructive or emotional, positive or negative. However UGC is presented, if it can be viewed, it will affect the purchasing behavior of other consumers.

Consumers who interact with UGC tend to spend more than those who don’t. Many of us will have purchased goods and services online and ended up buying more than we originally intended due to feedback and recommendations from other, like-minded consumers. Many global brands today harness the power of UGC, including UGC in advertising campaigns and translating UGC into more languages to reach new markets and attract wider audiences. Take a look at Welocalize blog, Examples of Global UGC & Social Media Campaigns.

UGC is becoming a key tool for global content marketers. Here are nine facts about UGC that may influence your global marketing decisions.

STATISTIC ONE: 2.3 billion of the world’s population are active on social media, home to UGC. comScore

STATISTIC TWO: If a consumer who does not interact with UGC spends $20, a consumer that does interact with UGC spends $39.36. Bazaarvoice

STATISTIC THREE: With so much information and UGC in the form of social media, reviews, blog and online forums, B2B buyers will make 12 queries before engaging directly with the seller. Google Millward Brown Digital B2B Path to Purchase Study

STATISTIC FOUR: 25% of search results for the world’s 20 largest brands are links to UGC. Kissmetrics

STATISTIC FIVE: 84% of millennials report that UCG on company websites has at least some influence on what they buy. Bazaarvoice

STATISTIC SIX: 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media such as word-of-mouth and recommendations above all other forms of advertising. The Nielsen Company

STATISTIC SEVEN: 85% of fans of brands on Facebook recommend brands to others. Syncapse

STATISTIC EIGHT: 59% of millennials say they use UGC to inform their purchase decisions about major electronics. That’s followed by cars (54%), major appliances (53%), mobile phones (46%), hotels (45%) and travel plans (40%). Crowdtap

STATISTIC NINE: 51% of brands and 91% of retailers plan to increase use of UGC across the customer journey in the next 12 months. Bazaarvoice

UGC is such an important part of the overall global content marketing strategy. It is important to fully understand what is being said about your brand (social listening) and make available UGC in all relevant languages associated to your market and growth strategies.

Driving a multilingual UGC strategy can be challenging. There are potentially millions of words and phrases requiring translation. Welocalize works with many leading global brands to develop multilingual digital marketing and language automation programs, enabling UGC to reach and influence potential consumers all over the world. For more about our UGC language solutions and our experience in localizing UGC, email


Five Trends Impacting Global Content Marketing Strategies

Content Strategy ConceptWith 93% of marketers now taking part in some form of content marketing (B2B Content Marketing 2014, Content Marketing Institute), it comes as no surprise that content is a hot discussion topic for many global businesses. Driving a global content strategy is a vital part of the globalization process.

It is important to create relevant content that your target audience actually wants and in the right mix of format that gets attention and delivers the desired result. One of the key challenges facing global marketers is producing content that speaks to a local audience in a linguistically and culturally relevant way to create impact and generate revenue.

Here are five global content trends that will affect today’s global content strategies:

#1 – Long Copy Influences Purchases. In a study conducted by IZEA, blog posts were found to continue to drive traffic and generate impressions up to 700 days after they go live. Treating blogs like editorial will keep interest going, long after it is initially published. Even if you don’t translate and localize all blogs immediately, web analytics can show which blogs are popular, in different regions and therefore blogs can be translated at a later date.

Content between 3,000 and 10,000 words receives the most social shares. Publishers are producing 16 times more short-form content than long.

#2 – Digital Rules. 67% of a typical B2B buyer’s journey is now digital with buyers researching product and brand information online before purchase, B2B buyers typically make “considered purchases.” They don’t make quick decisions and tend to conduct online research, investigate and deliberate on many platforms. How they conduct their online research may vary. Many use social media, join user forums, watch instructional videos and more. The common factor is digital. Buyers’ access digital information online from their mobile devices or desktops at all times, day or night.

#3 – Growth in Video Popularity. Instructional, how-to videos are very popular formats to promote brands and share product information. Although text is still a dominant form of content today, by 2017 Cisco predicts that 69% of all Internet traffic will feature video format. Publishing video is one of the fastest growth areas in digital content marketing. Video format is a content type that can easily be accessed by potential customers all over the world. Development and production of multilingual videos is also becoming easier and cheaper, thanks to advancement in language technologies like text-to-speech (TTS) and script subtitling. With images and video set to become the most popular type of brand content, global marketers have to look to integrate this format into global content strategies.

#4 – Harness the Power of UGC. According to statistics produced by Statistica, there are 2.307 billion active social media users. 65% of B2C marketers named Facebook as the platform single most important to their business with 41% of B2B marketers naming LinkedIn. As buyers research products online, they are often reading the voice and opinion of other buyers in the form of user generated content (UGC). UGC is a key tool for global content marketers. Having a social media is all target markets is important as is knowing what buyers are saying about your brand and products.

25% of search results for the world’s 20 largest brands are links to user generated content. Kissmetrics

Many savvy content marketers are using UGC content as marketing content. Republishing positive comments from customers is overtaking traditional advertising techniques because most customers value and believe the opinions of other customers, rather than clever advertising slogans or overly creative marketing messages. Translating UGC can be an excellent content marketing technique to build awareness and sales in local, multilingual markets.

#5 – Champion Content Internally. Only 23% of CMO’s feel they are producing the right information for the right audience and delivering it at the right time and correct format (Business2Community). Many organization struggle to develop good content that customers want in all target languages. Although content marketing is present in most global organizations, many do not fully understand the positive impact it has and how effective it is to achieve global growth. Many global marketers have significant pressures on budget and resource that can impair the effectiveness of a content marketing strategy. Content is often published to build brand and product awareness and to communicate company values, often in established and emerging geographical markets. The success of individual campaigns can often be measured by leads generated, which is great for ROI but is a short-term measurement and overlooks the impact of a content campaign on brand awareness.

Raising awareness of content internally can help drive a better global content strategy and gain improved C-suite level buy-in and support. Partnering with appropriate agencies can help create content that is right for the target audience and can also set in place long-term measures that can monitor performance.

Developing good content, destined for a global audience can be a challenge; however, it is such an important part of the overall marketing strategy. It is one challenge that cannot be overlooked by today’s marketers.

content marketing world 2016 blackMore global content discussions will take place at this year’s Content Marketing World Conference and Expo, September 6-9, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Welocalize is taking part as an event sponsor and exhibitor, providing expert input on developing global multilingual content to expand reach. We hope to see you there!

Click here for more information on Content Marketing World 2016.


Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.


UGC in Modern-Day Localization

Colorful earth on the gray backgroundOver the past years, the importance of user-generated content (UGC) in global marketing programs has steadily increased to what some classify as overwhelming volumes. More and more consumers post reviews about products and services online. Global brands are more accessible than ever, having their own Facebook and Twitter accounts, thus making it easy to get in touch with the companies themselves. These networks and communities are coming together centered on one purpose, for exchanging opinions with other customers to share and react to recent posts. And this is happening in a global exchange.

Today, companies are confronted with a vast amount of multilingual content at their disposal. Whether it is to promote further sales, initiate remedial measures in case of negative feedback or get to know more about their customers’ needs – no global company would want to leave this source of knowledge unexploited. The fact that it involves so many different languages naturally has turned UGC and network generated content into big topics within the localization industry.

What does UGC involve? First of all, a massive amount of “data” that is available for localization, primarily due to globalization as a whole. Second, the content is likely to be orthographically and grammatically incorrect and contain a lot of Internet slang (most famously acronyms like “LOL” for “laughing out loud” and the like). Both are challenges.

What does this mean for localization? There is already a lot more content out there than could ever be localized by human translators. Also, even big global players usually do not have enough budget to get all this content fully localized, nor should they. Moreover, why would someone want to spend an incredible amount of money on localizing something that was not considered nor intended to be perfect in the first place and usually has a very short life span, with someone posting something new five minutes (or seconds) later?

Machine translation (MT) can help. Large amounts of data can be localized fast and cost-effectively, to the expected level of comprehension and understanding for this type of content. Confidence scoring helps to assess “understand-ability” automatically, to then decide whether the raw MT is published or not. Content that did not meet the “pass”threshold can either be discarded completely or fed back into a post-editing cycle, depending on its importance. If there were slightly higher expectations right from the start, a certain level of post-editing could be included in the process by default.

With weMT and weImpact featuring DQF, Welocalize acts upon such customer unique requirements and provides customized quality models based upon variables such as content objectives and budget. Depending on the client’s requirements around such variables, light, medium or full post-editing are then only some of the flexible options to choose from to ensure UGC is localized at the right scale, quality, budget and timing needs.

Let’s get back to the problem of slang, orthographic mistakes and the like for a minute. Assuming a brand wants to use raw MT to publish UGC in another language, how does MT deal with things like “teh” instead of “the” and “gr8” instead of “great”, for example? Most certainly, MT will not understand them, because it does not know them and thus leaves these words untranslated. Which, in the target language, most certainly will not make a lot of sense to most of the readers. And understand-ability in the target language was the whole point of the exercise! Normalization is the way to go here. During normalization, the text will be automatically scrubbed to correct “teh” to “the” and “gr8” to “great”, which our MT engine will then be able to understand and process accordingly.

Apart from user-generated product reviews and the like, Welocalize is also working together with clients to make MT available in other areas where a fast “gisting” translation is desired. MT for technical support communication and MT as a means to provide a “preliminary” translation until the fully localized version will become available are only two examples of advanced solutions we are offering to our clients. In addition to just providing the raw MT in such programs, we are also working on continuous improvements of the underlying engines, using proprietary human and automated assessments, as well as data-driven engine retraining efforts.

Sentiment analysis (SA), the process of analyzing the “sentiment” of user-generated content to identify whether it is positive, negative or neutral, is another related area we can offer clients support. It complements our portfolio in relation to fast and cost-effective UGC translation and analysis solutions to help global companies make use of important business intelligence.

If you want to learn more about UGC and sentiment analysis, please read our related blogs:

How Sentiment Analysis and MT Can Help You Make Sense of UGC Content

Ten Reasons Why Companies Need Multilingual User Generated Content

Tanja Schmidt

MT Program Manager, Technology Solutions







How Sentiment Analysis and MT Can Help You Make Sense of UGC Content

Global communication group works at a tableUser generated content (UGC) plays a key role in global business, localization and marketing strategies. A growing number of consumers post and share comments and reviews about products, services and brand experiences. Many global brands have realized how valuable it is to harness the power and knowledge of their users and encourage conversations, discussions and opinion-sharing. Global companies like TripAdvisor, eBay, Facebook and YouTube are based on business models that share and rank user opinions.

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, process over 320 million reviews per month! UGC is often posted in more than one language and a growing area in the localization industry is translating and understanding UGC to monitor what multilingual consumers are saying about their brand and products. This is called social listening.

By gathering and understanding UGC, businesses can use this data to promote further online sales, develop online digital marketing campaigns and provide feedback to product development.

FACT: 25% of Search Results for the world’s 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content. Source: Kissmetrics

One tweet or review can contain facts, tone and opinion that can have an impact on how others see a particular brand. It can be a challenge to collectively make sense, rank and monitor UGC data in the source language, not to mention translate UGC into other languages.

Global organizations often use machine translation (MT), to translate UGC and social media content. MT allows large volumes of data to be translated rapidly to a quality level that is acceptable for this type of content. Once UGC has gone through MT, it is often re-published automatically. As part of this localization and translation process, a growing number of organizations are embracing sentiment analysis as a value-added task to rank source and translated UGC.

Sentiment analysis (SA) is the process of computationally identifying and categorizing opinion expressed in UGC, such as product reviews, social media posts and comments. It provides analysis of the “sentiment” of UGC content, to identify whether it is positive, negative or neutral. On a more complex level, some sentiment analysis tools will break down sections of a review, positive or negative, providing an overall outcome or rating for the piece of text.

The technology behind sentiment analysis is natural language processing (NLP) which focuses on the interaction between computers and language to enable text analysis. As organizations generate huge amounts of online UGC data, sentiment analysis is a key tool to make sense and create valuable business knowledge and intelligence. Working as part of an enterprise MT program, sentiment analysis can assess translated UGC text to enable ranking of multilingual reviews.

Global brands can use sentiment analysis as part of the decision-making process, to decide whether to re-publish and keep certain reviews or UGC data live. Data collected can also be used to help assess the performance of a particular product or service by monitoring overall user feedback posted in social media forums.

Integrating sentiment analysis into an enterprise MT program is an effective way to manage and understand large volumes of UGC in more than one language.  Welocalize has recently partnered with an innovative NLP specialist and is now delivering sentiment analysis and other text analytics services for a range of languages. For more information about sentiment analysis and Welocalize weMT and language tools solutions, email

Based in the United States, Elaine O’Curran is MT Program Manager at Welocalize.

Read more about TripAdvisor and Welocalize partnering together in this case study: 

Ten Reasons Why Companies Need Multilingual User Generated Content

iStock_000067799459_MediumUser generated content (UGC), also referenced as as network generated content, is everywhere. On social media, blogs, comments section, web forums, travel and restaurant sites, product review sites and many more outlets consumers and marketers are sharing content. Today’s consumer are reading large volumes of UGC to research the best products and services, then sharing information on performance, post-purchase.  The growing content type has shifted priorities for organizations to include UGC in the mix of marketing localization programs.

According to BazaarVoice, 64% of millennials and 53% of baby boomers want more options to share their opinions about brands.

Global brands benefit from encouraging UGC and localization of that content to reach a broader audience. Here are ten reasons why it is important to encourage and use UGC, in all your target languages:

  1. Positive UGC can help you sell more. Many online search results are linked to UGC. If a consumer search for a product type, you want your good reviews to be ranked highly in the search results.
  2. B2B buyers make considered purchases and tend to conduct a lot of online research by viewing online reviews and other digital customer feedback. If there is no UGC content posted on your brand, you won’t be considered and your competitors will be top choice.
  3. UGC content is more trusted than other media. For certain purchases, consumers will trust the views of other consumers rather than content shown in an advertising campaign.
  4. Having UGC posted on your website means fresh, unique content appears regularly. This is great for your visitors and also for SEO purposes.
  5. UGC demonstrates transparency in your marketing. It shows you value the opinion of your customers and have utmost confidence in your product offering.
  6. Collating and monitoring UGC helps organization’s better understand target audiences and product performance. The power of the crowd can quickly point out if a feature or functionality is not working.
  7. UGC is relatively cost-effective. As long as you invest in the right infrastructure on your site and are active on key social media channels, you’re inviting your potential consumers into the conversation.
  8. You can use UGC in other forms of digital marketing activities. For example, to drive a social media campaign. Inviting consumers to take part in a social media campaign generates UGC and could cause a positive viral effect, building brand awareness and engagement.
  9. Collating and analyzing UGC can help to make business and marketing decisions. Ranking positive, negative and neutral reviews can help generate market intelligence for certain areas and demographics to indicate how a product is performing.
  10. Translating UGC into multiple languages can help companies expand into local and emerging markets and spot opportunities for global growth.

Next time you make a purchase online, take some time to think about how much UGC versus advertising copy you read before making a decision. By translating that UGC copy into multiple languages, you’ll be expanding your reach to more consumers in wider global markets, multiplying the benefits of UGC for your brand.


Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.

For more information on how Welocalize can help you manage and translate your global UGC email



Digital is the Primary Global Media Channel

By Huw Aveston, Digital Media Expert, Co-Founder and Co-Managing Director of Adapt Worldwide, Welocalize Multilingual Digital Agency

pieces of puzzle showing internet concept

How we reach our global customers has changed significantly. Most of our content is now published and distributed digitally, impacting our overall global and multilingual content strategies. The growth in digital is probably one of the most key disruptors in the language services industry today.

Most consumers around the world, both business and personal, now go online to research and purchase products and services.  To accommodate the demands, most product and services related content is now only published and distributed digitally. Having a strong global digital marketing strategy is key to success and to reach global markets, marketing and localization must work together, understand each other’s business to achieve a successful overall international growth strategy.

DSC01311At Welocalize’s LocLeaders Forum 2016 in Dublin, I spoke about a number of factors relating to today’s buyers and the impact on marketing, content and localization strategy.  Here are a few highlights from this presentation:

  • B2B buyers typically make “considered purchases,” as they don’t make quick decisions and they tend to conduct online research, investigate and deliberate on many platforms.
  • Watching videos online is a key part of the research phase of a buyer’s journey. People don’t just go onto YouTube to look at kittens. They’re watching reviews, instructional videos and carefully orchestrated online brand campaigns.
  • Buyers will interchangeably use desktop and smartphones to consume content and especially, watch online videos.
  • Most consumers, business and personal, are now super social. They want to know what others are buying, how they feel about their products and services and they also want to share their product and brand experiences. It is estimated that 65% of B2C marketers named Facebook as the platform single most important to their business, with 41% of B2B marketers naming LinkedIn.*
  • A buyer’s journey is not a simple, straightforward one anymore. With so much information and user generated content (UGC) in the form of social media, reviews, blogs and online forums, B2B buyers will make 12 queries before engaging directly with the seller.** That is potentially 12 pieces of digital content consumed before contact has been made with the seller Some content is in the control of the seller, some of the UGC digital content is out of their control and influence. It is what Welocalize calls, “network generated content.”
  • Once a buyer starts their journey, they’ll be aware of a number of branded products that they feel will meet their needs and budget. Then when they jump online and start researching, that number of brands can double before the buyer eventually makes a shortlist and finally, a purchase. Access to online information has made the digital marketplace even more competitive.
  • The exponential growth in next generation content, created by users and networks, means communication and customer loyalty is a continuous loop. A buyer’s experience continues way beyond the point of sale. Many buyers rush to social media and online forums to share their reviews and feedback.

DSC01309So what does this all mean for marketing, content and localization professionals? One key takeaway is the fact that buyers have more control due to the access they have to volumes of research and data. Marketing and localization must converge to ensure this content is powerful, understandable, and culturally appropriate, generating the desired result – around the world! Teams and agencies have to work together and understand each other’s business and objectives, both locally and globally. Digital content cannot be developed without taking localization and globalization into consideration, as the Internet is everywhere.

It is time to bridge the gap between localization and marketing to best provide a meaningful customer experience. Questions like, how to get online promotional videos understood in more than one language market? What keywords will be used to search for a particular product in a local market? Will certain images and colors be appropriate for global banner campaign? Should I be listening to what’s being said about my brand on global social media? All these considerations and more must involve a interdisciplinary and functional team made up of marketing, content, creative and localization experts.  These are questions to address at a business level, with a business impact.

Understanding global digital marketing and the role localization and translation plays is key to future success of company today, particularly when it is dependent on sales from a global consumer.  Whether marketing and selling to an individual consumer or multinational business conglomerate, digital content will continue to play a huge role in every transaction. Our lives are digitally connected and that provides many organizations with a perfect opportunity to reach wider audiences when the value their digital assets and the global potential.


DSC01322DSC01320Huw Aveston is co-founder and co-managing director of Adapt Worldwide, a Welocalize multilingual digital agency.  He was a featured presenter at Welocalize’s LocLeaders Forum 2016 in Dublin in June 2016.  His presentation, “The Digital Challenge” featured a collaborative experience of a pub quiz on digital marketing topics. After a very vigorous competition, the winners were able to select from a digital champion prize.

*Source: Statistica Social Media Examiner

** Source: Google Millward Brown Digital B2B Path to Purchase Study

E-Commerce Localization in Asia

 Expert Insights Shared by Mark Shriner, Welocalize General Manager of Japan and Vice President of Asia

online storeMark Shriner has 20 years sales and leadership experience within the Asia, ten of which are in the language service industry. He has lived in Asia for 20 years, having been based in Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore and now lives in Japan. Over the past several years he has worked on localization strategies with a variety of leading Asian technology and e-commerce companies, including Alibaba, Global Sources, and Ctrip. In this special Welocalize interview, Communications Manager Louise Law, talks with Mark in Japan about some of the current trends in Asian e-commerce and how this impacts globalization strategies for all companies selling goods or services in the Asian markets.

What are some of today’s main trends and business objectives for e-commerce organizations in Asia? Are they looking to further penetrate Asian markets or expand operations into more Western geographies?

Asian e-commerce leaders such as Alibaba, Ctrip, Naver, and Rakuten are all looking to develop overseas markets.  All of these companies agree that they need to do this in order to continue to be competitive, but their strategies have all differed. You have companies like Rakuten and Alibaba that are trying to create English and other language market places, online.  Rakuten even has a program called “Englishnization” to make English the official company language.

What drives their [Asian e-tailers] localization programs?

Essentially they want what everyone wants , to reach more people in more markets. Localization of content helps with SEO lift and with selling more.   So, if you have a lot of localized UGC, for example, you will tend to do better in the search rankings, especially in markets where Google is the dominate search engine.  If you have more product or service listings localized for a specific market, it will obviously help your site sell more in that market.

 Do you think it is easier for Western organizations to conduct e-commerce in Asia than it is for Asian companies to reach Western markets?

That’s a great, yet quite complex, question! If you look at markets such as China, South Korea, and Japan, then clearly the local players such as Alibaba, Baidu, Naver, and Rakuten have the home field advantage and are doing much better than Western e-commerce companies. In Korea and China, Google, for example, is not a major contender for search. And in Japan and China, Rakuten and Alibaba, respectively, are the clear leaders for online market places.  If you look other areas such as social media, you can see that while Facebook is almost shut out of China, it is doing extremely well in Japan. In markets such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and other south East Asia countries, you will see that many of the companies that are doing well in the West, are also leading their market sectors in these markets.

In certain sectors, global companies have an advantage due to their breadth of global content and relationships with international vendors who advertise on their platform.  TripAdvisor would be good example of a company that provide listings and localized reviews and user generated content (UGC) from around the world. Another example would be Airbnb. The amount of listings and volume of content that Airbnb already has on its site makes it difficult for an Asian company to enter that space at this time.

What are some of the barriers and challenges faced by online companies who are looking to increase revenue and global reach (Asia and otherwise)?

Aside from the structural barriers faced by companies like Facebook, YouTube, and Google in China, non-Asian e-commerce sites often just don’t have an accurate view of the online shopping habits of local consumers in Asian countries. This impacts how culturally appropriate content is, including localized digital marketing activities, packaging, price points, and also how local markets perceive the security of a site.  Facebook, for example, wasn’t initially a big hit in Japan, because people were reluctant to share personal information on-line.  This has changed in the last two years as, in a rare example, the market actually adapted to the platform. Working closely with a global language service provider who has extensive knowledge and experience of Asian markets can be a key success factor in a global growth strategy.

What are they (or should they be) looking for in a localization partner?

The ideal localization partner for e-commerce companies should have the following capabilities:

  •  The ability to localize into a variety of languages.
  • The ability to create SEO optimized content and targeted content marketing campaigns.
  • The ability to integrate with a client’s CMS so as to automate many of the steps involved in the localization process, thus greatly reducing costs and turn-around-times, and improving quality and consistency.
  • The ability to handle all file types and media formats.
  • The ability to work 24-7 across all time zones in order to get content localized and on-line in the shortest time possible.

How do a lot of Asian firms view online marketing? Do they view it as a “one campaign fits all” or recognize the need to develop multilingual and multicultural digital marketing campaigns to reach new Asian and other markets?

This really depends on the company.  Typically speaking, Asia e-commerce companies have not traditionally placed as much value on localization efforts. But, as we’ve seen in the last few years, this is changing as the desire to expand in overseas markets has increased.

Is mobile having a big impact on the way e-commerce organizations approach their localization programs?

Mobile is probably the biggest development in e-commerce across Asia.  If you aren’t optimized for mobile, you are shutting yourself off from the majority of the market, regardless of the country.

190_CreativeFocusIncMark Shriner will be taking part in Welocalize’s hosted dinner and panel discussion, LocLeaders Asia, taking place in Tokyo, April 13 and LocWorld30 Tokyo, April 13-15, 2016. Mark will co-present the LocWorld30 keynote session, “The Growing Importance of Emerging Markets”, which takes place on Friday, April 15, 9:00am – 10:15am. Welocalize is sponsoring and exhibiting at this LocWorld event. For more information on LocWorld30 Tokyo, click here.

To register for LocLeaders Asia, please register here: 

Six Expert Insights on E-Commerce Localization

Launching global e-commerce sites is a relatively fast and effective way to reach new markets, compared to the traditional brick and mortar retail business models. Online retailers know that adding language sites, with the right delivery and support infrastructure, helps to expand market share and grow revenue. Trading online can also have its share of challenges and risks. Your valuable brand needs global representation if you want to maximize sales. You want to properly invest in knowing your buyer in each target market, including language preferences. This begins by evaluating the relevant marketing psycho, socio and demographic details of your target consumer in order to gain brand awareness, consumer engagement and revenue growth in each market.

Online commerce is a highly competitive market and online consumers can be fickle. With so much choice, they often lack loyalty and will think nothing about switching brands if you don’t deliver your “brand” promise. Because e-commerce giants have so much buyer power, if you are competing purely on price, then you have a challenge on your hands. You need to differentiate your e-commerce by creating a personal and unique online experience and a good localization strategy can help you achieve that by speaking the language of your target buyer.

To reach international markets, successful e-commerce goes way beyond simply translating a website. There are many different factors that any new or existing e-commerce organization can consider as part of their strategy:

INSIGHT ONE: Have localized knowledge on online spending habits

Knowing the demographics and culturally preferences of your target audiences is crucial. As is knowing when popular online shopping days take place. You can then time online promotions and pricing models accordingly and if necessary, increase delivery operations if increased demand is expected.

The Thanksgiving holiday (celebrated in the US on fourth Thursday in November) and the following “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” days at the end of November are days where online retailers cut prices to encourage mass spending. E-tailers make the most of the fact people are not at work and are looking for bargains in the run up to Christmas. In 2015, online shoppers spent $4.45 billion online on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. This surge in online shopping also takes place in the UK. Shoppers spent a record £1.1 billion with UK online retailers on Black Monday. UK retailing giant, John Lewis, said Black Friday was its biggest day of retailing.

China has a similar day, known as Singles Day. It is one of the largest online shopping days in the world. Sales on Alibaba sites in 2015 reached $14.3 billion. Take advantage of shopping days around the world.

INSIGHT TWO: Develop and localize a mobile app

M-commerce is outpacing e-commerce three-to-one ( According to a report by PayPal, mobile accounts for 20% of its overall purchase volume worldwide. 33% of online shoppers say they’ve used a smart phone to make a purchase. In a recent article on, PayPal’s director of mobile commerce warns retailers that mobile payments should be a top priority to provide the experience consumers want for shopping online.

Any online retailer must consider purchasing or developing an app to enable mobile purchase for all languages and local markets. All web, product, marketing and customer support information has to be readable and accessible in all target languages for the relevant mobile platforms.

INSIGHT THREE: Awareness of trading laws and local regulations

Localization of e-commerce is not simply translating the website into another language. International and local trading laws and regulations. For example, taxes, product returns and refunds, financial transactions, currencies must all be localized. Any purchase instrument, which acts as an important part of the e-commerce site, must be able to trade with local currency and process whatever credit or debit cards are used for each country.

INSIGHT FOUR: Build localized digital marketing campaigns for each market

Rolling out a global digital marketing campaign does not mean creating one campaign then just translating words. Build individual campaigns from scratch. Directly translating existing campaigns will not work. Marketing materials like PPC and banner campaigns need to be recreated to meet cultural differences and the different online consumer habits. This approach applies to online search-ability. Simply translating keywords won’t get you discovered. Multilingual digital marketing requires knowledge into local buyer behavior and how local shoppers think. What words will be keyed into which search engine? Someone in China will go to a different search engine than someone in the US and both will use different keywords to search for the same item.

INSIGHT FIVE: Social media listening and localization of UGC

The e-commerce model is pretty much driven by consumer reviews, ratings, social media posts and forum discussions, what is defined as user generated feedback (UGC). Online consumers have so much information at their fingertips, they can read product reviews by people all over the world – good and bad. Today’s savvy online shoppers will be vocal about the e-commerce experience. Online retailers can benefit from understanding what is being said about their service and products. Machine translation (MT) can help quickly translate high volumes of content so e-tailers can be aware what people are saying about them and act accordingly. This information can be used to improve product and the overall online experience. Social media monitoring enables global organizations to continuously develop, learn and evolve the online shopping experience.

INSIGHT SIX: Website localization

The main landing page is very important to any e-commerce organization, including the domain name. Online consumers want to see, .com, .fr, .cn when they land on the site. Having a country specific domain is a key part in the overall localization process.

For the main landing page, the content on the homepage is very valuable and must reflect local tastes and habits. For example, big retailers like Amazon will often promote top-selling electronic products on their main Japanese page, because this is the main product group people in Japan are searching for. The landing page for Amazon in the UK or Amazon in the US will differ, depending on current tastes and trends.

Establishing a globally recognized e-commerce brand involves many strategic marketing decisions about localizing websites and UI , executing multilingual digital marketing campaigns and intelligently analyzing social media posts to drive influence. Many of these activities are best achieved by teaming up with a strategic localization partner to provide expert insights, helping guide you to success. Welocalize experts work with many leading e-commerce brands, to create a truly global strategy that feels local and personal to the individual online shopper. Welocalize recently announced the acquisition of Adapt Worldwide, a multilingual digital marketing agency, to enable global brands to reach online consumers in multiple digital channels. Click here for more information.


Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.






Six Game Changers in Globalization and Localization

Derek McCann LocLeaders 2015 twoDerek McCann recently joined the Welocalize senior leadership team, having spent more than 20 years successfully managing many Microsoft localization programs and most recently, as head of  localization for Microsoft Windows®.  At the Welocalize LocLeaders Forum 2015 event, held at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, Derek was a featured guest speaker, sharing his views on the topic of Game Changers in Globalization. In this blog, he details some of the significant and disruptive influences that are shaping the industry today and in the future.

We recently finished a busy week of localization events in Santa Clara. For me, it was the first time I had taken part at the Localization World conference and Welocalize LocLeaders events as a supplier of language services. Having spent so many years in the industry at Microsoft, on the buyer-side, I was in a really advantageous position when I spoke to the crowd at the Welocalize LocLeaders event. We had localization professionals from so many global brands in the room, I had a good idea what might be going through their minds and some insight into some of the frustrations and delights they were experiencing with their globalization and localization programs.

LocLeaders 2015 threeJoining Welocalize gives me opportunity to bring fresh perspective into the industry. Welocalize has great personality and a sense of humor. We’re not just pushing the sales agenda, we want to deliver great experience and continue to build great values within our clients and employees. It’s a growing company with a small company mentality. We will grow with our global brand clients and have the honest conversations, not deliver a magical (and undeliverable) sales pitch. And to grow, we have to embrace change. We’ve hit a point of inflection within the localization industry. Nothing bad has happened; however, localization needs have changed. It’s not just about words and volumes anymore, it’s  about a set of localization services to offer to our clients, with the emphasis on customer experience and really considering customer sentiment. We have to deliver customer-centric value and experience to ensure our client’s needs are met.

To embrace this change, we have to consider the following “Game Changer” approaches and strategies in localization.

#1 – GAME CHANGER: TRANSLATION AND LOCALIZATION IS NOT A UTILITY. We are working in an environment which is no longer just about words or even volumes. It’s about customer experience, measuring customer sentiment, changing technology, new content types, emerging markets and evolving customer demand. They are all impacting the way we localize. With the growth of the Internet, it is relatively easy to grow and trade globally, build an international presence. Global brands achieve that by offering a brand experience, not a homogenous product. In many cases today, the buyer of localization services is looking for a partnership. This is a partnership that can solve problems. A partnership that can create solutions and not a set of menus that they can chose from, but real solutions from trusted partners.

#2 – GAME CHANGER: MT IS PART OF OUR LIVES. At the LocLeaders event, I talked about the “MT-pilot.” Piloting is an over-used word in our industry. MT has arrived. It’s an essential part of our lives and part of our programs – now. It is an extremely good tool to deal with huge volumes of content. The only piloting needed is implementation piloting. Sometimes it does need post-editing; however, for tackling the rise of low impact content, like user-generated content (UGC), it is perfect. We shouldn’t be piloting MT, we should just be doing it. Too much human intervention slows things down. Automation of the translation workflow keeps content and data flowing.

#3 – GAME CHANGER: BE AGILE. Having worked for many years in the software industry, I have witnessed a great revolution in how we build, develop and distribute technology and software. Historically, we may have built a product (source and localized version), with a release due every two-three years. That schedule no longer meets the needs of our hungry end-users. THERE IS NO BIG RELEASE DATE! Technology providers deliver constant iterations in a “trickle” approach. Waterfall is out, agile development is in. New features, patches, updates and bug fixes – end users want these automatically downloaded to their device with localized versions being sent out simultaneously. Agile software development needs an agile approach in localization. Small packages of content released rapidly and continuously into the translation workflow is the new velocity in the technology space.

#4 – GAME CHANGER: OUR END-USERS TALK FREELY. In complex localization programs, errors do occur. When they occur, your end-users will talk openly, freely and loudly about them. One tiny error in a translated string or a broken or non-global  feature in localized software could soon go viral through posts on social media or industry forums. End-users love to talk about their experiences with products and services and with the use of the Internet and mobile technology, they can talk about your product anytime, anywhere to anyone all over the world. Not only do global brands need to avoid negatively impacting the customer experience, they also need to know and hear what people are saying about them. Monitoring social media output is a new emerging area for many global brands. This is another area where MT is a key tool. MT with light post-editing can help organization understand what is being said about them and also increase the reach of positive social media to other geographies by publishing translated reviews and posts. End-users speak early and often. We need to listen to them.

#5 – GAME CHANGER: BIG DATA. This was a big discussion topic that carried on throughout LocLeaders and at LocWorld29. The general consensus was that we have a deluge of data, though very few people know how to manage and use data to help make intelligent business and localization decisions. Data means nothing if you can’t base any decisions on it. A good dashboard helps present data in a way where you can make decisions and as a language service provider, we need to empower our clients with technology to ensure their localization data is presented in a way that works and that our translators have access to the information. At Welocalize, we want to build that muscle and give data real meaning.

#6 – GAME CHANGER: THE SUPPLY CHAIN AND IN-CONTEXT REVIEW. The needs of the translation supply chain has evolved. To simply do blind translations is no longer sufficient. Translators, linguists and reviewers are brand ambassadors. They need to learn more about the context of the content. Content is not king, context is king. By providing the supply chain with information about the content, products and company, this will empower translators. The translation supply chain needs a higher level of humility and attention to changing buyer priorities. This will be driven by changing perceptions and providing further efficiency in the translation technology workflow, giving the right people access to the right information.

Derek McCann, Vice President at WelocalizeMy first LocLeaders event was a great experience where I saw many old friends and made new ones. I feel Welocalize is equally committed to making change happen and not just talk about it. I’m excited to be part of a team who will influence change in the industry, taking us to a place where we can go beyond what we all expect.


Based in the US, Derek joined Welocalize in September 2015 to direct the Western US Sales and Operations teams. Read more:

Internet of Things Means More Data for Global Marketers


ThinkstockPhotos-160304837The Internet of Things (IoT) and M2M have been used in certain niche industries for many years, ever since Internet technology became more widely available. Now, IoT is starting to filter into our everyday lives. From how we do business to how we interact with each other and the world around us.

The central theme of Localization World 2015 in Berlin was The Internet of Things.  Localization leaders, futurists and globalization experts led discussions and presentations at LocWorld28 on topics related to how IoT will affect global business. One key area that the IoT will impact is global marketing and how we communicate with customers around the world. Localization will play a critical role in the interconnectivity of all things.

IDC forecasts that the worldwide market for IoT solutions will grow from $1.9 trillion in 2013 to $7.1 trillion in 2020.  Cisco estimated that 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020. To put that in perspective, that’s six devices for every one of the eight billion people expected to be on the planet.

As the IoT continues to filter into our everyday lives, global marketing will move beyond email and laptops to engaging with their “Generation Z” customers through smart, wearable devices and tablets through digital media. The challenge for marketers is to develop a view of customer habits which will help create enhanced brand, messaging and services which add value to the user experience and can be delivered through these new devices, in a language that is understood by all those accessing it.

A byproduct of the IoT is the huge amounts of data generated by all the users. Global marketers must be able to use this data to make informed localization decisions. It will impact future revenues and product launch strategies. The more data that is amassed about the user, the more invaluable the product becomes.

Mark Holden, head of futures at media agency Arena Media UK, says, “Clearly this data could be useful for brands, helping to build rich profiles of user behavior and to do more intelligently manage pricing. However, if connected products are to collect data on use, we’ll have to ensure there is a value exchange for users: that we’re using the data to better tailor brand experiences, improve products or reward loyalty.” If content relating to products or marketing campaigns are being accessed in wider geographical markets, then marketers must localize this content.

Harvard Business Review recently published an article about how connectivity will allow brands to crowdsource their advertising, gain real-time feedback on products and have an ongoing dialogue with their customers – through their products. This has huge implications for the localization community. To have an ongoing dialogue with your global customers means you need to speak and understand their local language and have the right people, process and technology in place to make this happen. And this could happen almost real-time with immediate translation.

Welocalize CEO, Smith Yewell, recently shared insights on the future of the localization industry.  He noted that you need to use existing IoT data and harness predictive analytics to be able to forecast localization needs for marketing campaign materials. It will define how content is translated, by whom, when it is delivered, and the at what level of impact.  It will define true return on content (ROC). It’s the future and it’s now.

Global marketers who embrace the IoT will be the winners, creating products, online campaigns and services that learn from the way consumers use them. Collecting data and monitoring user behavior is nothing new; however, the growth of the IoT means the amount of data we are collecting will significantly increase.

Analyzing user behavior gives a company more value and allows global marketing campaigns to be more tailored for better engagement. From a localization perspective, we can start to use this data to help shape localization strategies and even pass on data, in understandable forms, to the translators and linguists so they have a better idea of who they are translating for and in what context.

The prospect of a world where everyday objects can communicate with each other has unleashed an avalanche of amazing innovations. Such innovation also presents market challenges. Security is a big issue, both on a personal and business level.  How can we ensure our lives are secure when everything is connected? If someone hacks into our fridge how can we make sure they can’t access our entire network?  This will also have to be addressed through a “local” connection to the user – in their native language.

The amount of data we will have access to will increase exponentially.  We need to start thinking which data is most valuable to us and how we use that data to add value to our consumers. Companies need to consider how they will store, track, analyse and interpret the vast amount of data available and use it to their global benefit. Where does localization play a role? Everywhere in the Internet of Things.

IoT creates as many opportunities as it does challenges for marketers. The opportunities are endless. The challenges we can overcome by working collaboratively and connected.



Lauren Southers is a marketing specialist on the global marketing and business support team at Welocalize.

Welocalize Talks Travel Localization at GALA 2015 Sevilla

By Laura Casanellas Luri

ThinkstockPhotos-536354157The annual Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) Conference recently took place in Sevilla, Spain. During the conference, the city was preparing for the Easter festivities and the Feria de Abril (Spring Fair). Sevilla was the perfect inspiring location to be in during this GALA conference.

This year’s theme was Embrace Change, Simplify Solutions, two clear constant needs in the business of localization and as we know well at Welocalize. As innovation and technology advances, a diverse range of possibilities opens up in front of our eyes. Technology is now at our fingertips and localization buyers are becoming aware of it. As one delegate said at the conference, “it is a catching-up game.”

My presentation, Localizing for Travel: Diverse Solutions for Diverse Needs, was part of the Travel and Hospitality track at this years’ GALA conference. My presentation addressed questions generated by the motto of the conference, the localization industry is evolving at an ever increasing pace and the solutions offered to our clients need to change and adapt. Localization has become a moving target and it looks as if it is going to remain like this for a while.

Buyers of the localization industry are beginning to open up to the idea of translating new content that in the past would have never been made available in other languages due to cost restrictions.

The idea of quality is also being questioned by buyers. What is Quality? Is Quality requesting translations of the highest standards for all available content? Or is quality reaching end customers and adapting the linguistic levels of the translated target to the needs of the demands of the client?

What do these end clients want? Do they want limited amount of content translated into their own languages or do they prefer to avail of all potential content related to the subject at hand delivered into their own language? Do they care about “end quality?” Or are they more interested in getting readable and understandable content that will help them make their decisions without caring too much about linguistic accuracy and whether the standards of the language are high, medium or low based on impact?

With the introduction of disruptors like the OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) and other sites like Airbnb, the expectations within the travel industry are evolving fast. In one hand, there is a need for highly polished, beautifully written content that requires transcreation. On the other and, there are also support pages, user interfaces, knowledge bases and, very importantly, UGC (user- generated content) that needs to be translated. These content types suit different localization models.

The travel industry is vast and the solutions offered by the localization providers need to match all its requirements: from transcreation to translation, machine translation (MT) with full post-editing, MT with light post-editing, raw MT and even crowdsourcing.

The list does not end there. As the requirements widen, there is a need for research and localization of local names and destinations, for designing solutions to suit all sorts of workflows; from the most sophisticated to the manual.  This all requires a new breed of “localizers.” The role of a traditional translator might not fit the bill. The person who specializes in translating travel content needs to be able to work with technology like SEO, research tools, language automation and others. They need to be able to wear many hats, with diverse skills and expertise.

Localization providers, like Welocalize, must keep up with technology advances and, very importantly, need to understand the needs of the localization buyer – something that was mentioned often during the different discussions and sessions within the travel track. Global localization service providers must do a lot of listening to offer targeted services and solutions and proactively leading with suggestions.

There are different levels of localization maturity within an industry like travel and all of them need expertise. While some of the big travel and hospitality companies will have their own localization department and a high level of maturity in relation to localization. For the medium to smaller size companies, localization is just another task in the long list of responsibilities somebody working within them needs to address. As I showcased in my presentation, at Welocalize we have a lot of experience within the travel sector and we cater for all levels of maturity.

If you need more information about our offerings for the travel industry or anything related to language tools and technology, you can contact me at


Laura Casanellas Luri is Senior Manager, Program Support, Language Tools at Welocalize

Click here to find out more about Welocalize Language Tools and weMT programs.

Influencing Technical Communications

by Christian Zeh, Welocalize Business Development

Christian at TEKOMThe big event in the European technical communications industry, tekom and tcworld conference 2014, took place this month in Stuttgart, Germany. I spent three days talking to delegates, clients and vendors and also delivered a presentation in German on the localization of user generated content (UGC) that you can reference below. Living near Stuttgart and in my role as Business Development Manager at Welocalize, I am primarily focused on the German market so this event is always a pleasure.

Over the course of the three day conference, this year’s event gave me the chance to meet many technical communication professionals and also speak with several technology and CMS providers that the tekom and tcworld conference attracts each year. It was my second time as a presenter at tekom and I was delighted that my presentation about localizing UGC attracted so many delegates. This is indicative of how people within the technical communication space are looking beyond the traditional methods of authoring, publishing and translating content and looking at emerging content types, like UGC and social media to improve technical content.

Technical communication materials are very different to other types of content, such as marketing and software materials. The localization of technical communications requires a high level of subject expertise including good terminology management, knowledge of required in-country standards (legal and otherwise) and high quality output to ensure the optimum end-user experience. A poorly localized technical instruction manual can result in the failure of a global product launch or even a lawsuit. Accuracy is of the utmost importance so these localization tools for technical communication must be carefully assessed for suitability.

I attended several excellent sessions at tekom. A very interesting presentation was given by Tony O‘Dowd from KantanMT, talking about measuring the performance of Statistical MT. This presentation was very accessible and provided good insight to how MT and training of the MT engines are currently working.  As an example, looking at how “fuzzy matches” in the MT output explained how automated utility scoring works in the real world. This aligned with my presentation materials. Special note:  Welocalize also hosted a presentation on The MT Engine Lifecycle that you can view here.

Historically, technical content may not have sat within the overall central content strategy at an organization. Separate authors and translators can result in an inconsistent customer experience, which can be confusing to the client. If the marketing materials promised a certain type of brand and customer experience and the technical instructions don’t look anything like that promise, you could be in big trouble!

Often centralizing the creation and localization of all content, including technical communications, ensures consistency. By developing a key relationship with a global localization provider, like Welocalize, we can together achieve consistency for the end users. We can maximize the return of investment made in technical content, by using trained and dedicated translator and reviewer teams and up-to-date technology tools. For companies in industries like manufacturing and automotive, who are producers of large volumes of technical communications, content could be one of their biggest business assets. Simple steps like setting up glossaries and terminology management programs can contribute significantly to the global content strategy and quality of localized technical content.

In a recent Welocalize survey, technical communications is one of the top five priorities in 2015.  Is it one of your priorities?  How are you thinking about UGC and social media in relationship to your technical communications. Let’s continue the conversation if you attended tekom or if you would like to discuss my presentation (in German or English) and how we can help you. Send me an email at


PRESENTATION:  Tekom 2014 – Nutzergenerierte Inhalte – kostengünstige Lösungen zur mehr… (User-generated content – cost-effective solutions for multilingual publication)




What is Crowdsourcing?

An Iconic Concept of the Global Digital Economy?

Joaquín Solerby Joaquín Soler, Vice President of Supply Chain at Welocalize

What is crowdsourcing? Jeff Howe and Mark Robinson, editors at Wired magazine, coined the term in 2005 after conversations about how businesses were using the Internet to outsource work to individuals. They gave crowdsourcing its first official definition in 2006:

the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call. This can take the form of peer-production (when the job is performed collaboratively), but is also often undertaken by sole individuals. The crucial prerequisite is the use of the open call format and the large network of potential laborers”

Crowdsourcing has been an on-going subject of debate and analysis, not just in localization but in general. Over the past years, several aspects have been reviewed, deleted and added to the definition of crowdsourcing.

Looking back in history, many would be surprised (so was I) to encounter an early predecessor of what we could consider crowdsourcing. As far back as the mid 19th century, a call was put out for volunteers to identify words of the English language and provide samples of their usage, the aim being to compile the Oxford English dictionary. At the time these contributions would be made by mail, on paper and more than six million of them were gathered over 70 years.  The first crowdsourcing success story.

Why such success? I can only imagine that the reason why this call raised such a level of engagement among the public was that they felt that by contributing to this initiative they would improve their lives. This was a goal that was worth working for and that provided a level of personal satisfaction and pride. The English language belongs to all its speakers and the Oxford English Dictionary shares its values back to society.

Everyone will have experienced some form of crowdsourcing. I have seen films depicting a crowd of neighbors gathering voluntarily one Sunday to rebuild the burnt-down house and barn of a fellow member of the community. However, the development of a dictionary by a crowd really gets my attention because it has language at its base. I guess it is difficult to imagine something that is more equally and democratically shared among a community than the language spoken.

122177295Crowdsourcing has become an iconic concept of the new collaborative, truly global economy. It belongs in the same family as crowdfunding, crowd computing, crowd-casting. The latest definitions that I have encountered modify the original one by adding references to the internet as the necessary platform, possible financial compensation and reverting value back to society. A number of studies on crowdsourcing deal with issues like organization of the jobs, micro-payments, maintenance and management of the crowd, quality expectations and assurance, scheduling and project completion. It seems obvious that the term now includes more than volunteer work and migrates into the category of production models.

In the localization world, it is easy to guess that the main candidate to explore this production model is the user-generated content (UGC). I find that the reason is not only that this type of content is experiencing the biggest growth, or that its durability is limited and the quality expectations adjusted, also its origin and purpose. UGC is volunteered in order to share information with others, regardless of its unquestionable commercial value in terms of brand definition and user experience, aiming at generating influenced revenue.

Definitely, the crowd has become significant in the increasingly complex localization supply chain and has its specific role. Understanding what types of UGC can be supported this way and progressing in the ability to manage crowds and projects (profiling, recruitment, maintenance, performance, deadlines) are the two key aspects that will allow the industry to reach the full potential of this production model.

One of the risks to avoid is the categorization of crowdsourcing as one unique flat model. Crowds, as intangible and blurred as they may seem, can actually be managed to obtain a certain configuration that is more suitable for the content and the production cycle defined. Intelligent testing itineraries and questionnaires, quality sampling and data gathering will reduce the anonymity and facilitate management of talent, competencies and skills. With the support of a solid technology platform to process jobs adequately, the uncertainties around successful project completion by a crowd can be managed to meet the customer’s expectations.


Joaquín Soler is VP of Supply Chain at Welocalize


Five Tempting Reasons Why You Should Localize UGC

By Louise Donkor, Welocalize Research and Content Marketer

162450194The force of user-generated content (UGC) has arrived and shows no signs of slowing down. Users everywhere have an opinion and want the whole world to know it. Sometimes the whole world listens, thanks to “going viral”. For a company, localizing UGC is the chance to get your brand out there on a global scale and the rewards can be staggering in terms of brand awareness.

Here are five of the most tempting reasons why organizations should localize UGC:

  1. Let people around the world know what is being said about you.  Good reviews of your brand are a huge benefit. The truth is that potential customers are more likely to listen to what other people have to say about your brand than what you have to say. Allowing potential customers from all over the world to see the excellent things said about your brand from other customers will reinforce your brand’s association with a positive feeling. When reviews and opinions about your brand are good, then your reputation will sky rocket and hopefully this will translate into profitable returns.
  1. Attract the global community. When your UGC is localized, it means that more people all over the world can read it. Your market is expanding and so will your customers. With the help of the Internet, it is very easy and cost-effective to project your brand to the world. Localizing UGC helps to get yourself noticed in other countries, in a voice they understand, expanding your client network. Attracting the global community will also create a community within your brand. As your customers are able to interact with each other despite different languages and cultures, your brand as the thing that unites them will come out on top. Having your own “global” community for your brand creates the best type of publicity.
  1. Increase your profits. Having a wider pool of people who will want to purchase your product or service can increase your profits. Expanding geographies and opening market share are key initiatives for most growing companies.  Globalization is the key.  Customers will feel more comfortable when they can understand what other users are saying about your brand and will therefore feel more comfortable engaging with you overall. Do not underestimate the power of customers interacting together. As Christian Zeh mentioned in his blog, Challenges of Localizing UGC and Social Media, consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising after word-of-mouth. Reviews are essentially the digital version of word-of-mouth. Although potential customers may not personally know the reviewer, they will engage and relate them as another customer, perhaps as someone impartial. When your reviews are good and users can read this in their native language, revenue should demonstrate a positive return on your UGC localization efforts.
  1. One-up the competition. Your competitors may have not jumped onto the UGC localization bandwagon yet. There is time to act NOW. The sooner you localize UGC, the sooner you can attract the global community and instill your brand influence upon them. You are more likely to receive brand loyalty and trust as you have been around for longer. Also, the sooner you start localizing UGC, the better you will manage it over time. Your competitor may start and have some teething problems and by that time you will be a seasoned pro.
  1. Get with times. As globalization fast takes over the world, it is becoming a necessity to have UGC localized and if you don’t, you could lose out! It is not enough to just cater to the home crowd. It won’t keep you afloat when other companies have customers in tens of different countries all flocking to their website. Localizing UGC takes your website out of the dark ages and into a time where users can share thoughts and ideas regardless of culture or language. It’s what is happening now and it is to be expected.  Several companies are using user-generated content to their advantages, growing the number of customers and increasing their profits with localized content.  What is stopping you?

louise donkorLouise

Based in the UK, Louise Donkor is a member of Welocalize’s Global Marketing and Sales Support Team. 

Welocalize Director of Business Development, Christian Zeh, is presenting on the subject of UGC and localization at tekom and tcworld 2014, taking place in Stuttgart, Germany, November 11-13.

Five Challenges of Localizing UGC and Social Media

Christian_Zeh_PortraitGermany-based Christian Zeh is a Business Development Director at Welocalize. Christian is one of the presenters at tekom and tcworld 2014, taking place in Stuttgart, Germany, November 11-13. In this blog, he shares common challenges to localizing user-generated content (UGC) and solution options.

User-generated content (UGC) is the fastest growing content type on the Internet. UGC is found everywhere, from travel and review websites to technical forums and online marketplaces. It is part of the countless streams of news and blogs published every day, as well as all the social media sites. Content like consumer reviews, forums and blogs can have a major influence on people’s buying decisions. Studies show that consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising after word-of-mouth.

As Elaine O’Curran discussed in her blog, “MT and Post-Editing UGC for Travel and Technology”, travel websites considerably increase in value if tourists are able to read the content in their native language and technical forums can help users solve problems that were not taken into account when the operating manual or online help was originally written.

Technical forums allow users to share their experiences and provide manufacturers with useful information with regard to potential improvements or sought-after features. Which is why publishing certain UGC in multiple languages can have great benefits to companies.

There are challenges when localizing UGC and social media content:

  • The amount of UGC and social content is continuously increasing and the data volume is immense. At the end of 2011, TripAdvisor had around 60 million reviews (source: The Naked Truth About Hotel Reviews, 2012). Now, TripAdvisor reports they have 170 million reviews and opinions covering 4 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The main site operates in 45 countries worldwide.
  • UGC and social content is often very short-lived. New comments are being added on a regular basis and existing information may become irrelevant in a matter of minutes or hours.
  • UGC and social content is often created by private individuals who are not native-speakers and use non-standard language.
  • In technical forums, content may be written by “techies” who use their own jargon.
  • The sheer multitude of authors increases the lexical and stylistic diversity of this content.

Due to these challenges, it is often unfeasible to employ an army of human translators to deal with the high levels of volume, perishability and ambiguity of content. Organizations must also consider the appropriate levels of quality that are acceptable to the brand when considering localization options. For a lot of UGC, it is acceptable to simply understand the content without the translation being 100% linguistically accurate. Machine translation (MT) plays an important role in the localization of UGC, as it overcomes some of these key challenges.

When, where and how to utilize MT for UGC is essentially determined by quality expectations. These expectations differ depending on the purpose, target group and the desired effect of the localized content.

Options for Translating UGC

No MT: If the objective of the UGC content is to trigger “emotional impact,” the best option is to use human translation. Examples usually include marketing content types with high visibility of brand and value such as CEO blogs, first page product reviews, branded social media content.

MT with Post-Editing: In general, UGC content which is expected to deliver useful information, such as forums, reviews, and knowledge bases, should be post-edited (in comparison to general social media posts). In the case of important or high-visibility UGC (such as Microsoft Knowledge Base), post-editing is necessary. The extent of the post-editing depends again on the quality expectations. The scope can be enormous. It ranges from a simple plausibility check to prevent severe misrepresentations or offensive statements to a full post-edit to bring the text to human translation level. It is not essential that these post-editors are language and translation graduates. Such post editors often belong to a relevant user or interest group, such as travelers, techies, and bloggers. Post-editing of UGC is something that can be well-suited to crowdsourcing.

Raw MT: This may be suitable for massive volumes of UGC and can be published automatically providing the MT output meets the minimum scoring based on a defined scoring system. Utility scoring can be used to rate the comprehensibility of unedited MT. This can be carried out by a trained translator. Alternatively, automated utility scoring, which is created by the MT engine itself, must be taken into consideration for the bulk of the UGC. Studies indicate that about 50% of unedited MT is considered incomprehensible and simply not publishable. There is evidence that statistical MT engines, such as the Microsoft Translator Hub, perform better with UGC due to the amount of translation examples available to its engine.

For the localization of UGC and social media, one thing is certain – you need a strong, reliable team of localization professionals to put the right strategy in place.


Christian.zeh@welocalize.comtcworld 2014The tekom and tcworld 2014 conference will be held November 11-13 at the International Congress Center (ICS) in Messe Stuttgart. Christian Zeh will be delivering his presentation, Localizing UGC Content, on Tuesday, November 11 at 11:15AM.  Welocalize is sponsoring and exhibiting at tekom in Stuttgart. You can find the Welocalize team at booth #2G09.