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Trends in 2017 Impacting Marketing Localization

As we move into 2017, we look at some of the emerging and ongoing trends that will affect global marketers who are responsible for targeting new markets and driving digital branded campaigns to audiences all over the world.

Growth in Messaging Apps

Messaging apps are growing very fast and more businesses are looking to embrace this trend and seek revenue opportunities. Monthly active users across WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Slack and WeChat have grown a lot faster than some social networks such as Instagram and Twitter. Facebook Mobile Messenger now has one billion active users and Snapchat, only five years old, has gathered 150 million daily active users. With the millennial population continuing to increase and influence, use of messenger apps will continue to increase. Global marketers need to engage and listen to what is being said on the most widely-use mediums that are influencing their brands. People all over the world sharing the good, bad and indifferent experiences with global brands over these messaging apps. WeChat in China has such broad functionality, influencing and facilitating online shopping and restaurant reservations. Global marketers have to ensure they drive localized campaigns to capitalize on the leading messaging platforms to gain consumer attention and engagement.

Chatbots

One other growth area is the use of “chatbots.” Chatbots are computer programs that you interact with by “chatting,” by providing information or helping humans with certain tasks. They can resolve issues, answer questions and give the consumer the feeling they are speaking with a human. Chatbots are gaining popularity and are becoming a useful tool for global marketers. Chatbots increase consumer interaction and enhance the overall user and brand experience. With a global market, full of impatient consumers who want things done immediately, a chatbot can assist straight away. They are also an important tool for collecting data and analysis of consumer habits and purchasing patterns. From a localization standpoint, a chatbot needs to speak and type like a real person – and that means speaking and typing in the target audience’s local language and culture. If chatbots are to play an important part in global digital marketing campaigns, then language and localization play an increasing key role in their development to ensure you are reaching your global audience.

Video Revolution

More and more multimedia is being consumed on a daily basis, driving communication and influencing global business in B2C and B2B. According to YouTube statistics, 3.25 billion hours of video is watched on YouTube each month. Innovation in this area is rapid with many of the large technology platforms like Amazon and Netflix are delivering addictive content in new, exciting ways. This will continue to impact how CMOs, content producers and learning managers will develop and distribute media to audiences around the world. Budget has always played a key influencing role in localization of audio and video content types. Producing quality brand videos is getting easier and less expensive for global marketers, as new production software and media channels open all the time. We will continue to see video playing a bigger role in marketing communications in 2017.

From a localization perspective, we’ve seen great advances in multimedia localization, which have reduced the cost and time of developing multilingual videos. Text-to-speech (TTS) and increased use of transcription and on-screen-text (OST) has enabled more brands to distribute more language versions. For certain communication pieces, the quality levels required for the translation and localization of video are now more flexible. For high impact-branded materials, quality still needs to be high; however, there are options for lower level productions such as internal communication, social media campaigns and or quick-turn training videos. Techniques like TTS, subtitling and OST can deliver the right message and quality levels, making production costs realistic and within budgets.

The video landscape is continuing to change for markets. In late 2016, Facebook Live rapidly grew to be a key video streaming service for global marketers and advertisers. With 1.5 billion users worldwide, Facebook has one of the largest interactive content platforms for UGC and brands. Innovations in this space will continue to drive new user experiences in 2017.

Ad Blockers

Ad blocker usage will continue to grow into 2017, which will result in the reduction of banner ad consumption in certain geographies. According to Ogilvy, ad blocking jumped 34% during 2016 in the US. The continued growth in ad blocking may see a decrease in banner advertising, forcing advertisers to think differently in their outreach. Global marketers have to stay ahead of technologies and trends to ensure that their message reaches the right people. More effective content campaigns will become standard and enable global brands to reach consumers and not be blocked. For global marketing campaigns, this means knowing which markets are affected by ad blocking technology and ensuring any local campaign is built with this in mind, from a content, platform and media perspective.

Measure ROI Not Website Hits

Digital marketers have often looked to Google Analytics to measure website hits, clicks and sessions, as an indicator of campaign success. Global marketers will have to look at new ROI metrics, viewing digital marketing content from the perspective of consumption, engagement and investment. Measuring website hits from static web content is not a true representation of success today, as clicks can be “managed” to produce low quality returns. Whether marketing activity drives leads or engagement, revenue is a measure of success. Some dynamic content, like user generated content (UGC), must be monitored in all target languages and markets to get a good measure of consumer satisfaction and levels of engagement in social media campaigns. Global digital marketing is no longer just about generating static web content, it is analyzing online interactions and bridging the gap between content and ROI. Welocalize’s Adapt Worldwide specialize in helping global brands in defining ROI programs for digital marketing, PPC, social media and web SEO. Click here to learn more.

What do you think will impact global marketing and localization in 2017? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email louise.law@welocalize.com

Louise

Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.

Use of On Screen Text in Multimedia Localization

Michael Anderson, Senior Multimedia Engineer at Welocalize, takes a look at the growing popularity of on screen text localization by brands to generate high quality multilingual content for global advertising campaigns.

To drive advertising campaigns and training programs in multiple languages, many global brands are using on screen text (OST) in the localization of their multimedia content. Global advertisements of products, for example, high-tech consumer products, often include images of the products, feature taglines, shots of the user interface (UI) and sample text content to highlight certain product features. Many creative and advertising agencies superimpose text onto films and adverts because the text can expand on some of the key messages made in the images and also clarifies product features or promotions. Use of OST can also reduce any ambiguity and display legal or disclaimer content, to meet local advertising standards.

To rollout advertising campaigns at a local level for broadcast and web distribution, content can be culturally adapted using some clever OST localization techniques to recreate original effects and animations. OST localization can sometimes be more cost-effective and quicker than voice-over work, as most good multimedia localization providers can provide OST in-house without having to source specialized voice talents.

On Screen Text (OST) Localization Process:

#1 OBTAIN VIDEO TO ASSESS SOURCE OST: Simple analysis of the original footage identifies what text requires translation and re-integration into the local language version, including all content, text and animation. Ideally, multimedia localization providers would have access to the original design files and artwork; however, quite often the original content is not available. In practice, approximately 50% of clients requiring OST localization cannot access the original creative project files and artwork, which can sometimes require high levels of creativity and technical expertise when altering graphics for localization purposes.

#2 CREATE IN BASELINE: Extract and transcribe the relevant text to generate translation and cultural adaptation. This could involve straight translation or linguistic copy writing. For more technical content, the translation will stay close to the source; however, for marketing content like taglines, this content requires recreating to suit the needs of the target demographic. Any local version of video footage, which will appear on broadcast media or for web advertising purposes, must look as if it has been created in that language.

#3 INTEGRATE NEW CONTENT USING VIDEO EFFECTS SOFTWARE: If the original design files are not available, then the new content can be “overlaid” and recreated onto the original text to display in local versions. Whether you have access to the original design files or not, most localized content can be seamlessly integrated to generate high quality localized versions of video footage. At Welocalize, we use a range of specialized video effects software including Adobe® After Effects, Premiere Pro CC and Final Cut Pro X.

#4 CHECK SPECIAL EFFECTS AND MUSIC: Video footage, whether for global advertising or training programs, often contain certain special effects that must also be emulated in each local version. For example, the text fonts must be consistent, along with text shadowing and line breaks and synchronization to music. Quite often, the music track may be changed to suit the local audience and new content must be adapted to the new music.

One of the important considerations when using on screen text in multimedia localization is that it is considered more than a technical process. Welocalize teams working with localizing OST embark on a creative process, especially if the original design files and artwork are not available. Specialist teams work with large, high resolution files and must apply localization techniques and creative skills to generate high quality video output in multiple languages.

Welocalize has multimedia teams based all over the world, who have access to the latest OST technology and can develop creative solutions to engineer and produce world-class video footage suitable for a global audience. If you have questions about OST or Welocalize multimedia localization programs, please contact me at Michael.Anderson@welocalize.com.

Michael

Michael.anderson@welocalize.com

Based in the US, Michael Anderson is Senior Multimedia Engineer at Welocalize.

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. Clickz.com

#2 – Digital Rules. 67% of a typical B2B buyer’s journey is now digital with buyers researching product and brand information online before purchase, Lenati.com. 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

Louise.law@welocalize.com

Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.

 

Valuable Techniques for Multimedia Localization

463682571Senior Multimedia Localization Engineer at Welocalize, Michael Anderson takes a look at some of the popular and emerging techniques being used for multimedia localization.

One of the main barriers to localizing high volumes of multimedia has been cost. To generate high quality multimedia output in multiple languages involves high investment in studios, talent, specialist engineering and editing. Multimedia, especially video, now plays an important role in many global organization’s content strategy. Marketing, training, product information, corporate communications, health and safety content are all popular for using audio and video. Primarily, it is because all these content types and initiatives often have to reach a global audience.

Video continues to grow as a key tool used to communicate brand and product benefits. According to Cisco, by 2017 video will account for 69% of all consumer Internet traffic. There are a number of emerging options and techniques used at Welocalize for global brands to accurately localize multimedia and video.

#1 Text-to-speech (TTS). TTS techniques are becoming increasingly popular for video localization and synthetic voice software has improved dramatically over the years. Click here to see latest updates on Welocalize TTS.

#2 Green Screen Live Action Shooting. Using green screen technology, you can superimpose talents of your choice onto virtual backgrounds. We recreate the source by shooting with native actors. We sculpt the script content from the source so it matches and can weave in screenshots and sections from the original production. This avoids lip-syncing recorded audio to English, which can look disjointed. Shooting the video using a green screen allows you to change backgrounds, setting, animations and even people to suit the intended local audience. This prevents having to recreate the video for each language variant. You can alter images and messages to suit each target market by green screen technology.

#3 At-Home Recording. Using voice talents recorded in a remote, home studio can be a cost-effective option compared to hiring a studio. Studio hire can be expensive as it contains high end audio equipment and engineers. Providing the voice talent contractor meets the quality requirements for recording and experience. Recording “down the line” can deliver good results.

#4 Automated Transcription and Transcription Tools. Transcription is an important part of the overall video localization process and there are a number of new tools available to make transcription easier and more accurate. There are a number of options available for transcriptions services where source video and audio content can be quickly and accurately transcribed and provided in multiple language variants. Transcribed source content scripts can be reviewed and re-worked for subtitling and timings compared with scripts to ensure translated versions are synched with images, subtitles and source audio. A growing area is automated transcription. Once the source has gone through an automated transcription tool, the raw output can then be followed up with live human QA checks to ensure accuracy and context. This is ideal for live presentations that have been recorded and need to be understood quickly in other languages. In context editor tools can be used by translators to ensure they understand the purpose of the recorded content.

#5 Increased Use of Subtitling. Subtitling is a great way to produce multilingual multimedia. There are multiple styles used for subtitling. For example, custom fonts and color can be used for subtitled text to reflect the right brand values. Teamed with transcription, subtitling is a cost-effective way to professionally develop multimedia content into different language variants. New techniques using automated subtitling tools can speed up production and subtitles can be quickly viewed in real-time.

Michael

Based in the US, Michael Anderson is Senior Multimedia Engineer at Welocalize.

Michael.anderson@welocalize.com

Video Localization and Breakthroughs in Welocalize Text-to-Speech

retro microphone closeupAccording to Cisco, by 2017 video will account for 69% of all consumer Internet traffic and video-on-demand traffic alone will triple. Publishing video is one of the fastest growth areas in digital content marketing.

In ten years’ time, there is a strong chance you won’t be reading this article, instead you will be watching it. As more and more users in both the business-to-consumer and business-to-business space spend increased amounts of time making considered purchases by researching information and reviews online, video will be a key tool to communicate brand and product benefits. For global organizations, if you don’t have strategies around localizing video, then you could potentially not reach your global target audience.

Two important considerations in your strategy are the differences between voice-over and subtitles.

Voice-Over: When multilingual voice-over tracks are recorded in the target language and replace the original audio on the video file.

Subtitles: Localized screen captions that synchronize with the source audio. Hiring voice talents and studios can be a significant investment in terms of time and money.

To solve this, many global clients are looking to text-to-speech (TTS) as a viable option to produce multiple video versions to meet global language requirements. Certain types of video content, like training and social media campaigns, may not require such high levels of localization as high impact projects like television advertising. For TTS solutions, scripts can be loaded into synthetic voice software and turned into phonetic text. Technological advancements have made TTS techniques a viable option, opening video as a key marketing for online digital campaigns. It’s a far cry from the days of speak and spell.

Welocalize’s TTS solution, weVoice. provides many clients with the ability to produce videos in more than one language using the latest synthetic software.

The weVoice solution now offers an unprecedented amount of very high quality customization that overcomes challenges associated with TTS. For example, it includes use of non-standard words in the target language like jargon, company, brand names and acronyms. In addition to the standard offerings of gender, mood, and speech rate, we can work with clients to perfect specific pronunciation and intonation of custom vocabularies in 30 locales. When supplemented with client guidelines on how custom words should sound in each language, we get some of the best quality multilingual output available without using human speech. This unique approach is helping some of our global clients to reach and educate audiences around the world in one of the most popular publishing formats.

YouTube has over a billion users, which is more than one-third of all people on the Internet and potentially a massive consumer-base for organizations wishing to achieve increased global reach. Generation X, Y and Z won’t be reading product manuals. They will be watching instructions through online videos. This increases the demand for global marketers to seek effective and cost-efficient ways to reach multilingual audiences.

We are continually innovating all our technologies to meet future the globalization needs of our clients. Our weVoice solution is one key area where we are focusing and investing in to ensure our clients reach all target audiences in every format.

For more information about Welocalize’s weVoice TTS solution, contact David.landan@welocalize.com

Adapt Worldwide Bridges Language Gaps in Digital Marketing

Interview with Huw Aveston, Co-Managing Director at Adapt Worldwide, a Welocalize Multilingual Digital Marketing Agency

Huw AvestonIn February 2016, Welocalize announced the acquisition multilingual digital marketing agency, Adapt Worldwide, formerly known as Traffic Optimiser. Huw Aveston is one of Adapt Worldwide’s co-founders and now co-managing director. Huw is a digital marketing veteran having worked with more than 500 clients across travel, retail, finance, technology, consumer products, as well as marketing and advertising agencies. Welocalize Global Communications Manager, Louise Law, caught up with Huw to gain some of his latest insights into global digital content.

You founded Adapt Worldwide (formerly Traffic Optimiser) in 2010 with Chee Ho Wan. What inspired you to set up the company?

We felt that there was a gap in the market for digital expertise combined with language skills. The digital marketing space is changing all the time and it takes a lot of different people specializing in different fields for an agency to keep up with the pace. When you add in an international component, then it really becomes difficult to execute at a high level and that is where we saw the opportunity. We set out to build an agency that could do both and deliver multilingual digital marketing.

We created a core team in London that now covers all the core disciplines in digital marketing combined with native language speakers from over 22 different countries. Now that we are part of Welocalize, we are supported by a vast global network of offices and resources to deliver solutions to the world’s leading brands.

What are the current key drivers in global digital content?

I think the biggest driver is engagement. There are still far too many companies producing content that no one wants or that that people cannot find. In the rush to create content, a lot of companies do not find out what type of content people are looking for before they launch a campaign.

By taking a data-driven approach, you can produce great results from your content marketing. Pay attention to third party data like Google AdWords, YouTube statistics and social media analytics. This data can help companies decide what content should be produced and in which language. Companies must also use their own analytics and understand the various data points across their own platforms and websites. Look at website bounce rates, dwell times and levels of interaction with the different content types.

Content should always be tracked to a conversion point. This will help identify how content is contributing and whether it is helping overall sales and revenue targets. The data is out there already. Think about content before you produce it and you can nearly always exceed the performance of your rivals.

How will global brands continue to develop and publish digital content?

Content is really only just getting started; however, in a world where so much content is being produced, it can be hard to make an impact.

What we will see develop are the niche topics. You can see this happening already. If you type into YouTube – How Do I repair a dishwasher – you will see thousands of amateurs and small publishers creating content designed to help people. These are typically the smaller companies or individual bloggers. Brands will move into the content space with a greater focus on being knowledge leaders rather than self-publicists; their growing budgets will allow for greater quality and more authoritative content.

The success of this content will drive brand strength, which in turn will lend more weight and credibility to their content.

How do you consume digital content and media?

This depends on where I am and what I’m doing. When I’m in the gym, I’ll listen to podcasts from the Economist. When I’m on the London Tube, I’ll be reading blogs and if I’m on a long train or plane ride I might watch YouTube videos. When I’m in my living room, I’ll cast things straight to my television. I like to be able to access and use content in a way that suits me.

What’s your favorite type of digital content?

Video. I’m dyslexic and I prefer to learn audibly rather than to read large block of information. When I’m brushing up on the latest trends in my industry I’ll usually listen to a podcast or watch a YouTube video.

What gadget can’t you live without?

My phone. It sounds a bit boring; however, modern smart phones have really become so good that I can complete 95% of my job from anywhere in the world. I think that WFP (work from phone) should really be introduced as a new acronym into our workplace.

How many languages can you speak?

Fluently, just one. I can get by in most of the countries I visit. Before I land anywhere, I always learn and rehearse the basics, please, thank you, yes, no, hello, goodbye etc. It’s no substitute for knowing someone’s language, though if you can at least showed that you have tried, I find it goes a long way to getting good reactions from people you meet.

You’re travelling a lot at the moment and being introduced at a number of Welocalize and key industry events. Which country or city are you looking forward to the most?

San Francisco. The unrivaled center of the digital world and still the where most of the innovation is happening, It is great to see that all the cities I’ve visit recently have their own tech and start up scenes. Our industry will become less centered on the West Coast as it grows, but for the time being the Bay area is still where it’s at when it comes to marketing, digital, technology and the like. We are spending this week in Portland and San Francisco at a series of Adapt Worldwide and Welocalize LocLeaders Local events. Join us and let’s get digitally connected.

Can you share some of your vision for Adapt Worldwide?

Adapt_Logo_Color-72ppi-300We have two main goals for the next three years. Firstly, to continue to build out more operational offices around the world. Having teams on the streets and near the clients is really important to building relationships and understand the culture of the central and local marketing departments.

Secondly, build on our crowd platform of digital marketing linguists. The crowd will give us greater scale, flexibility and more competitive costs which we can pass onto our clients.

Huw Aveston will be joining Smith Yewell, Welocalize CEO and Paul McManus, Chief Customer Officer at Welocalize, to host Welocalize Locleaders Dublin 2016 event. As is tradition with LocLeaders, we will be hosting a series of moderated panel discussions with localization leaders from leading global organizations with a theme of Expanding Your Global Reach. Welocalize LocLeaders Dublin will be taking place on Wednesday, June 8 a at No. 6 Kildare Street, home of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland since 1864. For more information and to register for the event, click here.

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 16 global offices, Welocalize acquired Adapt Worldwide in 2015. Adapt Worldwide was formerly known as Traffic Optimiser. www.adaptworldwide.com

To contact Huw, reach out to huw.aveston@adaptworldwide.com.

Localization and Collaboration to Enable Global Growth

A Welocalize and Avigilon Case Study

Avigilon_RGB[1]Avigilon Corporation, a trusted security solutions provider, required a scalable globalization strategy that centralized localization and translation activities to meet rapid global growth in demand for its products and manage high volumes of variable content. Avigilon wanted to work with a language service provider (LSP) large enough to manage a wide variety of content and high volumes, but also agile enough to grow with Avigilon and deliver a scalable solution to meet increasing global demand. Avigilon selected Welocalize, global leader in innovative translation and localization solutions.

As demand for Avigilon’s products exploded, the new team moved quickly. Avigilon and Welocalize centralized the flow of translation requests and technology, moving assets and processes onto Welocalize’s open-source translation management system (TMS), GlobalSight, and developing glossary maintenance programs and translation memories (TMs). A new localization program was put in place that could handle a wide range of content into up to 23 languages.

READ MORE: Avigilon and Welocalize Case Study

Services include:

  • Software Localization
  • Software QA and Testing through Welocalize Testing Lab in Portland, Oregon, USA
  • Localization and Testing of e-Learning & In-Classroom Training Materials for Avigilon’s Global Product Training Programs
  • Localization of Multimedia, including Dubbing and Subtitling of Audio and Video Content
  • Technical Documentation, Product Installation Guides, Software User Manuals & Product Datasheets
  • Sales & Marketing Collateral
  • Web Updates
  • MT & PEMT Support

Adapt Worldwide Transcreation Capabilities

Avigilon works with Welocalize’s multilingual digital marketing agency, Adapt Worldwide, to transcreate sales, marketing and product content, providing linguistic copy writing who are trained on Avigilon products. The Adapt Worldwide team develops fresh, digital content, whilst retaining the overall brand concepts and values for local markets.

“Avigilon’s localization strategy is to invest in the right content areas and target languages to improve Avigilon’s overall global performance and achieve global growth. We’re extremely satisfied with the results we have seen by bringing Welocalize on board as our strategic localization partner. The Welocalize team deliver world-class customer support and has increased our levels of localization maturity, resulting in a localization program that is used globally by many departments within Avigilon. It has been and continues to be an incredibly successful collaboration.” – Paula Hunter, Localization Manager, Avigilon.

To achieve global growth, you need localization and a strong collaboration with a global language service provider. Find out more about how Welocalize help Avigilon achieve global growth with a wide range of world-class, scalable localization solutions. Click here to read the full Avigilon and Welocalize Case Study.

AvigilonCaseStudy_FINAL_Page_1

Global Digital Marketing and Multilingual Videos

Video is set to become the predominant driver of all online traffic and is a tool increasingly favored by global marketers. A new study by Cisco predicts that in just four years’ time, online video will account for four-fifths of the world’s Internet traffic. It would take an individual over 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each month in 2019.

Few brand marketing trends were as big in 2015 as video and digital marketing. According to a recent study by the Web Video Marketing Council, 96% of B2B marketers are now using video. Video is great for engaging audiences and getting their attention in a crowded market.

According to the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), 56% of consumers say that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price. Localization should NOT be an afterthought, especially for marketers who want their digital content to reach wide geographical markets. Localization is much more than word for word translation, it’s about making your content searchable, relevant and appropriate for the target market. The same applies to any digital video posted online.

Historically, many marketers felt that using video was too expensive and out of the budget range. With the growth in technology and media sharing platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, the cost of publishing multimedia content has decreased significantly. Video is now a viable tool for all global marketers, even those without the multi-million dollar advertising budgets. Unlike before, more of the world with Internet access can view content posted on YouTube.

Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign was a great online marketing success. It gained 114 million views in the first month. Together with Unilever, Dove uploaded videos in 25 languages to 33 of its official YouTube channels, reaching consumers in more than 110 countries, helping to spread its brand message worldwide. The campaign generated close to 3.8 million shares in its first month online and added 15,000 new subscribers to Dove’s YouTube channel over the following two months. Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=180&v=XpaOjMXyJGk.

One of the reasons the Dove campaign was so successful was the fact it created global appeal and spoke the language of its target audience. The relevant films, created in multiple languages, were shown depending on where the viewer was accessing. Dove US films ran in English speaking countries, using appropriate cultural groups and language. It is important to deliver video content in the right language and with appropriate imaging and actors that suit the target audience. If viewers can relate to the content, then they are more likely to share, subscribe and act.

Traditionally, TV adverts would have to be produced to very high standards. These branded digital assets are considered high impact content. With the growth of online marketing, video footage no longer has to be the high quality production, even for leading global brands who now create localized customer-experiences as full commercials. People viewing YouTube footage don’t expect high standards of production, they want to consume the content and share it with others. The same applies to localization techniques.

Re-shooting video using new actors and voice talents can be costly in terms of time and money. Studio hire, developing new scripts and extensive editing and engineering can quickly eat up an already stretched localization budget. Increased use of subtitling and text-to-speech (TTS) technology makes video localization achievable. For certain types of video, it is perfectly acceptable to use some of these alternative multimedia localization techniques as it does not have to be localized to the same high production standards as a film or television advertisement.

With TTS technology, scripts can be loaded into synthetic voice software, turning the written word into phonetic text. Recent technological advancement has now meant TTS is more human-like and less robotic making video localization well within reach at a reasonable cost.

Online video is quickly becoming the future of content marketing, with its ability to deliver easily digestible, entertaining content. Product reviews, launch announcements, testimonials, operating instructions, learning materials – all content that can be delivered through the medium of video. For a successful global campaign, online video has to be tailored with appropriate use of language and image to reach a global audience – and that’s where localization plays a key role.

Lauren

Lauren.southers@welocalize.com

Lauren Southers is a member of the Global Marketing and Sales Support Team at Welocalize.

Welocalize has provided scripts, subtitles, voice-over, production engineering and dubbing for millions of minutes of video footage into over 170 languages, enabling video marketing campaigns to reach many more viewers, in new global markets. For more information on Welocalize localization services for multimedia content, click here.

Six Tips to Developing Learning Content for a Global Audience

Online LearningLearners need high quality materials to properly engage and retain the knowledge provided through any type of learning program. Developing these materials for a global audience can bring a number of challenges. Course materials must be effective for the breadth of your learning audience, regardless of their geography. We have compiled six tips to help learning developers and content creators author materials for a global audience.

TIP #1: Consider Localization and Translation at the Planning Stage

Considering your localization strategy from the outset helps learning organizations focus on the true audience and ultimately improve the user experience and reduce translation costs. Learning organizations benefit from being fully aware of all target audiences and languages, so they can develop the learning content for a global audience and take steps to ensure the localization process is efficient and integrated at the earliest stage of material development. This includes the planning and identification of all aspects of the localization process, such as translation, terminology research and cultural research. Preparing a file for localization should include tasks such as:

  • Ensuring the general format and layout of a document is ready for localization and translation
  • Using consistent terminology
  • Text expansion
  • Timing and synchronizing audio

You can read more in the Welocalize white paper: Ready Your Learning Content for Localization to Save Money and Improve Experience.

TIP #2: Keep Terminology Consistent and Simple

Simple matters. The best content will be understandable to a wide range of users around the world. Keep terminology simple also allows for easier and more consistent translation. Any complicated language, colloquialisms, jargon, acronyms or local humor increases the risk of incorrect and out-of-context translations. When authoring content, think “universal” context.

TIP #3: Check Imagery and Color

As well as linguistic aspects, consideration must also be given to imagery and color of learning materials destined for a global audience. This is to ensure successful translation to other cultures, without losing or changing meaning of the learning experience. This means avoiding the use of region-specific symbols and images, and also consider the regional differences in meaning, particularly if an image has any potential for bad interpretation or negative connotation in a certain area of the world. Learning is often digital and uses a lot of images to show examples. Even a background in a video can be disruptive to a learning experience, if it is culturally offensive in any way. All elements, digital and in word format need careful review. The best practice to to rely on images that are culturally neutral and do not need to be replaced no matter how they are viewed and no matter the language.

TIP #4: Video and Audio Files

Educational and learning course materials are often heavy in multimedia, audio and video content. It can be costly to reproduce multilingual versions of video footage, using new scripts, voice and acting talents. There are a number of lower cost options available to localize video. For example, subtitling or text-to-speech (TTS) technology are driving a lot of changes in the localization world. Significant advancements have been made in TTS in recent years, making audio track localization much easier, as well as lowering costs for buyers. Scripts can now be loaded into TTS software, which adds a synthetic voice, turning written text into phonetic text. When creating source video and audio content, consideration needs to be taken to ensure extra time is allowed for voice over language expansion and appropriate space allowed for when developing video content for subtitling. For more information on TTS, read Welocalize blog Text- to Speech Localization for Global Brand Marketing.

TIP #5: Provide Source Files to Your LSP

Most files need to be prepared for translation and localization. This means ensuring all source files are accessible and editable for translation and localization purposes. Certain course materials may include diagrams or cartoons. All source (editable) graphics files must be available for translation. Keep source files organized and easily accessible to the localization and translation teams, keeping a list of all files and content types to streamline your workflow, reduce costs and improve efficiency.

TIP #6: Consider the Impact of Learning Material

It is important to take into account what the content is designed for and the purpose it needs to serve, whether it be a corporate output for a global sales team or a partner accreditation program. The purpose of material and the impact it is expected to have on your global audience will have a significant effect on how translation and localization projects are managed and formatted. High impact materials may need more time and budget to get the localized content to the highest standards.

Welocalize specializes in learning and education translation and localization for multinational businesses, compliance and regulatory groups, global training providers, CLO’s and traning development departments as well as the general e-learning and education market round the world. Click here for more information on Welocalize services to the global learning and education sector.

Matt

Matthew.johnson@welocalize.com

Matthew Johnson is a member of the Welocalize global sales support and marketing team.

Global Advertising Trends for Online Travel and Hospitality Companies

Thai travel tourism concept design - collage of Thailand images on wooden background

Thai travel tourism concept design – collage of Thailand images on wooden background

Digital purchases are everything to online travel and hospitality companies, and the market for global online advertising reflects the intensity. In this highly competitive market, it is vital to keep abreast of the ever-changing trends to keep your head above the global advertising water. With techniques such as mobile, social media and video, finding the right platform for optimum global reach is worthwhile.

eMarketer’s Digital Ad Spending Benchmarks 2015 report shows that the online travel and hospitality industry has an 8.3% slice of the US Digital Ad Spending Share pie. This may be quite modest in comparison to industries such as retail (22%) or automotive (12.5%); however, the rise of digital purchases for online travel and hospitality is fast approaching, if not already here. These companies will have to step up in approaches to their global digital advertising to maintain and gain market share.

Any global advertising campaign requires input from localization experts. Whether translating volumes of UGC or transcreating a full campaign, advertising and global marketing materials have to be adapted to local markets, especially in the e-commerce space where there is a lot of online content.

Here are some advertising trends for online travel and hospitality companies to have global reach.

Mobile
Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report shows mobile advertising in a favorable light this year. There are 2.1 billion mobile internet users which is an increase of 23% from 2014. Mobile data usage has also risen by 69% last year, making a strong case for incorporating mobile in a global advertising strategy.

Mobile is global! People from opposite ends of the earth and in between have a smartphone. For online travel and hospitality companies, this can prove extremely lucrative. To cement this global reach that mobile can provide, localizing apps is crucial. In order for online travel and hospitality companies to drive digital sales, the digital customer experience must be faultless. This includes the languages that apps are localized into and how the user interface (UI) is presented.

When devising a global advertising strategy, it is of utmost importance that your content (localized or not) is compatible with mobile platforms. Mobile is expected to make up $2.28 billion of digital ad spending in the online travel and hospitality industry, and more in the coming years. It is not a trend to be ignored. A language services provider (LSP) like Welocalize can help ensure that localized content is presented for maximum global reach.

Video
Advertising via a video platform for online travel and hospitality companies is another trend for the industry. Video sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo have enabled video advertising to be a sound investment. In correlation with the growing success of mobile 55% of mobile data traffic is from video, so as mobile usage grows, video goes with it.

From 2012 to 2013, the number of travelers who used online video for travel planning jumped 10% from 30% to 40%. Aside from mobile, it is the fastest growing kind of advertisement. It also seems to be the best kind of advertisement for engagement, as the click through rate is the highest among online advertisements. Localizing video requires an experienced LSP. Decisions such as voice-overs or subtitling can be troublesome without the help of an experienced LSP, so make sure you include one in your localization journey.

Social Media
The usage of social media by online travel and hospitality brands is high and gaining traction. Consumers actively share and view posts, comments and photos from travel experiences. This type of user-generated content (UGC) can become a gratuitous form of advertising . This especially true when it is in the preferred language of the consumer. Notably, 46% of ad buyers think that social media is effective at generating brand awareness, and social ad budgets have tripled between 2011-2015.

The sheer volume of social media content available to localize can seem daunting; however, an LSP like Welocalize with a reliable team of localization and language tool experts can help to put the right strategy in place for using automation like machine translation (MT) to translate more content volume without increasing costs.

When considering these trends for online travel and hospitality companies, keep in mind what will work best for your company. These types of advertising all have excellent potential for increasing global and revenue across local markets, especially when localized. Consulting with an LSP before embarking on your global advertising strategy allows you to utilize their expertise and knowledge for the best possible reach.

Louise

Louise.Donkor@welocalize.com

Louise Donkor is a member of the global marketing and sales support team at Welocalize.

Localized Learning Content Impacts Multilingual Students and Global Audiences

ThinkstockPhotos-467262442Welocalize works with many clients who produce e-learning content intended for global audiences, both internal and external. E-learning can be quite complex content, interlaced with various forms of multimedia, including video and audio. Without proper localization planning, it can present challenges in effectively reaching a global audience. The story of Khan Academy is one that demonstrates the value and importance of multilingual planning and how good content can truly make a world of difference.

At the 2015 Marketo Summit in San Francisco, California, Salman Khan, founder and executive director of Khan Academy, shared valuable insights about the reach and impact of global learning. Khan’s presentation demonstrated the importance and impact of online learning through the experiences and interactions of Khan Academy around the world. He also advocated how important it was to make education and learning content available to wider, multilingual audiences.

Where did it all begin? Nearly 10 years ago, Khan had a number of phone calls with his younger cousin to help her with math. This soon became common knowledge throughout Khan’s family and he rapidly began having conference calls with 10-15 family members each day. Struggling to keep the content of his lessons relevant for each family member, he discussed his new hobby with friends who suggested creating YouTube videos. This way, each student could learn at their own pace. His initial thought was that YouTube is for cats playing piano not for serious mathematics. He soon learned differently.

Coming around to the idea of YouTube, he was soon creating volumes of YouTube videos from his walk-in closet. Khan’s hobby was quickly becoming a full-time project. After a discussion with his wife he resigned from his job as an analyst and put all his effort into creating the Khan Academy, a non-profit organization delivering education to everybody everywhere, pushing boundaries and re-imagining the world of education. It wasn’t long before the academy was noticed, with investors such as Google and The Gates Foundation. Khan Academy has been able to revolutionize learning for students across the world.

Khan Academy now has one million educators and 20 million users learning on the site. One third of these users are outside of the United States. Using YouTube as a distribution media for learning content means it can potentially be accessed by students all over the world. Khan Academy translates some of its e-learning content, video, audio and subtitles, teaching platforms and more. One of their goals is to translate their content into all of the world’s major languages over the next 10 years.

Localization and education go hand-in-hand. The impact is far reaching for students and businesses. Learning and education is such a vital part of any global business and world economy. The value of any training and development hinges on how this content can be utilized to reach to your entire audience, in all relevant languages. It is critical to plan and prepare for how language will play a role in the learning experience. The benefits and impact of translating your learning content are vast, as most global companies have multilingual audiences.

When you localize learning content, you are positioning your brand as a company with an international presence. The quality of your content and consistency in your message builds your company’s credibility and enhances your brand image. There are direct localization benefits to the company, such as boosting company efficiency, employee performance and creating a educated workforce across the board. All of which offers consistent and reliable results for your clients and customers. Providing learning in your users native language aids knowledge acquisition and boosts retention rate. It is just good business.

Welocalize partners with global organizations to maximize the value of their learning. We provide translation and localization services in 157 languages for all types of learning content including online courses, sales and product training, user guides, classroom instructions, documentation materials, digital media assets and more. Click here for more information on Welocalize localization services for the learning and education sector.

Lauren

Lauren.Southers@welocalize.com

Lauren Southers is the Manager of Global Marketing and Business Support and a super administrator of Marketo at Welocalize.

 

 

 

 

Text-to-Speech Localization for Global Brand Marketing

By Darin Goble

ThinkstockPhotos-488281659Multimedia is on the rise, permeating areas never reached before, thanks to the growth in technology and also the prolific rise of video and audio sharing technologies and platforms. For many global brands, use of multimedia is growing fastest, eclipsing standard sales and marketing techniques.

According to video-sharing website, YouTube, not only do they have over 1 billion users and 4 billion video views per day, but 60% of a creator’s views come from outside their home country. It is no surprise that video and other multimedia techniques are increasingly being used by global companies to drive brand and social media campaigns.

Audio and video is already used heavily in learning materials; however, with the growing influence of sites like YouTube and Vimeo, using video to build a global brand has become an integral part of any marketing campaign.

Before the Internet and YouTube, using video and television advertising to reach global audiences would have been outrageously expensive and out of reach for many brands. Now, many of the top global brands are consistently using video to reach global audiences. According to Pixability*, 99 out of the top 100 global brands are on YouTube and the top 100 brands have invested approximately $4.3 billion in the creation of video assets to drive global marketing campaigns. For Generation Z (those born after the turn of the century) viral brand videos and social media campaigns through various devices is part of everyday life.

In the localization industry, we are seeing more and more requests for multimedia localization, especially video. Localizing multimedia content can be a lengthy process and expensive. Hiring multiple voice talents, studios, sourcing the right editing, sound and engineering expertise can be a significant investment in terms of time and money. However, latest developments in text-to-speech (TTS) technology has also opened up multimedia localization as a viable option for many global brands. Certain video content does not have to be localized to the same high production standards as a film or television advertisements.

Innovations in TTS are saving global brands time and money. Rather than have people sit in a studio to record the multilingual versions, scripts can be loaded into synthetic voice software, turning the written word into phonetic text. Years ago, TTS wasn’t an option for many companies, the technology was quite clunky and the output too robotic. Recent technological advancement has meant audio track localization is well within reach, using TTS techniques. Plus, the more scripts you feed and train the TTS engine, the more intelligent it becomes, enabling clients to leverage linguistic assets and further reduce translation costs and improve quality.

In addition, marketing and brand videos that are distributed via social media sites are different to the polished TV advertisements of the “Mad Men” days. Certain video content does not have to be localized to the same high production standards. Techniques, like TTS, produce localization output that is perfectly acceptable to the target audience and will trigger the desired response.

Welocalize has recently developed a specialized solution for text-to-speech, weVoice, which we recently demonstrated at Learning Solutions and Expo this year. We’ve seen some great success with global brand clients. If you are interested in a demonstration, please contact us and we can show you how global brands are utilizing weVoice technology today.

TTS demonstrates one of the many localization techniques that are evolving to meet future client needs. As global brands adapt content, we adapt localization strategies to help their globalization strategy.

Darin

Darin.goble@welocalize.com

Darin Goble is Senior Director at Welocalize. Based in Portland, Oregon, he has worked in the language services industry for over 15 years and leads a global team focused on driving unique localization strategies for a number of high profile global brands.

Further Reading: Text-to-Speech for Localization of Learning Multimedia

*Top 100 Global Brands on YouTube PixTV30, Pixability

Learning Solutions Conference 2015 Highlights

513355289 (1)Welocalize was a sponsor and exhibitor at the Learning Solutions Conference 2015 (LSCon), which took place in Orlando, Florida. Matt Gaitan, Welocalize Regional Business Development Director, shares his highlights and insights into two key trends Welocalize discussed at the conference.

At this year’s Learning Solutions Conference and Expo, we met with learning professionals and engaged with a community that shares a broad with a common interest in learning solutions and how localization ties in with the overall process. The Welocalize team of experts spoke with delegates who are working on several significant learning projects and gave guidance on how to approach the localization process to produce quality and cost-effective multilingual versions for learning.

Multimedia and localization were hot topics at the event. The Welocalize team discussed with event attendees the prospect of including English voice into designer’s development models, through the highly advanced text-to-speech (TTS) technology available through Welocalize. We ran a live Voice Challenge demonstration, offering analysis and cost-comparison of text-to-speech versus voice-over talent.

Traditionally, professional voice-over services can be expensive. Using studios to record multilingual versions of learning videos and courses can be a significant investment for studio hires, voice talent and editing. With budget restraints, this can sometimes leave limited options for design teams who would otherwise prefer to include a voice audio component into their courseware.

With the recent advances in technology, a clearer and emerging alternative is the option of utilizing TTS technology for English. Learning experts and designers confirm, the incorporation of voice audio is a valuable service for learners. Text-to-speech for English scripts has come to the point where the audio quality itself has profoundly improved in quality. When you couple the high degree of voice quality with the ability to train the software through phonetic iterations – the final output proposes a viable solution and the incorporation of voice into training modules enhances the overall learning experience.

One of the other key discussions that took place at the conference was how to manage voice samples and voice-over talents. Welocalize demonstrated a collective showcase of eLearning examples at LSCon during LS DemoFest 2015. We provided attendees the opportunity to easily select voice-over talent with our technology portal, which offered useful tips and examples in choosing the best voice-over resources for learning programs and content localization.

Welocalize Multimedia Services introduced a new seamless alternative for clients to manage their voice-over talents, in any language. This simplifies that process of sharing voice samples instead of using email, file sharing services, FTP sites and other means. Welocalize provides a means for centralizing the distribution of voice samples and provides the ability to add commentary on the quality of the samples. In addition to the option of adding commentary, embedded within the showcase are options for listening to the samples, adding customized attributes such as gender and age range and the option to either accept, or reject voice samples. Depending on what each client’s unique requirements are for selecting voice over talent, this extension of our robust multimedia solutions provides the collaborate means for streamlining the overall voice over selection process.

Among all the topics discussed and debated at LSCon 2015, we learned that the prospect of English audio via text-to-speech drew the most interest. Welocalize is helping companies reduce some of the associated costs involved in multimedia localization with our text-to-speech services. The Welocalize TTS multimedia service offering helps clients with a cost-effective alternative and can be used for learning courses, instructor-led training content, training videos as well as online help.

We would be happy to engage with any global company and discuss how Welocalize can enhance the learning experience for your stakeholders. If you would like a demonstration of our voice-over and text-to-speech solutions, contact us today.

Special note of congratulations to Spencer Buck from the Wisetail team, the lucky winner of our Beats by Dre™ raffle!

Matt
Matt.gaitan@welocalize.com

Based in our Portland, Oregon location, Matt Gaitan is a Regional Business Development Director at Welocalize.

Text-to-Speech for Localization of Learning Multimedia

468906251Localizing multimedia materials for online learning and courseware content requires careful planning. In this blog, Senior Multimedia Localization Engineer at Welocalize, Michael Anderson, introduces text-to-speech and outlines why it offers learning solution providers and companies with online training programs a cost-effective and timely solution for localizing audio and video voice-over work.

The main style of voice-over (VO) recording, commonly used by global learning companies, is voice-over studio recording and on occasion, at-home VO recording. Using studios to record multilingual versions of learning videos and courses is a significant investment in studio hires, voice talent and subsequent editing services. There are also additional costs associated to changes made to the source material, which may require additional budgeting for studio time and talent.

Welocalize is helping companies reduce some of these associated costs with the newly added multimedia localization solution, text-to-speech (TTS). This Welocalize service offering provides clients with a cost-effective alternative, as well as a potential faster time-to-market in comparison with the use of recording studios and voice talents for voice-over related projects. This capability can be used for learning courses, instructor-led training content, training videos, as well as online help features on websites or in software and mobile applications.

What is Text-to-Speech?

Instead of voice talents sitting in a studio, recording the localized versions, text documents (or scripts) are loaded into synthetic voice software, turning written word into speech. The technology has been available for some time; however, significant recent improvements have been made within the last couple of years which means the speech output is less robotic and more intelligent.

A key benefit of using this approach for localizing and translation of content is that the more you use the software engine, the more it remembers and retains common terms in the translation memory (TM), which in turn continues to reduce cost and further speeds-up the translation process. The process includes adding the content to the software and based on the quality of the voice output, simply tweaking the word document to gain the exact translation and voice.

Welocalize has piloted the text-to-speech solution with several learning clients and similar to machine translation (MT), you have to continue to train and educate the software for each client’s needs. We are also able to provide in-depth cost analysis for TTS and compare it to historical VO costs, so the client can see where the costs in terms of time and money are being made and if there is an opportunity to streamline the process.

The market potential for multimedia localization of eLearning programs and learning content is huge. There is growing use of voice in the learning space and also for technology, devices and communication is growing rapidly. Welocalize is excited to offer an alternative multimedia localization solution that fits our client’s needs for delivering learning content in multiple languages. We are continually looking for innovative ways to improve and customize the multimedia localization process to ensure our client’s communications reach their global audience in their local language and local dialect.

Michael

Michael.anderson@welocalize.com

Based in California, Michael Anderson is Senior Multimedia Localization Engineer at Welocalize. He is also a well-known film-maker, producing documentaries in his spare time.

TAKE OUR VOICE CHALLENGE! You can meet senior Welocalize language experts at the Learning Solutions Conference and Expo taking place in Orlando, Florida, March 25-27, 2015. Welocalize will also be running demonstrations of Text-to-Speech versus Voice-Over at booth #607. These demonstrations will enable attendees to compare the costs, turnaround time and quality of TTS vs VO. If you are attending the event and would like to schedule a demonstration, please visit: http://www.welocalize.com/voicechallenge/

Defining a Successful Software Localization Program

185519875Mark O’Malley, Bernice McDonagh and Jörg Bauer focus on software localization programs at Welocalize. Together, they have over 25 years of experience working in the localization industry. In this blog, they highlight some of the key steps and components of a successful localization program that helps software companies sell into international markets.

Software localization projects can be complex and may involve cross-functional teams, specialized technology and numerous interrelated parts tied to our clients’ development and release schedules.

Key components of software localization projects include: User Interface (UI), Help Systems and Documentation.

As we work through the different stages of a localization project, we often tackle components in parallel to maximize efficiency and meet deadlines. This is essential, as clients move to a sim-ship requirement needing localized software products available at the same time as English. For more information on sim-ship, see Welocalize blog Software Localization and Meeting Sim-Ship Expectations.

What do we need to ensure a successful software localization program?

First, we must know our clients and understand their products, their business strategy and their expectations regarding localized releases. This will impact the solutions that we offer and will influence how we build our project teams and organize project work. For example, products which follow an agile and/or sim-ship development methodology are likely to have different resourcing requirements compared to products which follow a more traditional development and release strategy.

Core program teams are made up of experienced project managers, language and functional leads. The project manager oversees the preparation, planning and execution phases of projects and will work closely with the project team to ensure that the scope and requirements are clear, to identify key milestones and to develop suitable localization plans and schedules. The project manager will also manage the budget throughout the lifetime of the project and will work with the project team to monitor variances and report to the client on a regular basis.

A key area for the project manager is the consideration of potential risks, dependencies and constraints when planning software localization work. For example, a product which will release to media may have in-product help or video content and, if so, the localization milestones for the documentation will have to be properly aligned with software localization milestones.

Communication is key to ensuring successful completion of projects and the project manager should define and agree communication channels and escalation paths with their project team and with their client contacts at the earliest stage. It is helpful to have an agreed communication channels with specialists on the client side to resolve any blocking issues that may arise during the translation and production cycles. Clear and open channels of communication assist in having all parties up to date with status. This allows the project teams at the client and lead LSP operate as an integrated unit. Everyone knows who to contact and it helps minimize the occurrence of unexpected surprises later in the project.

At Welocalize, we assign translation work to qualified linguistic resources that have expertise in the subject matter. Whatever the tool used to create source components at the client, we have internal processes ready to extract only translatable content out of the source files so that translators can easily work on the content and don’t have to struggle with unfamiliar tools or applications. A key part of the planning and set up phases is ensuring translators are comfortable with the defined translation tools and workflow required to complete the project. We have machine translation programs in place now for many clients. With machine translated content being widely used, expertise in post-editing is now also a requirement.

The project managers and language coordinators work with clients to make sure that translators have access to approved references and relevant product information. Based on the evolving needs of the program, we organize training and kick-off sessions with translation teams to make sure that they are clear about the latest requirements.

After translation, the source text is overwritten with the translation and checked for issues that might have been introduced by the localization process. For example, UI dialogs will be resized and hotkeys adjusted. In online help and documentation, the layout and, in the case of Asian languages, the font is also adjusted. Screenshots, audio files, videos and other localized graphics are created for software localization.

Before product release, we will also do a comprehensive testing cycle on the full software build. This can include layout, functional and language dependent checks by native speakers.

A robust defect management system and a well-defined workflow will ensure that defects identified during QA cycles are processed in a timely and consistent manner. It will mean that project managers and functional leads have visibility on status for defect fixes at all times. Such a system can be crucial to aid decision-making ahead of critical milestones and ultimately allow us to successfully deliver the signed-off final product to the client so they can launch internationally.

Mark, Bernice, Jörg

If you are interested in software localization, you might also want to read: Software Localization and Meeting Sim-Ship Expectations, Role of Quality in Four Stages of Software Localization, The Internet of Things and How it Affects Localization

Download Welocalize White Paper on Software Localization: A Bug is a Bug in Any Language

Localization Planning for Your Multimedia Marketing Campaign

186909274The days of spending big budgets to produce a marketing video has changed. There was a time when producing a video involved many hours of preparation, dollars and a team to hire out to produce it. Times have changed. Every year, new technology comes out to make it easier and easier to produce a marketing video to show the world your message.

YouTube is the second largest search engine, making the power of video huge in reach and awareness. One viral video on YouTube can reach millions and a viral video on YouTube that has been localized can have a much wider reach.

A typical scenario today is that a global marketing team comes up with the video to demonstrate or sell your product. The video is produced in English for a campaign, targeted mainly to the market in the US. There is an opportunity to make this typical scenario more rewarding for a global marketer’s campaign with higher potential ROI. Different methods of multimedia localization can help to open up the video to a global audience.

An experienced top-tier localization company like Welocalize can take the video and either add subtitles or voice over (VO) in more than 22 languages, expanding the reach worldwide so the initial production costs spent to produce the video benefits more customers and local markets. Certain video messages do not have to be completely re-recorded and produced, whereas the cost can be prohibitive for such scale of original productions. Using subtitling and VO opens up the possibility to get the most out of your initial multimedia investment.

How can localization benefit a general marketing campaign or program? Multimedia files using audio and video (AV) have increasingly become an important part of marketing, training materials and corporate communications for companies wanting to effectively address a global audience. Here are two example of how you can benefit from localization and increase your target audience.

  • Marketing Videos: Using the YouTube channel for business purposes is part of Internet marketing. By creating a company channel and posting videos of company products, services and news events, this activates a media channel that is accessed globally. Taking the source content, adding VO or subtitles extend the reach of key campaign messages.
  • E-learning Presentations: For e-learning content, images taken from the Web or from personal cameras can be merged with text and some graphic design to create striking multimedia presentations. These can be used in-house, with clients, or as presentations that are downloadable from the Internet. All of this content, with localized VO or subtitles, can further maximize marketing ROI and increase online “searchability” and rankings.

How can Welocalize help? Our team can open up all of your multimedia assets to the global market. Even when the project is in development, our team can assist in helping to setup the project so the source content is easy to be localized.

Michael

Michael.anderson@welocalize.com
Based in California, Michael Anderson is a Senior Multimedia Engineer at Welocalize.

Recommended reading: Welocalize’s Guide to Multimedia Localization

Follow this blog by subscribing today. We will be sharing other multimedia topics by Welocalize film-expert Michael Anderson, including:
• Creating localization-friendly multimedia content
• The different options when localizing video
• How to organize your assets to reduce localization costs

Seven Rules for Graphics in Technical Communications

452217709Graphics and images form a crucial part of almost all communication materials, especially in technical documentation where the use of complex engineering diagrams is common. In this blog, Welocalize DTP Consultants Elaine Abbott and Sue Rigby share their seven golden rules and tips on how you can optimize source graphic files for localization in technical communications.

Humans recognize images better than text. Text and image excite different parts of the brain. A good image aids the memory to visualize. It is easier to depict a complex process or technical procedure using a flowchart or detailed graphic. Good technical authors will include graphics in their communication materials and these graphics will need to be localized for global distribution. One basic rule is to create graphics with localization in mind.

Seven Considerations for Developing and Localizing Graphics

1. Graphic Preparation

Technical manuals and documents contain many complex graphics and those graphics may require the insertion of translated text to complete the illustration. Provision of these original graphics is very important. Graphics such as flowcharts and diagrams may have been obtained from a variety of sources within an organization or from previous documents. Over time, it is quite common for the original source files to be untraceable. Graphic files may have been converted to .jpg or .tif format and simply inserted into the document. This can cause challenges in the localization process as the graphics then cannot be edited.

Providing access to text layers in the original graphic file format will increase cost savings and time required. For example, in order to localize a .gif or .jpg file, the original Photoshop (.psd) or Adobe Illustrator source file is needed along with overall style guides that were used to create the original graphic: color information, preferred fonts, design specifications and export or save settings.

If the original graphic is not available and you have to supply a non-editable file, then your language service provider (LSP) can create a new text box; overlay it onto the original graphic thereby covering the original text. This is possible if the original text is on a white or solid background; however, more difficult if the background is not uniform, such as the gradient background in the illustration shown:

gradient example

Challenges with graphics in the source language files will be multiplied by the number of languages being translated into for the project.

2. Text Expansion

When you translate from English into another language, the translated text will take up more space. Most languages are longer than English by about 15% and languages such as Russian can be up to 40% longer. Once the text in the graphic is translated, text expansion can cause problems with the original layout of the graphic.

SOURCE CONTENT

source content example

FRENCH TRANSLATION CAUSES TEXT EXPANSION

frech translation example

Minimize issues by using numbered call-outs instead and allowing for text expansion in the source.

call-outs example

CALL-OUTS CAN PREVENT PROBLEMS WITH TEXT EXPANSION

3. Use of CAT tools

Localization of graphics is usually carried out with the use of computer assisted translation (CAT) tools, such as SDL Trados. There is software available that allows LSPs, like Welocalize, to automate the extraction and insertion of text from graphics created in some packages such as Illustrator or CorelDraw into .rtf format for use with this CAT tools. Other graphic formats may require a more manual labor intensive copy and paste approach.

Try to avoid any text in graphics in the first place and create the text in the main documentation itself. This ensures that the text will appear “in sequence” to the translator and also allows for the text to be incorporated more easily into Translation Memory (TM). If the text must be adjacent to graphic elements, try to position it in such a way that there is some horizontal space for text expansion. Ensure that the text is in a text box and that no hard returns are contained within the paragraph. When the TM tools analyze segments, the text is usually segmented at a logical break such as a hard return. As an example, inserting a hard return into a paragraph so that a long sentence description can fit into a narrow text box can negate the benefits of using CAT tools. It may also simply mean your LSP takes longer at the file preparation stage, having to spend time (and money) deleting the hard returns ready for the TM analysis.

4. Build Terminology Glossaries and Translation Memories (TMs)

Building glossaries and TMs means your team of translators will become familiar with products and standard documents and manuals, which is important when localizing technical publications. Using a consistent team will mean you will establish a library of graphics that can be quickly and efficiently localized.

5. Provide a List of Graphics

When supplying source files to your LSP, provide a list of all graphics along with their respective formats and information relating to each graphic. For example, which graphics do not have translatable text, graphics that do include text and where the respective pages and files can be located.

6. Localizing Screenshots

If you pictorially display screenshots as graphics, localized versions of the software must be made available so new screenshots can be taken. These are especially important as a source of reference for the translator to ensure exactly the correct terms used in the software are used in the translation.

7. Keep Graphics Culturally Generic

Take into consideration the culture or religion of the country. Each culture has different value systems, varying beliefs and interpretations of non-verbal communication. For example, in China the color red and the number eight are considered lucky. In Japan, black and the numbers four and nine are considered unlucky.

Elaine Abbott and Sue Rigby are both Senior DTP Consultants at Welocalize and are based in the UK.

Elaine.abbott@welocalize.com

Sue.rigby@welocalize.com

 

Get Your Content Read More with These Five Tips

By Louise Law

488641585With more than 27 million pieces of content shared each day, the cliche “content is king” has never been more true. I recently wrote an article for Communicator MagazineThe Ever-Changing Face of Content,” which talks about the massive growth of the online consumer and their ferocious appetite for great content in their own language. You can download the article by clicking on Communicator 2014 Autumn Article by Louise Law – Global Content.

We, as content marketers, have our work cut out for us to meet these demands. Here are five tips to get people to pay more attention to your content:

  1. Use visual content. Posts with videos attract three times more inbound links than plain text posts (source: Moz.com). With 85% of the US audience watching videos online, putting multimedia in your content makes sense. Content marketers could learn lessons from the recent vlogger phenomenon that’s sweeping YouTube. Vloggers have serious influence on their target audience. Their influence exceeds that of Justin Beiber, Rihanna and One Direction. Vloggers with high numbers of fans, followers and channel subscribers can earn thousands for mentioning products in their online video diaries and tutorials to their millions of fans. They work hard at keeping their content real, fresh and interact regularly with their fans.
  2. Keep tweets shorts. Yes, even shorter than 140 characters. According to Twitter best practice research by Buddy Media, the ideal length of a tweet is 100 characters. Remember to include @ mentions and schedule tweets if your schedule is crazy. Don’t fully automate though – keep interacting.
  3. Facebook Content. Brands should post Facebook content on a Wednesday and Sunday. Plus, 40 characters or less is the ideal length of a Facebook post, according to Jeff Bullas’ study of retail brands on Facebook. The 40 character post receives 86% higher engagement than others. Keep fans engaged by driving them to your website with links to web content in your posts.
  4. The ideal length of a headline is six words (source: KISSmetrics). That can be tough for us content creators; however, research states that we don’t only scan body copy, we also scan headlines. If you can say it in six words, great. If not, make sure the first and last three words matter. Without a good headline, no one will read your content. The best meta-description length is 150 to 160 characters. Search engines generally truncate any description longer than 160 characters.
  5. What’s the right blog length? It’s a myth that short is best for blogs. The ideal length of a blog is seven minutes of average reading time, which is about 1,600 words (source: medium.com). The longer you blog and word count, the more back-links you’ll get. More back-links means better SEO, which leads to more conversion and revenue. Length is not the only thing that matters. Your blog content must have substance, flow, style and post content often! If you use multimedia in your blogs – infographics, videos, images – word count becomes irrelevant anyway.

As a content-junkie,I’d love to hear your thoughts on content marketing! Email me at louise.law@welocalize.com.

Louise

 

 

Localizing Legacy Video Projects Best Practices

By Hugh Barford

In the third of a series on Best Practices in Localizing Audio and Video, Hugh looks at the secrets to successfully localizing legacy video content.

451595091When we talk about localizing video content, there are two kinds of typical scenarios: creating source video content with localization in mind and legacy video projects using content created previously (often years previously) and it now needs to be localized.

In my last blog, Creating Source Video with Localization in Mind, I discussed scenario one. In this blog, I’d like to share some tips on localizing legacy video content.

Creating video content with localization in mind is obviously the ideal scenario. If you plan a video with localization in mind, the production process will be that much smoother and the final deliverable much more effective. Quite often, we are asked to localize video content that has previously been created. In this scenario, you work with what you’ve got and in our experience the following best practices will give you the best chance of delivering top-quality localized audio.

Translation Fit

By our experience, 95% of problems with both voice-over and subtitling can be avoided if the translated scripts match the timing restrictions of the source (typically English) video. Most languages expand. A sentence in Spanish may have 10-15% more words than the corresponding English. A Russian sentence may have the same number of words; however, 20% more characters than the English. If you translate word-for-word, chances are the translations will overrun your video. Then you are faced with speeding up the audio, stretching the video, or both. There’s only so much of either you can do before you lose control of quality. The answer is to utilize creative translations that fit the timing restrictions, yet stay true to the meaning and message of the original.

Original Sources

Obtain the high-resolution project files including the video, audio track, music track, sound effects track, from the producers of the original video. It is so much easier to work with high-resolution source files. Bear in mind that localizing low-resolution video can impair the quality of the end-product.

Voice-Over Considerations

The same considerations apply as for source video localization. Voice-over is not necessarily that much more expensive than subtitles. As we previously recommended, consider using ‘UN-style’ voice-over where the source English audio is playing quietly behind the target-language audio. This format of voice-over requires only a rough synchronization. Utilize lip-syncing for broadcast-quality only, as it is very time consuming. You can also double-up your talent for multiple character videos to save time and money.

Subtitling for Legacy Videos

Ensure the video is suitable even to consider subtitles. Those heavy with graphics and on-screen text may not be best for subtitling. Discuss and confirm with your localization vendor the layout of the subtitles, including number of lines and characters per subtitle, and sign off on the translations.

Video is an incredibly powerful tool for communicating a global brand. If we collaborate in making the right decisions about these key factors, then localized video can create real value for global organizations and their consumer.

Hugh
Hugh@hbvstudios.com

Hugh_headshotHugh Barford is Managing and Creative Director of HBV Studios – a production and consultancy house specializing in multi-language audio and video content for the localization, e-learning and digital marketing industries. HBV is one of Welocalize’s vendors for multimedia services. Hugh began his career in the industry as Senior Audio Director with Irish localization company Transware, before opening HBV Studios in 2008. Hugh is a professional voice talent himself, whose most recent projects included voicing Standard Chartered Bank’s global TV commercial campaign, and TV and documentary work for HBO and BBC.

Secrets to Successfully Creating Source Video Content with Localization in Mind

by Hugh Barford

In the second of a series Best Practices in Localizing Audio and Video, Hugh looks at the secrets to successfully creating source video content with localization in mind.

188143193Ah, the joys of localizing video. Nothing gives us more pleasure than delivering to a client a really tightly-localized video that looks and feels as good as the original – and yet, there is no process more strewn with potential pitfalls. In this blog, I want to highlight those pitfalls and offer the solutions that will result in a top-quality deliverable, every time.

To begin with, are we talking about creating source video content with a view to localizing it, or are we talking about ‘legacy’ video projects, video that was created previously (often years previously) and now needs to be localized?

Of the two, the former is obviously the ideal scenario. If you plan a video with localization in mind, the production process will be that much smoother and the final deliverable much more effective.

What does this mean in practice for creating source video content with localization in mind? When a client approaches us for production of an English video to be localized into multiple languages, we storyboard the video and for localization, consider the following key issues:

  • Ensure the English voice-over on the video isn’t too fast, or edited too tightly. This can cause issues when it comes to integrating the target language audio into the video. Consider adding extra frames to the video at strategic points, to facilitate stretching of the video if it is needed.
  • Restrict the number of ‘talking heads’, those characters talking to camera. Multiple talking heads equals multiple target-language voice talents equals escalating costs. If the video requires multiple voices, consider casting target-language talents to ‘double-up’ on characters.

Voice-over or subtitle?

Voice-over is a much more engaging way to localize a video than subtitle, and not necessarily that much more expensive. Consider using ‘UN-style’ voice-over. For example, source English audio playing quietly behind the target-language audio requires only a rough synchronization. Lip-syncing is for broadcast-quality only! Believe me, I lip-sync for film and TV and it’s incredibly time-consuming.

If subtitling is required, consider designing the video so that there is space for subtitles. Subtitles don’t work very well with videos that are choc-full of graphics. The subtitles can mask on-screen graphics and there can be too much for the human eye to take in.

On-screen text (OST)

If OST is to be used, use sparingly. Avoid animated OST as this looks good and zippy on the original; however, it can be very time-consuming to localize. Create OST in a way that is easy to localize. For example, if the OST is created in Motion or After Effects, then passing on these files to a vendor means copying and pasting the translations into the Motion or After Effects files is a simple process.

Finally, be sure to retain all source files used in the creation of the video. They can be used in the localization process.

In my next blog, I’ll be looking at scenario two: Localizing Legacy Video Content.

Hugh
Hugh@hbvstudios.com

Hugh_headshotHugh Barford is Managing and Creative Director of HBV Studios – a production and consultancy house specializing in multi-language audio and video content for the localization, e-learning and digital marketing industries. HBV is one of Welocalize’s vendors for multimedia services. Hugh began his career in the industry as Senior Audio Director with Irish localization company Transware, before opening HBV Studios in 2008. Hugh is a professional voice talent himself, whose most recent projects included voicing Standard Chartered Bank’s global TV commercial campaign, and TV and documentary work for HBO and BBC.

Top 10 Tips to Successfully Translate and Localize Multimedia Learning Content

tom gannon

The convergence of such factors as mobile technology, Web 2.0 breakthroughs in social networking, easy to use content creation tools such as Articulate Storyline, fast wireless and sophisticated learning management solutions has created the consumer expectation that learning content will be informative, engaging, interactive, seamlessly translated and fully localized.

Fundamentally, people learn better in their native tongue and when content is culturally relevant. A good rule of thumb is to create multimedia content and graphics with localization in mind. You’ll save money and get better results if localization is part of the plan right from the start.

Having worked with major global companies in this space for years, I fully understand the challenges and complexities associated with the seamless delivery of localized multimedia and learning content. Here are 10 of the most common pieces of advice I find myself giving to our clients:

  1. Create content that is universal and can be used across all target markets. This avoids the requirement to source and integrate costly market specific content such as images and copy.
  2. If the source is created in English, assume that the text and audio will generally expand when translated. Most languages are longer than English by about 15% (languages such as Russian take up to 40% more space). This should be taken into account when storyboarding, developing and integrating components such as text boxes, graphics and audio.
  3. Before you start localization, ensure that all content is final. Failure to provide clean, final content can be costly.
  4. When recording the source audio, allow extra time for voice over language expansion through the use of pauses or a deliberately slower speaking pace. This will create space in a video to accommodate the longer localized audio.
  5. If music is integrated with spoken audio, ensure that the style of music is appropriate and will adapt seamlessly to support an expanded localized voice over track. The use of music that supports the easy addition of loops is recommended.
  6. Take care in the source when syncing an audio cue to a word. In the localized content, the word order may change, requiring costly re-creation of an animation to match the sync word. Consider syncing to a sentence or paragraph.
  7. Use accurately timed audio scripts to keep voice over language expansion to a minimum. During translation, the timings help create translator awareness of the time limits available for the localized audio. If the translation is longer than the source, the voice artist can compensate with increased pace during the recording process. Failing this, there are post recording solutions available, such as the stretching of static scenes or the use of additional video edits to add cuts and make time.
  8. Choose fonts carefully – in graphics, animations and subtitles. Consider the target languages for localization and the associated character sets. Alternative fonts may need to be considered for some target languages, and it is best to consider this at the content development stage.
  9. If using video subtitling, the source video should be prepared with the lower third of the screen free. This will accommodate the subtitles. The style of the subtitle in terms of font, layout and colour should be agreed at the outset.
  10. Be careful when integrating screenshots of software or product content in a source video. You’ll need to replace with the localized versions. Equally, avoid the use of culturally specific graphics or images, as these may require expensive rework when being localized.

Good luck and let us know if we can help you in localizing your learning content.

Tom

Welocalize will be at Stand 94 at the Learning Technologies 2014 event in London, 28-30 January 2014.