Translation Decisions Now Depend on Brand Impact

By Louise Law

This post is an abridged version of my article in Spring 2014 Communicator Journal. [ddownload id=”14921″ text=”Read Now!” style=”link”]

466717015At this time of year, I’m starting to think about summer holidays and how to get some sunshine after the winter months. I look on the travel and hotel sites, read some of the online reviews because they contribute A LOT to my decision making process. Same applies for Couple of negative comments in the review section can stop me putting a TV into my e-shopping basket.

As online consumers, most of us read user-generated content (UGC) and take it into consideration when making purchases and judgments about goods and services. For global digital brands, having UGC understood by all users in their native language is very important to market growth strategies and revenues. In order to really reach the online global consumer, content must be translated to get full value.

As you evaluate the translation requirements for your UGC, you need to ask:

  1. How good does the quality of the translation have to be?
  2. Does it have to be linguistically and culturally perfect or simply understandable?
  3. What is the brand impact?

As long as I can understand the review, that’s ok for me. I don’t think anything less of the online brand because I know that the review has been written by a ‘user’.  I’m happy just to get the gist. For UGC, brands understand speed matters most. Caution – this does not apply to all content. For high brand value content like a safety training video or point of sale display, high quality will be of utmost importance.

Return on content is a serious buzz topic in the localization and translation industry. It applies to how global organizations look at their content and decide on the value. Value is defined by how it helps the business meet their goals and objectives. They then set translation and quality levels, depending on how valuable the content is to the brand. Global organizations are willing to pay for quality and accuracy of tone and voice when the impact on the brand is paramount. Not all words need to be localized and translated in the same way.

Business objectives must be mapped to the overall localization strategy. Content like UGC may be best suited to a machine translation (MT) with light post-editing solution; whereas, a world-wide product commercial will have more human touch points and a more complex localization workflow. Different business objectives, different content types will affect the localization pricing model.

Here are some of the key factors creating a shift in the localization industry and generating discussion around return on content:

  • HUGE amounts of data! The web contains 3.8 billion indexed pages*. The demand for translation is increasing exponentially. Applying the “one-size-fits-all” approach to translation won’t work as localization budgets are not rising at the same rate.
  •  Mobile Devices: Content is so rapidly published and accessed, 24×7, due to the growth in mobile device usage. Content is published more rapidly but in smaller chunks. LSPs have to be agile and deliver multilingual content across multiple platforms.
  • Translation Automation: MT is coming to the forefront for decision makers. For successful globalization, MT has to be a natural consideration to address the quality, cost and time-to-market equation.
  • Metadata: Data about data. Our translation management systems (TMS) are producing more data and translators need more access to this metadata. Accumulative data from the TMS and translation memories can improve translation quality as sharing data will increase consistency and predictability of certain types of content.
  • Talent Management: Finding the right levels of talent and experience for the different types of content. Post-editing UGC can be carried out by less experienced translation talents as it requires a different skill to traditional translation.
  • Community: Translation is now a collaborative process now. Large, multimedia project will have large teams of translators, reviewers, voice talents, sound and audio engineers. LSP’s have to recruit, align and reward teams based on business outcome rather than translation and project requirements. We need to decide what crowd best suits the content, depending on what the overall impact is to the business.

It does not matter what industry you work in, to be a successful global brand today and in the future, you have to look at all content and decide how your translation decisions will IMPACT your brand. Global content has become a great digital asset. Knowing its potential impact to your brand and business goals will help you get the highest return on your investment and content assets.

Louise Law,

Welocalize CEO, Smith Yewell discusses Metadata, Talent Management and Community in his blog, “Top 3 Disruptive Trends for 2014”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: ISTC-Communicator_l10nSupplement-Spring2014-LL

*, September 2013