Content localization is quickly becoming one of the hottest topics among marketers and professionals looking to expand their business’s global footprint. Nearly 90% of all major global companies say they are pursuing localization marketing.
With more business and experiences happening online, brands are able to engage and connect with consumers more globally than ever before. Content localization is being embraced as a means to personalize content regionally, so that brands can ensure their messages resonate with diverse audiences.
Content localization ranges from transcreation (translating copy word for word) to even tweaking your company’s name or products so that they make sense to local audiences. Content localization is most often used by businesses which tailor their content and event experiences for global brand awareness. However, it’s also being applied internally at companies to ensure communication and human resource content is relatable to employees based in different regions.
What is content localization?
Content localization is the process of adapting or recreating your company’s existing content in order to make it more understandable and relatable to a specific region. This applies to website content, ad campaigns and HR documents alike.
It takes into consideration any cultural differences, language barriers, preferences and other elements which are relevant to the audience at hand. Localizing content is vital when it comes to a company understanding and serving its target audience’s unique needs. To sum it up, it’s taking into account how a company speaks the language of an audience in a specific region and how they make them feel connected to the brand.
Why is content localization so important?
A one-size-fits-all approach to marketing rarely works for businesses anymore. Content localization is proven to help businesses customize their communication and experiences. When done well, businesses will engage global audiences more effectively, gain a competitive advantage over those who are using generic messaging and tap into new markets for additional revenue.
Fueling increased engagement
Business leaders who keep regional discrepancies top-of-mind and localize their content can expect to see higher conversion or inquiry rates and lower bounce rates. Localized content has higher engagement rates than non-localized content because it more accurately speaks to a target audience, enabling them to understand both the context and the message more easily.
Consumers expect content they’re reading and ads they’re receiving to be locally relevant. It might sound silly, but calling Lays “potato chips” in England, rather than “crisps” – as they’re called locally – can have an impact. There are countless examples like this, which brands must be aware of to resonate with consumers in different markets.
This also comes into play not just with the content itself, but how it’s distributed. If content produced by an American business is captioned for example and does not display the text in British English, consumers are likely to feel more distanced from your brand and its offerings. Verbit’s captioning can accommodate these regional nuances to help brands engage more effectively with consumers in different regions and build authentic connections with them.
Offering competitive advantage
Localizing your content also serves as a proven way to optimize your online presence. Localization can increase search traffic by 47%, boost website visits by 70% and increase conversion rates by 20%. Why? The vast majority of buyers search for things online in their native language. A company’s website is more likely to appear in search results if it is translated or transcreated into more than one language. Adapting your content for a specific region or audience solidifies success in new markets as the company expands.
It’s also worth noting in this case that transcreation is not the same thing as translation. Transcreation literally recreates copy in a different language as opposed to it being translated word for word. Translated content speaks directly to the audience in their native language and establishes businesses as a viable competitor in a foreign country. Companies like Verbit can also work with businesses to successfully translate their content by using human professional translators who can pick up on nuances, which are often missed by automatic translation services alone.
Avoiding brand harm
Localization also often helps businesses avoid blunders that may hurt their brand or confuse audience members in different regions. This can occur when it comes to cultural differences or mistranslations. A notorious faux pas in the world of content localization was KFC’s failure to fact check their slogan’s exact meaning in China, resulting in ‘finger-lickin’ good’ being translated literally in Chinese as “biting your fingers off.”
Content localization blunders don’t always revolve around translation though. Diaper company, Pampers, did not consider the cultural differences between the U.S. and Japan when they placed pictures of storks on their diapers. It wasn’t taken into consideration that storks delivering babies was culturally specific to the U.S. Japanese parents didn’t understand why these birds were printed all over their babies’ diapers. Apparently babies in Japan are said to be delivered to families on a giant floating peach.
In contrast, in a Chinese content localization success story, Coca Cola famously renamed their signature drink Kekoukele, which means “tasty fun” in Chinese. This more accurately personified the brand in China than the original name of Coca Cola which literally translates to “bite the wax tadpole”.
Reaching new markets
Research shows that 55% of global consumers would only purchase from websites that provide product information in their own language. Even among those proficient in English, 65% prefer to read content in their local language. Therefore, in order for a business to widen its market to an international audience, translations must be offered.
Whether it’s pure translation or localization, it’s also important to be aware of additional nuances that may affect your ad formatting and graphics as well. While most Western countries read from left to right, many Asian and Middle Eastern countries read from right to left or even top to bottom. Subtle differences like this should affect how a brand designs marketing materials. For example, placements of logos or words on the left side of your materials make sense for a U.S. targeting but not for other countries.
What does content localization look like internally at global companies?
Localizing content doesn’t just apply to external marketing initiatives. Localizing internal content for employees is also vital in crafting effective communication within a company. It is no longer safe to assume that the default company language is English, even if corporate content is in English. Even if every online meeting or conference call is in English, that doesn’t mean that employees all over the world work in that language.
A company can facilitate effective communication by offering materials such as contracts, instruction videos and employee training sessions in the appropriate languages. Further, several countries’ labor laws often require HR materials to be translated into the native language of the region. Failure to do so may not only go against a country’s labor laws but result in employees feeling alienated or disconnected from the corporate culture.
Enlisting a fully-formed global marketing strategy
While more business leaders continue to invest in localization efforts, the impact of tools like translation and captioning should not be downplayed.
With more than 80% of consumer internet traffic coming from videos, ensuring your brands’ videos support different audience needs aside from just regionally is key. To capture an international audience’s attention and make your content more inclusive, captioning can be highly beneficial. Verbit serves as an essential partner to global businesses who are interested in using accurate captioning to make their video content more accessible to diverse audiences. Verbit’s captioning helps to accommodate the needs of viewers in any region who are Deaf or hard of hearing, as well as account for the global trend of videos being viewed silently most of the time.
Content localization as a best practice
Regional differences should not be a barrier to business. On the contrary, focusing on localizing your content and brand messaging should be seen as an opportunity to reach people closer to home and appeal to them. Whether it’s fine-tuning internal training videos for employees to have UK spelling or using regional phrases that appeal to consumers in Ireland, taking the time to make these small edits will have a massive impact on your international reach.
Whether it be for brand awareness, international marketing or HR personnel resources, content localization must become a key strategy enlisted by your business to expand its impact and create content that engages diverse consumers.
Verbit serves as an essential partner in assisting businesses with content localization, captioning and translation to help them reach the greatest audiences possible. Learn more about Verbit’s solutions and reach out so we can help your brand expand its footprint today.