More than 60% of people prefer to buy from websites in their own language. And Common Sense Advisory also reports that the majority of people will spend more money on a product if the information about that product is in their own language. So it's clearly beneficial to localize your website for each of your markets, but how can you reduce the time and cost involved?
1. Anoint a guru of localization. As with all large corporate-wide initiatives, you need have someone lead the charge--someone who owns localization across the company. Among other things, she should be keeping track of: the different markets for which you'll be creating localized content, the content streams that will need to be translated, the array of social media feeds, and the various product line offerings. In essence, anything that will go on any website needs to be tracked and given a priority ranking.
2. Put a process in place. Planning for localization begins when you start planning for a new product or a new line extension. By building localization into the process from the very beginning you will reduce time and effort later. This does not mean that you should start translating your early draft documents into 15 languages, but that you should be looking at your different markets and determining what sort of customization will need to occur in order to launch in each of those markets.
3. Optimize User Experience For Each Market. When you begin thinking about the websites themselves, you'll need to look at overall user experience, page layout, common usage patterns for the individual markets, local color preferences, and local image preferences. Be aware of how your design will be affected by languages that read right to left, and how languages that have longer words may need more space for navigation. If you're marketing to countries with slower internet speeds, you may need to have fewer images. And, your images should reflect local aesthetics. Also, if you don't plan to offer your entire product line in a particular country, cull your pictures accordingly.
4. Adjust Your Writing Style. Once you've determined the content you will localize, don't translate it word for word, but adjust it for the local market. For example, some markets are more formal than others, some customers expect highly detailed, fact-based product descriptions, while in other markets, you'd be better off with descriptions that are aspirational in nature.
5. Create a standard glossary. This will save a lot of time in the end, especially when it comes to translating technical terms and industry jargon. Each language should have a list of common terms and phrases to ensure consistency throughout all your product and consumer marketing, ensuring that customers see the same term on your website as appears on your tv ads, your brochures, and your product manuals.
6. Localize your SEO. Make sure your titles are translated and accurate, your headers are clear, and your ALT attributes are descriptive. Over time, look at your data through Google's country filter and tweak each site to improve your retention and conversion rates.
These tips should be looked at as a starting point. Localization is an ongoing process. Every new piece of content your marketing department generates needs to be examined for relevancy to each market and with an eye to adjusting it to provide the most value to those customers.
Dramatic Increase in International Visits to Washington D.C. Provides Huge Opportunity. Are You Ready?
RABI partners and our local D.C. team were pleased to attend the Destination D.C. marketing outlook 2015 event. Destination D.C. hosted more than 500 tourism, trade, and local business members for a look at how the tourism and convention business is set to grow in D. C. over the next few years.
We met Destination D.C.'s President and CEO, Elliott Ferguson, who stopped by our table at the event. Great speakers and sessions made the event fun and informative. Some of the fascinating facts that we learned include:
The takeaway from the event? Huge growth in international tourism, especially millennials, represents a major opportunity for savvy companies. Successful businesses should provide support at their events for participants for whom English is not their first language, and they should also localize their marketing materials and social media posts to reach potential visitors in their languages via the marketing media that their audience consumes most.
We can help you provide the best experience and outreach to your market. RABI offers a premier events solution to help plan and organize global events and international conferences and ensure seamless communication through advanced services and technologies. Services we offer include:
Visit redblueint.com/events.html for more information about our events solution and to download our case study, Simultaneous Interpretation: a Commercial Property Company.
Research shows that using pictures or videos in your social media posts, on your website, and in your emails dramatically increases your click throughs. In fact, Forrester reports that videos in emails increase click-throughs by an astounding 200-300%!
In order to get the most from your videos, localize them for all your major markets. Rather than relying on YouTube's built in subtitle service, apply a little advance planning and can create videos that captivate your audience all over the world.
For truly professional looking and sounding videos, hire a localization agency that will create a frame-by-frame transcript of your video. This will ensure that the voice-over starts and ends with the video, with no awkward gaps or overruns.
The agency should also have a roster of professional translators that will adapt your transcript so that it reads as if it were written in the local language, with the right terminology, local slang, etc. You should also ensure that you hire voice-over talents that are native speakers in the languages you want to localize into. Your videos need to sound like they were created by native speakers or you will lose credibility in the marketplace.
Finally, when it comes time to record the videos, be sure to have a monitor in the recording studio with you. The monitor should be a native speaker and able to tell if the voice-over talent inadvertently makes a mistake, allowing you to correct it in the moment. This will save you time and money, because you won't need to schedule another session for re-takes.
By hiring the proper professional talent, and taking the time to pace your transcript and adapt it to fit the local customs and marketplace, you'll create a video that will look and sound like it was created locally, and you will dramatically increase your international audience engagement.
For more specifics on how to achieve great video-voice overs, read our multilingual corporate video case study.
As we recently Tweeted, U.S. metropolitan area exports were up $36 billion dollars in 2014, reaching $1.14 trillion. Houston led the way with exports of $119 billion. The next four largest exporting cities were New York, LA, Seattle, and Detroit.(1) But what does this mean for you?
We think it shows that despite the strong dollar, U.S. goods are in high demand, and if you're not looking for opportunities to diversify globally, then you're missing out on potential revenue streams. If you're just getting started, you may want to download the commerce department's export guide. The book strives to answer any questions you may have about exporting.
Also just released at trade.gov, are the 2015 Top Market reports. These reports provide an assessment of future industry-specific export opportunities and an examination of the competitive landscape. Available free for 19 different industries, the reports include sector snapshots and detailed information for specific countries.
Once you've figured out where your industry is heading and what countries are your best bets, be sure to take the time to create a detailed marketing plan for how to enter foreign markets. Pay close attention to what each market's consumers want and talk up those features. Each market you examine may get excited about different aspects of your product, so it's good to do your homework. You may also want to tweak your offerings. For example, in some markets red is a lucky, and highly desired color, but in other markets it may not be popular at all. Just by doing even a little consumer preferences research, you'll increase your chance of success. Remember, it's better to make a good impression from the start, as it can be much harder and more costly to repair a reputation than to build it from scratch.
And finally, don't forget that part of your marketing plan needs to include localization of your marketing materials: videos, website, sales sheets, case studies, and your social media presence. Your overseas prospects are far more likely to buy from you if you market to them in their own language.
New D.C. Office
RABI has opened a new Washington D.C. office!
We are so excited to have a permanent space in the nation's capital. Our full range of services will continue to be offered to D.C. area businesses, with a particular focus on events management.
RABI has provided interpreters and technical equipment for conferences and events of all sizes across the U.S. for many years. We have experience working events that encompass multiple venues, and our extensive linguistic network means that we can easily accommodate last minute changes. We also provide localization services for marketing content and video production for product/brand marketing campaigns and event marketing.
For international vendors exhibiting at trade shows and conferences, we arrange conference booth services, negotiate sponsorships and event advertising, and coordinate transportation and shipping logistics. We can also help you with localizing your presentations and event literature.
The next time you're organizing a conference or plan to attend one, call RABI to help with your localization and interpretation needs.
Boston’s busiest tourist season is about to hit full swing. This year the hub is expecting tourists and convention attendees from all over the world, with the tourism board predicting we’ll top last year’s visits of more than 1.4 million people(1). More than 100,00 of those visitors hailed from Germany and another 100,000+ from China. With new non-stop flights from Shanghai, businesses can almost certainly expect an increase in Chinese visitors this summer—good news since the average Chinese tourist spends $5,400 per visit to the U.S., the highest spending average in the world(2).
Take advantage of the summer season and set yourself apart by marketing to tourists in their own languages. Place translated brochures in area hotels, use advertisements in local native language newspapers to reach tourists who are visiting their relatives, and put signage in major tourism languages in your retail locations. Based on last year’s tourist demographics, you may want to concentrate on German, Mandarin, French, Japanese, Italian, and Portuguese.
When planning your marketing strategy, don’t neglect social media. Tweet, post to Instagram, Facebook, and other social media channels in the major tourism and international business visitor languages. It’s a great way to offer discounts, create buzz, and raise your profile. You can be sure they will be checking those sites while they’re in town.
If your budget extends to it, it’s not too late to advertise your businesses in overseas markets, including Chinese social apps WeChat and Weibo, so that visitors already have your destination in mind when they arrive.
Localization companies like Red & Blue can help you craft and execute a marketing strategy to successfully target foreign visitors in their languages. We provide expert advice, on-site interpreters, high-quality translation, and localized promotional videos in all in-demand languages. Contact us to talk about how you can attract this summer’s influx of international tourists to your business.
1. Mass Office of Travel and Tourism, 2014 Report
If your company is like many, you have different people in charge of different marketing streams. A team for social media, one for print ads, one for online ads, and another couple for content creation. Or maybe you're at a smaller company where everyone is expected to contribute to blogs and Tweet out pithy statements. Whichever boat you're in, when pitching to international markets, you need to unite your teams and present a unified, localized front.
When companies split up their marketing streams, they can often keep on message for their domestic market where they have a well-defined target audience. But for companies looking to sell abroad or to niche communities within their domestic market, the messaging gets more difficult.
Transcreation is a buzz word used in the localization industry. Essentially, it means that content created in one language needs to be almost re-written for a different language and culture. The essence of the content remains the same, but rather than doing a one-to-one literal translation, the meaning within the content is rendered more faithfully and more meaningfully into the target language.
Companies with marketing stream silos often rely on one-off translations (or worse, poorly rendered machine translations) and don't give enough thought into how their messages are being received in the new language/culture. If your company markets to other cultures and or in other languages, be sure to have one person in charge of all messaging to that market, and consider enlisting a localization agency that can provide the relevant industry expertise. Voice-overs for podcasts or YouTube videos, scrutiny of video footage to ensure it resonates, localization of white papers to incorporate in-country terms, sales sheets that are redesigned to emphasize product attributes that are important to the local market are all aspects of how international marketing needs to step back and take a wider view of how to adapt the corporate messaging.
Localization, if properly done, requires a holistic view of your entire marketing engine, and often a bottom-up redesign of your messaging to ensure you are reaching the market in a way that reflects your company's mission and that optimizes the aspects of your products and services that the local market most values.
Have a Planful 2015
We're excited to kick-off the new year with some great simultaneous interpretation projects, which reminds us that now is a good time for everyone to take a look at their calendars for 2015 and start planning.
If you have conferences or seminars on your books for later this year, it's not too early to think about securing interpretation services. Also, consider whether you need materials translated for your attendees. This can include signage, presentations, hand-outs, brochures, advertisements, or even subtitles for videos you plan to share at your event.
Get a head start on 2015 by thinking about your speaker and attendee needs now.
Happy New Year!
Fun Facts to Share
This great video has some amazing facts that will astound you! Did you know:
Watch this cool video for more fun facts!
Chinese Companies Are Poised to Go West
Joel Backaler, author of “China Goes West: Everything You Need to Know About Chinese Companies Going Global discusses why so few Chinese companies have successfully taken their brands global and how that is going to change in the near future. Don't miss this insightful video about the coming power of Chinese brands. http://show.thoughtfulchina.com/china-goes-west-en.html