Latest research will tell you that 95% of consumers don’t like or trust internet ads, which makes TV advertising look like a positively welcome addition to our lives. Therefore, providing online content that is both engaging and valuable can be a great marketing tool, if done correctly. Effective content marketing is an art in itself and can be tricky enough in your own native language. If you decide to take your content global however, there are even more things to consider.
Do I really need to go multilingual?
English remains the single most widely used language online. It can serve as a useful bridging language and there are even signs that “pidgin” versions such as Hinglish (a blend of Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and English) and Singlish (Singaporean English) are becoming
However, English still only represents around a quarter of total usage and other languages are catching up fast. Where the use of English online grew by 301% between 2000 and 2011, Arabic grew by a massive 2,501%, Chinese by 1,478% and Portuguese by 990%. Furthermore, a Eurobarometer study of internet users across the EU found that 48% would use English language websites at least occasionally but 90% preferred to access sites in their own language. You might not need to go multilingual, but you could be missing out on potential audiences and customers if you don’t.
Research your market
As with any other significant investment, thorough market research is essential. Before any kind of marketing campaign starts, it’s essential to see if your product will have a genuine cross-cultural appeal. Even if you think it does, it’s better to target one or two markets properly than using a “spray and pray” approach.
Adapt your content
Ever tried using a free online translation program to translate some copy, and then translated that back into English? While it probably gets it mostly right, the restored text is almost certain to be stilted, jerky and grammatically questionable in parts. Automatic translation has its place. It’s great for
getting the gist of what something says, but you’ll want your translated content to be engaging and correct. That’s when working with native speaking translators to professionally translate or even transcreate (re-writing
your content in another language to suit your target market) is really useful.
Create new keywords
When it comes to your keywords, it’s even more important to use the right localised terms. One notable mistranslation used by a French retailer led customers to believe it sold “Stranger wine”, when we assume the phrase “Foreign wine” was intended: the French word étranger can mean both foreign and stranger in English. You can imagine which term is more useful for online searches! Therefore, don’t ditch your carefully researched English language keywords, but brainstorm alternatives with a native speaker and run everything through keyword
tools to gauge their effectiveness.
Simplify content management
Systems such as Drupal, Joomla and WordPress can help take some of the hassle out of adapting your content as they all support multiple languages. In Drupal, for example, enabling the Locale core module allows you to present the interface in another language. This can be great if you have
native speakers managing your content but you can also present translated content without having to alter the interface at all. Easy.
*Photo credits: Aysezgicmeli / Shutterstock.com