Are you planning to enter new markets and take your business global, but you are not sure where to start? Then you need a sound Localization Strategy!
In this blog, we will show you what a successful Localization Strategy looks like and introduce you to the main pillars that will determine your businessâ€™ success in new markets.
What Is Localization Strategy?
A Localization Strategy is an approach your business adopts when you are introducing your product or service to new countries and markets. Itâ€™s a comprehensive plan that addresses the target marketâ€™s language and cultural peculiarities and adapts your entire brand, including your services/products, platforms, offerings, and any marketing message. What makes this approach powerful is that it allows your business to blend in and melt into the new culture while standing out among local competitors.
The impact of a localization strategy is best understood by the fact that it reshapes and customizes every step of the userâ€™s journey, from the moment new consumers discover your brand to the moment they place their trust in you and take an action to buy what you are offering them.
More specifically, a successful Localization Strategy will:
- Make it a lot easier for you to enter new markets. Think about all the complex hurdles you could encounter from cultural interpretations to legal and logistical issues. Localization can help you avoid cultural, linguistic, technical, and regulatory faux pas that can undermine your credibility.
- Increase trust and customer satisfaction and show your new audience that you understand their needs by offering support, payment methods, and content localized for their own preferences.
Letâ€™s take Coca-Cola as an example. The soda drink has become something of a global phenomenon due to effective localization strategies. With a global revenue of around 33.01 billion U.S. dollars,1 Coca-Cola has continually reinvented itself by developing localized marketing campaigns. For example, think about the â€œShare Campaignâ€ where people could purchase a bottle and â€œShare a Coke with Johnâ€, or â€œShare a Coke with Sarahâ€.
When Coca-Cola wanted to launch similar marketing campaigns in China, their clever play on drinking sodas as a social activity was challenged. In China, addressing a person by their first name could be construed as disrespectful. Since surnames donâ€™t carry that personal intent Coca Cola had developed, they replaced first names with phrases such as â€œclose friendâ€ and â€œclassmateâ€.2
This example shows that not only language but local preferences and customs must be respected. Wondering how to get it done? Letâ€™s look more closely at the pillar of an effective localization strategy.
Pro Tip! The Localization Strategy, together with Internationalization, is part of the Globalization Process. Learn more about what Globalization involves and what Localizationâ€™s place is in it, in our blog Localization, Globalization And Internationalization: The What, The Why, And The How
Localization Strategy: Key Tips To Keep In Mind
Understand Your Target Audience
What Coca-Colaâ€™s strategy clearly indicates is that knowing and understanding your audience is a crucial first step in any Localization Strategy. Only this way, will you be able to develop a plan that will take all cultural variations into account and make a creative connection.
This means you should apply consumer-focused research. You can do this in various ways. You could launch a test campaign for your target audience or apply the more conventional multilingual surveys optimized through linguistic coding.
You will need to determine how strong your chances are of establishing yourself in this market and what methods would prove to be most effective. And the best way to do this is by working with local experts so you can get accurate feedback based on professional as well as local experience. They will help you answer the following questions:
- Which brands are major competitors?
- What is the buying behavior in this country?
- Is there a demand for your product?
- What are the cultural differences that should be taken into account?
Keep Localization In Mind Every Step Of The Way
To build a solid localization strategy, you will need to understand that localization should be planned early on. This will not only boost the overall quality of the localization but also keep costs down. Here are some top tips!
- Always create a glossary and a style guide. The glossary includes a list of terminology and approved translations. A style guide includes stylistic preferences that help maintain your brand voice.
- Scope your project and identify which content types will require translation. This can of course include textual content, but depending on your product, this may also include images, videos, audio, and so on.
- Speaking of scoping your project, you should also apply some content strategy in deciding which content to translate first. What will help you achieve your goals more quickly and efficiently? For example, you can prioritize content that will work across several or all of the markets you intend to target.
- In order to save some time or money, avoid unnecessary cultural references in your content. These will take a lot longer to localize since an equally effective substitute must be found in the target language. We say unnecessary because some cultural flavor can be part of a great marketing strategy.
Human Translation? Machine Translation? Which Way To Go?
You may have read about how Machine Translation (MT) is on its way to achieving human parity. And while progress is certainly being made, MT is not ready to handle the majority of translation projects. So, you may be wondering when you can safely choose MT as a service.
Think about it this way. While implementing your localization strategy, there are multiple content types that should be subject to translation, from technical content (that may or may not include complex terminology) or marketing content that needs to engage people and lead to action.
While MT isnâ€™t exactly the ideal way to go for both content, it may work better for technical content than marketing contentâ€¦ to some extent. In such a case, it could benefit from Machine Translation Post Editing (MTPE).
With MTPE, the content is run through the MT Engine, but then a skilled Post-Editor is assigned the task of reviewing and editing the content. Letâ€™s look at the eCommerce industry as an example. Think about product description, client reviews, and customer support. These content types require a quality translation, but also need the turnaround to be as quick as possible, and MTPE will deliver that combination.
But neither Machine Translation nor Machine Translation Post-Editing can work for your marketing content. The raw MT output will almost certainly need a lot of work to meet the required standards. In this case, MTPE might take even more time than a human translation, considering all the edits that will need to be made. So, human translation is your best option in this case.
Still not quite sure whether to go for human translation or machine translation? Check out the graph below!
Pro Tip! We discussed whether MT or human translation would be preferable, but how do you know which localization service will suit you best when developing a localization marketing strategy? Learn more about this in our blogs Transcreation: When You Should Go For it And When You Should NOT! And What Is Transcreation And How Is It Best Managed?
Desktop Publishing: The Way To Create A Visually Potent Product
Desktop Publishing is the process of fitting the translated content into the design perfectly. Any graphics, text, and images should fit together in harmony, and do so in a way that makes an impact on the target market. In order for this to go down without a hitch, DTP Experts will leverage specialized tools, such as Adobe InDesign, to streamline the DTP Process.
Hereâ€™s how the DTP process usually go:
- Extracting the content and preparing the source files
- Making sure that the translated content fits into the design
- Ensuring that local requirements and cultural sensitivities are respected
- Solving complex language issues such as optimizing the design for RTL languages and preventing text expansion errors.
Pro Tip! There is a lot more to learn about DTP! Read all about it in our blog Multilingual Desktop Publishing (DTP): Go Global With The Right Design
Donâ€™t Forget About International SEO
You will likely have applied SEO strategies to your source content. And, of course, these strategies will need to be applied to your target content as well. Keyword localization focuses on finding the perfect keyword with the highest performance and impact in the target language. More specifically, this involves creating a termbase with the following keywords:
- Product keywords, which are words related to your brand, service, or product
- Keywords that you have chosen to express your business and so are uniquely linked to your brand identity
- Informational keywords that describe the features of your services and products
- Transactional and navigational keywords that are used to optimize the buyerâ€™s journey
Since getting the right keyword is so crucial, it is paramount that you do not run them through an MT engine, and hire human translators to find the best option for you.
Pro tip! Learn more about the ins and outs of International SEO in our blog: How To Apply International SEO To Your Multilingual Web Content
Understand The Value Of Expertise And Translation Tools!
A successful Localization Strategy is not complete without a stellar team to get the job done to satisfaction. So, when you are on the lookout for an LSP that can help you go global, there are some important points you will need to keep in mind. Make sure you pay attention to the following!
- They hire native, in-country linguists that possess subject-matter expertise. Translators who are specialized in a specific industry will understand it well enough to make informed and creative translation decisions.
- Beyond linguistic expertise, the LSP should also boast technical authority. While the text is important, authentic content wonâ€™t matter much if it is undermined by a buggy UI. The LSP you hire will need skilled localization engineers to make sure any technical issues are resolved.
- A high-end LSP will leverage translation and localization technologies to optimize and streamline the localization process. This involves a Translation Management System and translation CAT Tools. These CAT Tools are further optimized with a Translation Memory that will help maximize the terminology management and save clients money in the long run.
- Lastly, the LSP should apply rigorous Quality Assurance and testing to make sure that the product is linguistically, functionally, and visually optimized.
A successful Localization Strategy involves careful understanding of the target audience, careful planning, and quality localization services that adapt the product for a foreign market. When done right, it will boost customer experience, scale up your international content marketing strategies, and help clients localize their products for global audiences.
That is why at Laoret, we hire in-country, native professionals who possess targeted subject matter expertise. We leverage the latest translation technologies to ensure translation quality as well as speed and apply rigorous QA on every level. Contact us and get a free quote for your next localization project and take the first step in developing a localization business strategy!