Is Your Web CMS Truly Global?

The web CMS industry is celebrating its 20th birthday this year, but not all challenges are resolved yet. And that includes internationalization, globalization, and localization of content.

In 2012, Common Sense Advisory surveyed more than 2,400 consumers in eight countries. It asked about the importance of users interacting with websites in their native language. It found that 42% of respondents said they never purchase products and services described in a foreign language. And 56.2% said the ability to find info in their own language is more important than price.

Websites without an effective global customer experience strategy can have high cart-abandonment rates, low customer satisfaction, and few page views. Common Sense Advisory polled 3,002 consumers in 10 countries in their native languages to see if companies can increase sales by localizing their products and websites. It found that if content is in a different language, visitors spend less time on the site and shy away from buying products.

Let's look at how WCM technology should be enabling you to be successful with globalization efforts. There are many features and functions that were designed specifically for managing global content in a web CMS. Make sure to differentiate among various pieces of terminology.

Globalization-The idea here is to ensure consistent brand experience globally (same content, many language variations). This is usually achieved with users being able to select their language through a language selector. One of the most crucial functions of your CMS is to provide you with the ability of a translation workflow.

Regionalization-If you operate in more than one country or region, you should probably think about your regional strategies to make sure you have content specific to that region, not just in the language spoken there.

Localization-This is about further personalizing content in a way that allows you to offer content that is pertinent to a specific location or country. Local news in Tampa, Fla., is different than local news in Manhattan. Moreover, there may be multiple language variations that you need for localized content. For example, local news in Basel, Switzerland, will need to be delivered in Swiss German, Swiss French, Italian, and, perhaps, English.

Your web CMS should be able to deal with translation workflows, as well as sophisticated rules of inheritance of content from parent to child sites/articles/components. It should also be able to work intelligently with many authors, editors, translators, and publishers.

Speaking more about CMS users, in highly distributed environments within many regions and locations, chances are you will need to be able to provide user interfaces in specific languages. After all, not every employee on the planet knows English. Additionally, publishing schedules may be different from one location to another. Can your CMS roll out these changes as needed for each region?

Along with globalization, you should consider personalization, as your choice of a CMS (and the way you implement it) can have an impact on your ability to personalize content. Other questions to ponder are as follows:

  • Who will be in charge of governance and guidelines for global and local teams?
  • Will you be using human or machine translation? Or both?
  • Which third-party vendors and service providers do you need to integrate your CMS with?
  • Who will be responsible for the quality of your ?content as well as check for cultural sensitivities and ?linguistic accuracy? Remember that IKEA desk called Fartful? If you speak Swedish, you know it translates as "speedy." But that's probably not what you thought.

Global content management is a matter of survival for the majority of modern organizations. Global brands are looking to maximize their reach and revenue. It is not an easy task, but we can strive for those things-with the proper tools, processes, people, and technologies in place. 

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