Master Lock: Multilingual Websites Make a Difference

Aug 27, 2018

Article ImageCompany: The Master Lock Co.

In the U.S., Master Lock is a household name. We’ve all had a padlock with that familiar brand’s logo on it. Harry Soref founded the company in 1921, just a few years before the first padlock was invented. Today, it calls itself the largest global manufacturer of padlocks and is continuing to expand its global brand.



Business Challenge

Although Master Lock has done a majority of its business within the U.S., its market was growing in Europe, Latin America, and Japan. Similar to most global brands, Master Lock found that if it wanted to continue growing its market share internationally, it needed to start catering to non-English speakers on the web. And the more the brand grows, the more complex that task becomes. The company needed a partner that could help it translate and localize massive amounts of web content on an ongoing basis.


Vendor of Choice: MotionPoint

MotionPoint bills itself as the only turnkey solution for multilingual websites. According to its website, it “solves the operational complexity and cost of website localization.” How does it do that? MotionPoint says its “technology leverages the code and content of your website, enabling us to translate, deploy, and continuously operate multilingual versions.”



The Problem In-Depth

In 2021, just a few short years away, Master Lock will have been in business for a century. When the company started out, the internet was still in the distant future—and so were websites, SEO, digital marketing, and all the other concerns that businesses face in the digital age. But like so many other brands, Master Lock has found that the web is opening new markets for its tried and true products. With those markets, there are new language and localization requirements.


But it’s not just international markets that present new language requirements. Depending on what part of the country you live in, you’re probably already used to seeing signs in public places translated into Spanish or French (or both). Master Lock was finding that when doing business in the U.S., it was increasingly necessary to have a Spanish-language site for the growing U.S. Latino market. And that’s where it would eventually begin its translation projects.

It was more than 10 years ago that Master Lock first started looking for a vendor to help it tackle the challenge of multilingual websites. Marti Gahlman, director of digital strategy and web services at The Master Lock Co., says the company has thousands of product listings on its sites, which don’t lend themselves to manual translation. So his team was in search of an automated solution. He adds that it needed to be quick to update. Master Lock is always launching new products and churning old products, meaning the product listings on its site are in a nearly constant state of flux. And with a lean team handling its website, Master Lock “needed a turnkey solution.”


The Solution

As “the only turnkey solution for multilingual websites,” MotionPoint was ready to jump in with both feet and help Master Lock on its quest to become a global powerhouse. And that’s exactly where Master Lock turned when it was looking to translate its site for the first time.

According to Craig Witt, EVP of global sales, marketing, and go-to-market at MotionPoint, his company’s technology focuses on a customer’s origin site, automatically detects changes, and then queues up its text, videos, and other content for translation. Witt adds, “Customers focus on their origin website[,] … spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to create it, and their challenge is to translate their origin site.”

Once MotionPoint’s platform has detected translation work to be done, it reaches out to a network of language service providers. “We rely on them to have the global outreach and find the linguists to do the work,” says Witt. The human touch is a big part of what MotionPoint does, because as anyone who has undertaken a big project like this knows, it’s not just about translation—it’s also about localizing your content. And you need real people, familiar with the region you’re targeting, in order to do localization right. He also points out that many translation solutions don’t address SEO issues. If you’ve spent countless hours and dollars optimizing your site for SEO in English, make sure that it translates. MotionPoint can help.

Witt says that when a customer signs on with MotionPoint, it does an initial conversion of the origin site within 60 days. After that, there is a monthly fee and a price per word for ongoing translation. For Master Lock, which updates its site on almost a daily basis, having an ongoing partnership—like the one it has with MotionPoint—is a must.


The Outcome

When it comes to implementation, there isn’t much of a story to tell, in part, because it’s all so seamless. While there are few technical definitions and style issues to sort out, MotionPoint mostly works behind the scenes to automate translation updates every time Master Lock updates its origin site.

“Ten years ago, we had one or two translated sites—now we have 12,” says Gahlman. That statement seems like an endorsement of MotionPoint and its ability to help Master Lock bring its brand to a global customer base. But 12 translated sites is still a relatively low number in comparison to the number of languages that are spoken globally. Like every company, Master Lock has to make decisions about which markets to concentrate on.

Gahlman says Master Lock will provide a local, translated site for a country if it opens an office and starts scaling up its operations. “If we have products in retail stores and salesmen on the ground,” says Gahlman, Master Lock starts looking at providing a site for that region. In this company’s case, there are countries and regions it just can’t enter, often because of local codes. But once Master Lock decides to enter a market, Witt says MotionPoint is part of the company’s “critical path.”

For his part, Gahlman says, “MotionPoint is a trusted partner. As we scale up our international growth, they’ve been getting better and better.” Next on the agenda is a site for parts of Latin America, but it’s the perfect project to illustrate the complexities of translation and localization. Master Lock already has Spanish-language sites, but Spain is a much different market than Mexico. And to make things even more complex, Brazilians speak Portuguese, not Spanish like most of South America. So there are a number of issues to be addressed before going to market with this site.

These days, Master Lock’s international sites get traffic from 58 countries around the world, says Gahlman. Considering that there are only 12 translated sites, 58 countries seems like a pretty good reach. But many people still go to the flagship site. The basic site architecture is the same, but some still prefer to do business in English.

Gahlman says the websites are the go-to-market toolkit, especially for the salespeople on the ground. “It’s their toolkit that they can reference when they’re selling our product,” he says. Master Lock’s business isn’t all consumer-facing, so it places equal emphasis on translating its B2B content. Whether you’re a homeowner just looking for a lock or a procurement person at a company looking to integrate Master Lock’s products into your own, there is a translated site for you.

There are plenty of reasons to provide sites for your consumers in their native languages—not the least of which is economic. But according to Gahlman, what it all comes down to is this: “The people in those new countries … feel a lot more engaged in the brand. They’re a little more open to our products.” That makes the investment in translated, localized content worth it. 

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