Localizing Content Means Localizing Content Experience

Sep 27, 2017

Article ImageIt is sometimes useful to reiterate facts that are taken for granted—or expectations that are may seem obvious—in order to remind some people about the basic imperatives of content globalization. After decades of global expansion, it is surprising to hear about misconceptions or assumptions that may lead global products or services to an unexpected hall of shame. Before talking about the finish line it is necessary to define the start line and the distance to run. In other words you should create a robust stage to determine the best way of meeting end goals. Even in organizations demonstrating high levels of globalization and localization maturity awareness and understanding are living and evolving assets. If you want to briefly define or explain what localization means for your business you may be tempted to boil it down to simple or simplistic statements such as “putting content in the language of local markets.” Or you may say that it is all about “translating my words into the relevant target language(s).”

While it is not wrong to mention linguistic adaptation requirements, simplifying content localization like that will push you away from the real picture of effective and professional localization. Actually you will miss the entire scope or dilute the full value of globalization which is to convey the full impact of your content internationally by rooting it in the mind and heart of local customers. The following couple of rules of thumb should enable your stakeholders and yourself to keep walking in the right direction and avoid geetting stuck in the middle of local customer journeys.

  • Localize Your Awareness and Understanding—Regardless of how centralized your operations and decisions are, you should identify and value factors turning localization investments into experience boosters and profit drivers eventually. While it may not appear as the first thing to do when planning, resourcing and funding content localization is the most proactive and rational path to understand local customers. Data, insights, and benchmarks are not optional when it comes to customizing and premiumizing content for individuals or groups across multiple markets. Moreover local customers move, evolve and change at the speed of now. So localization must be calibrated for the content of today and prepare for the experiences of tomorrow. Understanding local customers on an ongoing basis will significantly help you keep them in mind as content designers, developers, and owners at all times.
  • Localize Your Messages and Ideas—Words are more than words as they play out in different contexts and locations where they mean different things to different people. Your local customers pay much more attention to what your messages, concepts, and thoughts mean to them rather than to original content they may not be aware of. Therefore your content has to be wrapped in such a way they do not generate questions, doubts and issues. First and foremost, talking the language of your international customers should be like building bridges between what makes them totally comfortable and what makes your localized content actionable. Translating words is just the beginning of your localization efforts, and not the end of the line. Localizing your content solidifies and elevates your translated content for customer experiences. Obviously this process may be more or less challenging depending on the level of localization readiness of your original content.
  • Localize Your Resources—Central leadership and local empowerment are equally crucial for localization success. On the one hand setting up a centrally managed localization framework supports the overall alignment and control that content globalization requires. On the other hand, leveraging local resources helps synchronize localization focuses and lifecycles with actual local experiences. Both assets provide a winning combination between global effectiveness and local relevance. Local empowerment and enablement can be established and developed in several ways, whether it happens in-house or through external localization partners. In any case your objective should remain unchanged which is to deliver the uncompromised centricity that is expected in all markets.

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