Professional Linguists and Translators Boost Content Effectiveness in Digital Globalization

Nov 25, 2015

Article ImageAlmost everyone speaks at least one language but that does not make everyone a language expert. It is quite sensible to recognize that fact. In the same vein, all translators are multilingual people but not all multilingual people are professional translators. This may sound obvious for anyone working in or with the language services industry. However, it remains important to point out what makes professional linguists and translators valuable resources and how they power content effectiveness to a large extent. Essentially they all make a difference because they are different - or more different than some people may think - in the way they help walk in the shoes of customers. In other words they help shape the customer experience that must be delivered around the world.

First of all professional linguists and translators go the extra mile when it comes to speaking the language of customers for the following major reasons.

  • They master linguistic rules, guidelines, and conventions that are standards related to spelling, grammar, and syntax. Such standards have to be considered for any type of content and in any industry. While everyone may use them more or less consciously professional linguists and translators have them in mind at all times and are not "dragged away" from them to compromise quality ultimately.
  • They grasp linguistic as well as cultural facets of engaging content that speaks to the heart and mind of customers. These facets include tone of voice, nuance, vocabulary, and other drivers of stylistic sensitivity. Professional linguists and translators create content that is memorable, meaningful and actionable within international environments so that customers feel delighted personally (not only as part of a broader audience). We may say they live and breathe what global customers do and remain in sync with their aspirations.
  • They are very detail-oriented so that they control consistency effectively. This plays out specifically in terminology management that can make or break effectiveness in the short and long run. Using the right term at the right place and time is no easy task as it may not be natural for most people. In doing so, professional linguists and translators take accuracy to the next level in order to iron out anything considered to be small or minor in content. And digital experiences are made of details.
  • They are at the center of localization processes. Whether they create content in their mother tongue or they adapt content for other international markets they all set the foundation of localization efficiency. Simply put professional linguists and translators avoid taking the "garbage in, garbage out" journey where content owners may complain about localized content effectiveness without paying much attention to source content quality. Aligning best practices in content creation and localization enable developing and authoring localization-ready content. From this perspective professional linguists and translators are partners in crime in the digital globalization value chain.
  • They specialize to become subject matter experts. Many professional linguists and translators select a couple of areas they can focus on and excel in. For example they can dive into content for life sciences or information technology by fine tuning their skills according to the requirements and nature of each type of content. They turn sensitive content into content that is intuitive and sharp for customer in any country.

These few characteristics also help select the most appropriate linguists and translators to work with and ensure working with them consistently over time with or without outsourcing plans.

As far as content effectiveness is concerned professional linguists and translators contribute to crucial drivers by delivering and innovating:

  • They keep content simple across markets, cultures and languages. They prove the assumption that globalization is about simply changing content into other languages leads to problematic outcomes. They can challenge that budget and time consuming oversimplification with evidences that great content comes from proven skills instead of a few brief considerations.
  • They increase globalization agility and accelerate localization automation. After demonstrating localization is not just nice to have they can show how new tools and revisited processes make it more time and cost effective. By playing an active role that goes beyond sitting at a desk they can participate in efforts to improve business processes associated with localization. As they know the dynamics and enablers of digital content they can also recommend and implement tools to streamline workflows.
  • They warrant customer centricity. By making and keeping content customer-centric globally they can ensure it is fluid and on target. As selling a story is as important as telling a story in the digital globalization age they can instill the right level of centricity at early stages of the content lifecycle. In that way they can be really seen as transformation agents in environments where globalization is not addressed upfront.

This topic together with other digital globalization matters will be highlighted and discussed in an upcoming workshop at the Gilbane Conference on December 1, 2015. 

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)

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