Localization: The Nucleus of Local Experiences

Article ImageYou may think that translating your content or products opens the door to new markets wherever that language is spoken. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Translation is the first milestone in your efforts to engage with local audiences. Your customers are part of an audience, but they expect to be delighted according to where they are, what they do, and how they react. Both collective and individual satisfaction are equally important. Multifaceted customer profiles require a multifaceted adaptation of content based on linguistic, cultural, and functional effectiveness. This is called localization effectiveness.

Articulate localization around content reach, resonance, and reaction for your products and services locally. Localized content must be perceived naturally and received intuitively by local customers, as if you have created it specifically for them. When some people use “translation” synonymously with “localization,” they assume that only translators are involved. In the digital era, in which expectations are high, localizing content and products takes more specialized resources to keep pace with customers. You should consider information engineers, video specialists, platform testers, graphical experts, and customer experience analysts. Each of them must build and deliver based on localization requirements. Localization effectiveness also has to be measured by breaking down the performance of the various roles and responsibilities. Localization remains a value chain. Only the content in the right language, embracing the right cultural values, and working in the right ecosystem(s) makes a full impact and generates a full return within local markets.

Innovate in localization by better prioritizing, customizing, and “premiumizing” local content. In this case, innovation means doing more with less or less with more. By creating localization road maps that reflect your business priorities and local market imperatives, you add value to localization tasks by targeting the locales where the impact should be most significant. By localizing the most critical content with the highest return on branding, conversion, or retention, you reduce or contain costs by “premiumizing” in the mind of your customers. Artificial intelligence-driven content creation solutions or localization platforms can definitely show you a good way to achieve this potential shift in practices. Innovation may also come through an increased reuse of previously localized content. A number of organizations are still living with missed opportunities to transform this content into sustainable business assets. Moreover, focusing on leveraging content across products, projects, or programs increases consistency, memorability, and shareability without jeopardizing creativity and accuracy. Translation memories are among the most popular and oldest examples of best practices in content reuse. Despite the label, these content repositories enable you to store localized content and use it again, provided there is no contextual or situational dependency. Still, today, these memories remain major cost-savers and productivity boosters.

Educate your colleagues and stakeholders to help them grasp the holistic nature of local content. Walking in the shoes of someone else is never easy. That is why content localization has to be based on empathy for customers. Briefing and training sessions are useful to create and develop awareness on cross-linguistic, cultural, and functional communication. Leading dedicated workshops with designers, architects, and developers enables them all to dive into localization specifications. Educational initiatives also facilitate the selection, implementation, and adoption of localization technology. Considering the number of tools and solutions that are available to automate and accelerate localization workflows, it is more than beneficial to create momentum and connect viewpoints in that area. Translation-management systems and localization platforms are designed for localization leaders and for end users in marketing, communications, operations, and other departments. As such, they become educational assets to lift up all people involved and to take them out of their comfort zone. Last, but not least, it is paramount to explain how to rate localization quality objectively. For instance, quality assurance processes should distinguish mistakes from preferential changes in content that is modified by reviewers or owners. Eventually, it allows you to shorten final localization review and signoff.

Differentiate your localized content by bringing it closer to local customer journeys. At some stages, hyper-localization and transcreation may help you customize your products. More specifically, they can help when source content does not allow or require standard localization like in marketing or advertising content. Obviously, you need to ensure that your core messages remain embedded in the hyperlocalized or transcreated content. At other stages, co-localization may be very useful, especially in the form of crowdsourcing combined with localization automation. Involving local and specialized resources, internally or externally, can accelerate the overall localization or make the content more locally immersive. It may even improve your translation and localization tools by asking these resources to use, rate, and upgrade them. You should also try to produce and deliver more snackable content to match all micro-experiences your customers go through—ranging from the search for information to the decision-making point—before and after purchasing your products or services. Creating and localizing snackable content is now a competitive advantage to enrich digital experiences, as demonstrated by the ecommerce, travel and hospitality, and automotive industries. Localization plays a vital role in such content as it has to mirror the motion and emotion of customers. You can really make a difference with it, solidifying your value proposition end to end.

You have put your translation and localization resources and processes in place. That is great. Are they well-connected and integrated? Are they working as business partners and being recognized as assets in your organization? If not, or if you have doubts, it is time to consider a globalization powerhouse to take your efforts to the next level.   

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