Why You Need a Multilingual Digital Marketing Strategy Now
Are you neglecting website translation? Find out why a multilingual digital marketing strategy is imperative to the success of your campaigns.
Image Source: Internet Stats
In the post covid-19 “new normal”, more and more people are turning to the internet for work, for play and even for shopping. A multilingual digital marketing campaign is imperative no matter what your niche may be.
Increased visibility, increased influence and a whole lot less competition. How do you set up a multilingual digital marketing campaign? What do you need to learn to build a successful multilingual digital marketing strategy?
The best place to start is with research. There are approximately 7000 languages in the world, and since it would probably not be cost effective to use website translations for that many languages, start by determining which languages are necessary for translation. The translation company should focus on localization services in addition to the website and document translation that will be necessary. The localization strategy is important for the translation as the parent language will be different around the world, even among native speakers. It may also be possible to use someone from the local areas to do the website translation, but that depends on the efficacy of their broader knowledge of the language pairs.
English has long been the dominant language of the internet. Despite this, only 20 percent of the people in the world speak English, and only 5 percent of the global population has English as their native language. 98 percent of all of the content on the internet is written in only twelve languages, with more than 50 percent of the website content being written in English. 2020 will be a landmark year according to the BBC online. It is also forecast that this is the year that less than 50 percent of the content online will be in English for the first time in history.
The short takeaway from this is that a website translation into any language other than English automatically circumvents competition from more than 50 percent of the content on the internet today. How much less competition will you have in those translations within your personal niche? Mind you, this will only work with an actual website translation and not just using some CMS translation plugin that creates a quick and easy fix. Why?
Why Website Translation and not Translation Plugins – Website Translation and SEO
Machine translation has vastly improved since its early days. Given the propensity for using content management systems like WordPress and Joomla for website design, there are also many translation apps and plugins built specifically for the individual CMS websites.
Some of these plugins are pretty good at machine translation, though still benefit by human intervention and post edited machine translations. Some of these plugins also charge monthly fees for this benefit, but it could be worth it if you are updating all of the content on your website daily.
There does however, seem to be one major detriment from virtually all of the translation plugins, and that is in how they handle SEO. The ability for visitors to click a button and see the website in a different language is a good option, but the plugins do not create translations that can be indexed by the search engine.
A proper website translation will be fully indexed by the search engines, increasing the visibility of the website in the targeted languages. Even the best website translation plugins are further lacking in the ability to implement localization strategies.
Website Translation and Localization Strategies
One of the current limitations with machine translation, is the restriction to little more than a literal translation of the words written. While that may sound good in theory, the reality is that translation is much more nuanced and specific.
There are many localized expressions that cannot be literally translated, or that would risk changing the entire context of the message if they were translated verbatim. There are even generational differences within the same language that can change the entire meaning of a translation. Back in the sixties something may have been “far out” or in the seventies, “cool dude”.
What would happen however, if something were “like totally tubular”? In the United States, “Nobody bakes like Sara Lee” and this is a brand name for pre-made, processed, baked goods. In the Philippines however, Sara Lee is not known for her baking skills, but as a direct competitor to both Avon and Tupperware.
It is often unknown tidbits like this, or other seemingly “trivial” facts that make localization services so important to the overall website translation and the end user experience. A proper website translation using localization services can provide something much better, translating the actual content and context of the conversation into a more localized variation.
These principles of localization strategies move far beyond just language and translation though. What if all of the photographs on the website translation were localized? Now instead of seeing foreigners running around, the visitors see people just like themselves? Any specific mentions of geographical locations can be related to similar areas in the targeted markets.
No matter who the target demographic may be, every successful marketing campaign has one common fact. It is important to establish a personal, emotional relationship with the target demographic in order to gain their trust. This is especially true if you are marketing solutions to their problems.
Showing the target audience that you know and understand their culture, their beliefs and their problems, makes it more likely they will believe that you can offer them meaningful solutions to those problems. It does not matter if you are generating leads or getting people to click the all-important “buy now” button, the direct connection with the target demographic always makes it easier.
Website Translation and Multilingual Website Design
There are two very important words to remember when designing for a website translation.
The reason that so many chain stores and franchises do so well is that people know and understand that no matter where they go, the products are going to be the same and the quality will be the same.
These same considerations are sometimes overlooked even by webmasters who have fully translated their website into two or more languages. If you have been smart, you have localized all of your content as well. But have you kept everything consistent? Will the person reading your site in Arabic and reading it in English be able to have the same user experience?
The availability of the website translations should be kept “above the board” or “above the fold” making it visible and obvious the moment someone lands on any page on your website. One of the favored methods for accomplishing this is through the use of national flags where the flag and the associated language translation will be readily identifiable.
Pictures should be the same size and in the same positions relative to the website template when implementing localization strategies. Since different translations will use up different amounts of space, this may take a little time, and even some fiddling with website fonts and spacing. The same is true for any advertisements that may be included in the website as well.
Going back to the example in Arabic, one of the more complex issues of website translations occurs in cases where the languages are written from right to left rather than left to right. In such cases, it is ideal for the website template design to be reversed in order to maintain brand consistency.
The website advertising placement, the photographs and any other modules or frames should be proportionate but inverse or the reverse of their normal positions. The sizes of the pictures and ads, and even the text locations should remain consistent, though the content placement should be completely reversed.
This active effort to retain brand consistency can also help to increase customer retention and improve customer loyalty. One of the key points in any successful digital marketing campaign is the ability to not only get new customers, but to retain them as customers at the same time.
Website Translation and Multi-Purposing Content
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of website translation is that it provides you with all of the tools you need to begin multi-purposing all of your website marketing content. For those that do not know, multi-purposing website content is using the same content as the basis for different media formats.
An article can be the basis for a podcast, a slideshow or even a video when mixed with infographics or other information. These additional materials, when properly formatted, linked and used as an integral part of the overall content marketing strategy, can greatly increase visibility and organic traffic.
This tactic is equally important as part of a multilingual marketing campaign as it is for the domestic or native language campaign of the international marketer. A complete website translation also provides you with everything you need, having translations from all of the existing content.
From here, you may want to use a native speaker to provide voice-overs for podcasts or videos, though video marketing content tends to do equally as well with native language closed captioning. There should be a sufficient amount of information to either create new infographics or to provide translation of the infographics in use to make slide shows.
In short, everything you need should be in place to multi-purpose all of your content in as many languages as you have selected for your website translation, all completed in a single effort. It should be noted however, that there are going to be at least some benefits from using a professional translation company for the website translation.
A translation company that specializes in localization services will be intimately familiar with the local language pairs, ensuring that your localization strategies can be implemented more fully and effectively. The translation work is generally guaranteed to some degree, and there is only a single expenditure for all of the website content.
The only thing that remains is making sure that your marketing efforts are equally opportune to attract your new target markets.
The Importance of Multilingual Social Marketing
The Facebook user interface is currently supported in 111 languages. Twitter is supported in 35 languages. Mind you, these are just the user interfaces. Reuters found that there are 31 additional languages used on Facebook above the supported languages.
What that means is that there is an audience for somewhere around 143 languages on Facebook, and likely an equally large number of under-represented languages on other social media sites. The global average internet use of “netizens” is almost 6 hours and 43 minutes every day.
Using a website translation and not actively pursuing organic traffic outside of the search engines is not only going to leave money on the table, but it is also going to leave doors open for your digital marketing competition to pass you by and attract your audience to their site.
Video marketing content can be both expensive and challenging to create for some marketers. Fortunately, there is a simpler workaround for video marketing strategies, again using the materials that were provided by the website translation.
Image Source: We Are Social
A recent report published in the Guardian in July of 2019 pointed out some very relevant statistics about video marketing. Most of their focus was on subtitles, though closed captioning is a much better option as will be explained shortly in this article.
85 percent of all Facebook videos are viewed without sound. More than half of all people watching videos on mobile devices do so with the sound off. And while the focus here was on subtitles and their increase in views, closed captioning offers a much more viable solution. Once again, the main reason being SEO and the visibility of the marketing materials.
Subtitles are hard coded into the video and can be distracting. They are also generally limited to just the text of the conversation, and do not fully convey the meaning of any subtle nuances the video may contain. Furthermore, being hard coded into the video, subtitles are challenging to translate. Why?
Imagine trying to read closed captioning in a foreign language over top of the subtitles that are already present in another language. Now there are also two sets of text interfering with the ability of the viewer to enjoy the video and creating distractions that take away from the underlying message.
Video transcription services can be used to create subtitles which can be easily added to YouTube video marketing materials in as many different languages as someone would like to use. So what does any of that have to do with the impact of closed captioning for SEO?
The most common file types for video closed captions created from video transcription or translations, is either srt files or txt files. Both of these file types will be fully indexed by the search engines. Not only will your video rank more highly for additional keywords in the original language, but it will now rank well for numerous keywords in all of the languages included in the video translation.
There is an increasing population of netizens that are just as hungry for the information and solutions that you provide as any domestic audience. In these days as we enter “the new normal”, a simple website translation can provide you with all of the tools that you need to implement a multilingual digital marketing campaign now, before your competition beats you to the proverbial punch.