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Considerations for A Multilingual Content Strategy

What is multilingual content marketing, and how does it relate to user experience? Multilingual content marketing goes beyond search engine marketing and goes directly to the user–their culture, their habits, their trending news.


According to Visual Modo, more than 50% of consumers for goods from websites offering it in their language. Moreover, 72.1% of consumers spend all their time on websites in their language, 56.2% reported their ability to get information in their language is more important than the price of goods and services, according to the same source.


Many times, content is written in English in the user’s internet experience. But English makes up only 25.9% of internet users. You’ll see in this article how to localize your content so that it appeals to users locally and globally.


Content is king, but is it king internationally? You’ll find out in this article.



What Is Multilingual Content Marketing?

Multilingual means many languages, while content marketing is a marketing strategy used to attract and engage users through the promotion of content such as blog posts, articles, videos, podcasts, and more. Thus, multilingual content marketing is marketing content to consumers who speak different languages. Multilingual content marketing relies on the ability to be able to be relevant to your target audience–to know their language, culture, and trending topics, and to adjust your content accordingly.


Multilingual content marketing is a strategy of creating and sharing valuable content to attract and convert users globally. This goes beyond translating your content and indicates the process of content localization, which you’ll find out more about later, but for now, translating and localizing must go hand-in-hand for a creative multilingual content marketing strategy.



What Is The Concept of Content Localization?

Localization takes into account the linguistic aspects (including dialects and regional languages), and the cultural aspects (such as trending news and topics, and traditions and norms), to form a type of localized experience for a subset of a specific locale. Content localization means applying the process of localizing to content. It doesn’t really have a more specific definition than in-putting the regional culture and aspects of language into the translated text. So when I say content localization, I mean the process of localizing content, to serve companies that want to court consumers in their own country and globally in cross-border trade. In other terms, it’s a way to adapt specific content to your consumer’s needs.



Why Is Content Localization Important?

It’s not easy to directly translate your content and promotions without localizing it. By using direct translation, or even automatic translation, you’re only working with words–you’re not working to personalize your user’s entire experience.


Localizing content is important primarily because it is a driving factor in multilingual content marketing. As I’ve said previously, localizing can personalize the experience of your consumers with your content, by making sure that your content is suitable for a significant number in that location.



What Is An Example of A Good Localized Content?

For example, usually, you don’t need to translate from US English to UK English as they’re both variants of the same language. However, if you really want to connect with your UK audience, you’ll localize it, which means in-putting the UK touch to the piece, like changing the word “bathroom” to “loo.”


Good localized content would mean bringing the locale’s touch to the table, so one good example for localized content is the airport signs that are translated. These airport signs are usually in two or more languages, and it’s a good “sign” if they’ve been localized too to reflect the expressions of the specific country/city.


There are many examples of good localized content from reigning companies. Here are two examples:


Netflix

Netflix has already had a slew of articles about its localization process, but the actual process of localizing a film still remains a secret, and we wouldn’t be surprised if they somewhat tweak the localization process for every film.


Nevertheless, Netflix has localized selections for all their locations, so if you’re in Poland, you’ll see different selections than if you were in Spain. They also combine their localized selections with personalization tactics that allow them to know what you’re watching now in order to suggest what you could watch in the future.



The biggest fuel to Netflix’s growth from a rented film platform to a full-on streaming service is its content. And it gives relevant video content to audiences globally through localization. It does this through dubbing, subtitling, and closed captioning to localize video content.


IKEA

IKEA has introduced IKEA’s Place, an augmented reality application that’s localized to visualize a real space with a superimposed IKEA product on it so that consumers can see what they want at their very own locations. The consumer can take a picture of where they’ll place the product, then choose from over 2000 products in the IKEA catalog. They then drag and drop the product over the photo, so they can reimagine how the IKEA product will fit in their space. That’s localization with personalization!


Furthermore, IKEA has also localized each of its pages for each location. For example, to match their newly opened store in Manila, they’ve localized their Philippines page, with the tagline: Quality Furniture for every Filipino home. They’ve also used Filipino models for all their images on this site. Meanwhile, their South Korean site, IKEA Korea, is also localized, with items for the Korean winters.

As you can see, localized content can span a whole website, or take the form of VR and AR. However, a simple example of good localized content is a company brochure that has pictures relevant to the region of choice and translated text, since translating is a crucial part of contact localization.



How Does It Relate To User Experience?

Multilingual content marketing gives your business a competitive advantage in non-English speaking countries. Here’s why:

  • It builds trust with your audience – If you’re speaking their language, the consumer is more likely to trust your company than your competitors.

  • It leads to more conversions – Consumers are more likely to convert if you’re giving them the user experience that they need–through localized UI and visuals, through their own languages, and through their own localized experience. Consumers are more likely to buy from a non-English website, as research from CSA Advisory shows.

  • It shows a personalized experience – Having your website is not only good for multilingual UX, it’s also relevant for each individual user. If you’re connecting with each target user through a localized experience and a personalized one, you are more likely to be connected with your whole, global, audience.

Localization is important specifically for UX and web design as well because when personalizing the experience for the customer, such as dashboards, notifications, CTA buttons, and of course, content, then they must also be localized. Users in each market usually have unique preferences for browsing and check-out in websites, so the UX must also be localized.



Steps for a Multilingual Content Strategy

Based on what we’ve learned so far, a multilingual content strategy would need to use content localization. Here are some of the steps needing to be taken to take your content to the next multilingual level.


  • Understand your own core message – Understanding your own core message is the first step in any content strategy. In order to transpose it to others, you should have your own core message completely understood by you and relevant members of your company. Crafting your own core message for each region or each consumer takes much market research and overall planning.

  • Keep it simple – Keeping your core content simple will not be only good for your translated and localized content, but also good for your relatability with your consumers. It must be clear, relevant, and easily understandable, in different languages, if you want to transform it in different languages. Best keep it free of idioms, over-the-top language, and other linguistic aspects that don’t translate well.

  • Create content for localization – Creating content for localization means taking account of your target audience and the feasibility of your own core message to apply to that target audience. Then, you create a copy that matches what you want to say to that audience with your core message within.

  • Localize and translate the message – Localization sometimes takes professional help–the help of professional localization experts. These experts will localize your message with Content Management Systems, AI tools, and more. Leaving it up to the localization team is a good tip to use.

  • Integrate International SEO – For all content on the world wide web, SEO matters. Once your content is made, localized, and translated, then you should not forget international SEO. International SEO is a conduit of Google worldwide, such as Google USA, Google UK, and Google España. These ccTLDs (if you don’t know what that means, brush up on your international SEO) should take up much of your keyword research on the specific regions.



Conclusion

Here are the three takeaways that I hope you get out of this article:

  • Content marketing in online experiences must be provided in different languages, in order to make sure that the content is tailored to those audiences.

  • Content localization is a necessary part of the process, making sure that the translated content is localized for the culture, the habits and the attributes of your local audience.

  • International or multilingual content marketing starts local, but grows global, especially with SEO in the mix.





Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash