If your business is expanding overseas, localizing your existing English-language content for foreign audiences can seem like an overwhelming task. Translating your website is the first and most obvious step in the process. But what about blog posts, social media, and other types of inbound marketing content? Localizing these can be more challenging. Establishing a brand voice or personality in your own language is a hard-won feat; replicating it in a whole other language is daunting. However, the following steps can help you leverage and localize the content you already have.
If you maintain an active blog in English, you will have many useful blog posts to consider for translation. Your first step is to sort them into posts that should be translated, and posts that aren’t worth the effort. This has everything to do with timeliness and relevance. Some posts might concern issues or events that have since been forgotten, and are no longer fresh. The best candidates for translation are the posts that educate your readers in order to help them make decisions about the services and products you offer. White papers, how-tos and other assets such as client testimonials and infographics are less likely to go stale.
Once you’ve identified candidates for translation, some English-language editing is necessary. If you wrote the posts to be catchy and fresh, there’s a good chance they use slang, business jargon, and idiomatic figures of speech. The more targeted a post is for an American audience, the harder it will be to translate in a manner that reads naturally for a foreign audience. Simplify your language, being as literal as possible, using bullet points and lists to help clarify your essential message. (see more on translation). Even if it feels less lively to you in its stripped-down version, the translation will be better. Especially if you are writing for translation for advertising and marketing, focus first on the information your audience needs. If your brand is more focused on information, once they’ve been reviewed and edited, these posts are ready to translate.
If your brand has a strong voice and personality, and your assets need to have a strong local flavor, you may need transcreation, a combination of translation and copywriting. Transcreators are professionals with close familiarity with both your industry and the local culture of your target market. A creative brief can help transcreators in the same way it helps monolingual copywriters: it gives them a sense of your style. Identify the personas or the types of readers you are targeting, and explain your brand strategy. If you clarify who you want to reach and why, transcreation specialists can craft the basic points of your message into content that catches the imagination of the reader and makes use of the appropriate keywords.
Once you’ve created quality foreign-language content, you’ll want it to be seen by the readers who matter the most: your potential customers. In our next post, we’ll talk more about strategies for making sure your multilingual content reaches its foreign-language audiences.