If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.
6 things that should always be professionally translated
Translation for Global Markets? What?
So you think you have the next biggest, baddest, soon-to-be-viral-and-globally-trending mobile app. You prepare your press release, media kit, and have all your ducks in a row for the big release. It finally hits consumer markets and – …. sales suck. Big time. Your ROI is little more than enough to buy a new toaster.
Where did you go wrong?
When such online tools, products and activities are limited to one language, and therefore one tiny fraction of the global market – well, it makes sense that the ROI will also be pretty fraction-al. Professional mobile app localization is essential in order to sell to global markets. Whether its new software or a nifty mobile app, a plug-in or API – all of these things need professional translation and localization. In order to really maximize profits on an online tool or product, they can’t be limited merely to one’s own language market.
In order to maximize ROI and sales, distribution, traffic, social media response, attention of the press, or any other online goal – professional translation service is a must. This does not mean whip out the Google Translator Toolkit for last-minute automated machine gobbledy-gook. Not if you expect your target audience to take your efforts seriously.
Top 6 Online Products and Activities to Have Professionally Translated/Localized
With that in mind, here are the top 6 things that should always have professional localization and/or translation as a part of preparatory stages:
1. Video Games, Online Single-player and MMPORPG
Professional video game localization is a huge deal. The big names in the video game industry dedicate massive resources to adapting, translating, localizing, audio-visual recording and integrating, and testing video games for various language markets. Video game localization is essential, and critical that it be done right and done well. Why? Because an authentic gaming experience for players is 50% of the appeal.
When a video game is poorly localized in another language, it greatly diminishes the gaming experience. Awkward language and phrasing, improperly timed text-to-speech, poor acting and voice-overs – these have all been aspects of bad video game localizations that have cost companies millions or even billions.
Video game localization types and methods
Full localization is rendered either sim-ship, or as an integrated part of the development process, and all language versions are released together or close together. Post-gold localization is still a full service, but it is done after the release of the original, and not during the actual game development. The latter is less expensive, but can be complicated for localization experts, and results are less perfect.
Subtitled localization is a cost effective localization method, when audio translation and transcription are not integral to the video game experience, such as with the popular video game Okami. Localized components include only user-interface, in-game text, and user manual and documents.
Document localization is done only for very few types of games, such as maybe some types of arcade games, where neither text nor audio is used, and only user manuals must be translated.
2. Corporate Websites & E-commerce
Whether the primary purpose of your business website is to inform, engage, or sell services or products, all of these are more effective when the audience is broadened to a multilingual one.
Below are a few websites that are excellent examples of multilingual globalization via website translation and regional localization:
- Coca-Cola.com – The North American regional website is also offered in Spanish and Canadian French, in addition to English, and for all other regions, the website is available in just about every major and minor language in the world. One only has to select from the dropdown menu.
- Nike.com – offered in at least 14 languages right there on the homepage. The on-site global branding is fantastic, as an aside. The website has plenty of sleek aesthetics, to boot.
- Volkswagen.com – The U.S. English homepage version can be toggled between English and Deutsch. However, from there on, website localization and translation according to country/language can again be found in a dropdown menu, and doesn’t stop simply at content, but also includes translation and localization of local/regional dealership maps and listings, guides, dealer searches, and all other on-site tools.
- Nintendo.com – Obviously a video game system as widely used as Nintendo is going to have some multilingual options. Some of this includes separate landing pages for each region/continent – such as a European landing page, with its own list of languages, one for North American users with a list of languages, and so on.
This should go without saying – but there are still software developers out there who sustain a myopic view when it comes to consumer markets, who develope and distribute software only in English, or only in Italian or Lithuanian. This is no way to capitalize and maximize exposure or sales for a new software release. Software and other kinds of IT translation can involve simple or complex localization processes, but all need professional translation and localization services for global market optimization.
Software documentation – while user interface and in-text translations are obviously a huge part of localized software translation. However software documentation like user manuals and instructions – must also undergo document translation as well.
4. Plug-ins, Add-ons, APIs, Browser Extensions and Other Online Tools
Free tools are an exceptional way to draw more traffic to your site, and even more so when those tools are available to a global market. If you have created some kind of web or mobile app, plug-in, API or other free tool for your website visitors, applying IT translation and localization will introduce, enhance and contribute to your brand in a very positive way.
5. Mobile Apps and Websites
With the smartphone user market growing exponentially, side by side with the mobile web market and those who shop and purchase almost solely from the mobile web – it is increasingly essential to translate and localize mobile apps, mobile websites (which are more streamlined and more cost-effective to have professionally translated and localized) and other mobile activities, such as SMS ads and QR codes.
6. Email Marketing and Landing Pages
It is widely known that email marketing is one of the most inexpensive marketing methods. Likewise when multilingual email translation is used to exponentially expand the email list. Each additional foreign target audience or email list requires only one email translation per language, but can be copied and distributed many times over. Globalized email marketing using email translation and localization is vastly more effective than simply targeting English speaking email recipients – who are much more likely to never read the email at all.
Typically, email marketing inserts hyperlinks to a landing page. When a landing page is the first conversion goal, obviously the landing page needs equal professional translation for all foreign language markets and email recipients.
While localization and professional translation service is always strongly recommended for reaching any kind of foreign language audience, it’s just common sense that it is imperative when online and target market goals are best reached on a global scale.