Netflix is a global phenomenon. Available in 190 countries, the streaming giant is wildly popular – but how has it become synonymous for online streaming from Plovdiv to Puducherry?
In this article, using the experiences of the world’s most successful technology companies, including Netflix and Slack, we’ll present the shared localisation strategies that have made them so successful, and explain our approach to technology translation services.
According to Statista, Netflix reached 195.15 million users worldwide by Q3 2020. At the same point in 2011, the streaming giant had just 21.5 million subscribers, so in the decade since, it has gained over 170 million additional subscribers.
This makes Netflix the largest streaming platform for film and TV content around the world today. But, what does Netflix owe its global success to? How has it been able to flourish in so many diverse marketplaces and cultures in far-flung corners of the globe?
One reason is their dedicated approach to subtitling, and their fidelity to different languages’ phrases, idioms and colloquialisms, which we’ve previously explored in depth.
Netflix localisation strategy
Did you know that nine out of ten viewers of the Netflix-commissioned German-language production Dark were based outside of Germany?
Another example of the reach of Netflix is a report form Quartz India, which shows the top shows in the country, include Stranger Things and Narcos.
But, hold on you say, doesn’t this contradict the importance of localisation to gain a foothold in a new market? Well no – the reason viewers from such diffused countries can enjoy shows born from languages which they have no understanding of, is due to Netflix’s subtitling excellence.
But, they’ve gone further than this. The world’s favourite streaming service uses a smart user interface within its app which is adaptable to the quirks of different languages around the world.
What Netflix has done is localise their app navigation bar using a technique called Pseudo Localisation, which allows for the variation in text length of 25 different languages and alphabets.
This technology understands that the average length of sentences and expressions varies vastly between languages, and leaves room for one or two additional words after the English text.
All of these localisation efforts show Netflix’s appreciation for the nuances of different languages. This has boosted the user experience of their service and allowed them to roll out the same localisation principles across different territories to become the global powerhouse of film and TV streaming.
This exhibits not only the need for translation in terms of marketing content or product (including show content), but also the impact of translation on user experience and post-sale, customer happiness!
As of 2018, more than half of Netflix’s users were from outside of the US, the service’s source market.
Slack, the business communication platform has gained popularity in markets with several diverse working cultures including the UK, Japan and Germany. Slack started life in humble beginnings when it was created by Tiny Speck during their development of an online game, Glitch.
Launched in the US in 2013, Slack is now available in eight languages, and more than half of its daily active users are located outside of the US, in over 150 countries.
The main user groups of Slack outside the US are the UK, France, Germany, Japan and India.
So, how did Slack localise its platform and service offering to such a variety of languages and work cultures?
Of course, the UK and India mostly use English as the primary business language. However, France, Germany and Japan tend to favour their own languages for use in business settings.
Here’s an example of Slack’s approach to localisation. Slack is known for its wit – for instance, Slack often offers flattering, yet playful compliments to its users, such as in English, “You look nice today. – your friends at Slack”. In French this is localised to a less playful “Nous sommes là pour vous aider. – L’ équipe Slack”, which translates as “We’re here to help you – the Slack Team.”
This goes to show the importance of attention to detail in your localisation strategy. Even such seemingly insignificant elements such as microcopy, when added up, make a big difference to your website’s or software platform’s user experience.
Here’s how Slack’s Localisation Manager puts it in their blog: “Localization builds trust with our customers in a language that they understand, with cultural references that are familiar to them.”
Simply by having a dedicated position for localisation demonstrates the commitment the communications company has to offer a tailored user experience for each new market it moves into. It’s all about building trust and making users feel comfortable with a product that wasn’t initially designed for their specific needs.
Rather than crossing their fingers and hoping that their US-designed service would suit users around the world, Slack realised the importance of localisation in expanding their reach overseas.
Our approach to all client’s projects is similar to the tech behemoth.
Firstly, we ensure that we allocate a sector expert as your dedicated translator. With our diverse experience, we can always select a member of the team with very specific and unique qualifications for the task.
Then, to guarantee that they’ll understand the nuances of the culture, language or dialect they’re writing for, we ensure your translator is native to the market your project is based in.
Our approach is even trusted by technology giants, including Intel, IBM and Microsoft. Explore our technology translation services to find out more.
In a Globalised World, Localisation is More Important than Ever
Localisation is the tool your organisation needs to connect with a global audience.
When the country doesn’t necessarily equal the language and selling your products or services via a website makes expanding overseas easily achievable, localisation can help your message resonate to new audiences.
Our specialist translation services cover a wide range of market sectors, so if your focus is manufacturing, or market research, rather than technology, we can help.