Localisation has never been a straightforward practice. It takes expertise and hard work to ensure that your business’s messages and branding work all over the world. However, there are factors that are adding to these challenges and it pays to be aware of how the face of localisation is changing, so that you can keep up!
Localisation is all about adapting your content or even your products to suit different international markets. Yes, translation plays a part of course, but there are other elements that are equally as important, all of which our language translation services experts here at Bubbles are here to help you with.
Although few businesses assume getting localisation right will be simple, some underestimate how the challenges involved are changing. Let’s take a look at some of the emerging complexities facing localisation experts and how working with the right people can ensure you maintain effective communication in a rapidly changing world.
There are several factors that are leading to mass migration. Whether individuals are escaping the impact of climate change, moving to find work or fleeing a war-torn homeland, people are moving around the Earth in record numbers. According to the Migration Data Portal, there were some 257 million migrants around the world in 2017. The US took the most migrants in 2017, while European countries including France, Germany and the UK also accepted large numbers.
Yes, the issue is politically charged, but this doesn’t mean it should be ignored by businesses. In fact, any company hoping to ensure their brand, content and products are appropriately and effectively localised needs to be aware of the issue of mass migration and how it affects their target markets.
For example, international businesses with large markets in the US would be wise to consider the large Latin/Spanish speaking communities living in certain parts of the country. In fact, a large number of US businesses produce Spanish content as well as English content to ensure they are not alienating the Latin communities in the US, who spend over US$1.5 trillion each year and make up a sixth of the US population.
With migration having such an impact on countries, we may even find that localisation should be carried out differently for different parts of the same country, depending on the communities in various regions and their cultural beliefs and customs.
The rapidly changing nature of technology is another challenge to those involved in helping to effectively localise content. Emerging markets are, of course, an exciting new source of customers for many brands going global. However, as economies grow, the culture of these nations can change, along with the way locals use technology.
Firms looking at increasing their global presence this year are likely to consider China, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, and Georgia, where growth is set to reach between four and five per cent. The best localisation experts will be able to advise businesses on the way technology usage is changing within these markets and how that impacts localisation efforts.
Firms looking to localise web content aimed at the Chinese market, for example, will now need to ensure the content is optimised for smartphones. Between 2017 and 2023, the number of smartphone users in China is set to increase by nearly 200 million.
Furthermore, the way people use their smartphones is changing – with more than half of mobile searches taking place outside the home. The right localisation know-how and technology can ensure that targeted content reaches people in a way that is relevant to their exact location. For example, an international retailer could be sending discount codes written in English to mobile users near their store in Sydney and in Portuguese to users near their store in Rio.
These promotions could be made even more local with different imagery, models and other culturally-relevant content to make the recipient feel noticed and valued.
Alongside the increased use of social media and the rising number of digital consumers, comes a rising expectation of great customer service – and this includes localised content.
CSA Research found that 56 per cent of consumers said that the ability to obtain information about the products they want to buy in their native language is more important to consumers than the price they are paying.
Consumers now have a global outlook. Instagram users in China and the UK are aware of products available to them in the US or in India. They assume they can buy these products as easily as they can buy products made in their hometown. When they can’t, they are disappointed.
Are these challenges or opportunities?
In light of all the above, businesses need to think globally when considering their marketing strategies.
Those that want to attract as many customers as possible from markets all over the world need to be investing in localisation. A website that speaks to customers in their own language and offers local insights and content can attract new markets at the drop of a hat.
Localisation isn’t just about translation, it’s about making customers feel like they count. It’s about creating a brand that is highly relevant to customers in specific markets and ensuring that each and every person visiting your website feels valued – wherever they are from, whatever language they speak, or how far they have travelled from their homeland.