How to drown your brand in one click
Ever wondered what makes global brands successful?
Well, it's actually many factors, but to name just a few, let's go for authenticity, consistency and professionalism. These are "those things" that sometimes induce nightmares to marketers, but make people willing to convert into (loyal) customers. On the other hand, business is primarily about making money, and the success is related also to the general economy. It is only logical that brands need to make compromises to find a balance between what's desired and what's feasible. But do they?
First impression REALLY matters
The outcome of your compromises can have serious negative impact on your brand's perception, although meant to do no harm (or even worse, to do good). Mainly if venturing into unknown waters – e.g. when expanding the brand to new international markets, the "let's save $500 now in order to miss $50.000 in the future" approach can make you fail in the moment of truth – the first impression towards local customers. To prevent this, you need to invest in proper localization of your content. Not just your packaging, guidelines or manuals, but also your website. It's the multi-channel approach in communication and localization that makes you authentic and consistent and what makes the difference in seizing or losing the market. This surely would be common knowledge to most everyone.
So why are there still so many businesses out there, who think they will impress and win local customers with machine-translated websites?
Google doesn't like machine translation
Ironic as it may sound at first, the very company that powers the largest machine translation platform in the world fights against auto-generated content including machine translated websites. After all, with browsers having built-in features for automatic machine translation, it goes against logic to pretend that you care about local clientele and went the extra mile with "real translation" of your website, while you merely clicked a button.
When Google algorithms can see through it, so can your potential human customers. And while search engines may forgive you your SEO sins within several months, your disappointed customers won't forget the negative first impression. After all, why should they, if they already give their money to your competitor who seized the chance and fluently speaks their language...
Indeed, the Internet is a tough jungle, where seconds matter. The free machine translation tools that allow you to translate the content in one click (seemingly saving time and money), take their real price in the very first seconds of interaction with potential customers. Professional localization really matters and it's much less of an expense than trying to repair a destroyed brand image and to reengage lost, potential customers.
Don't let that one click destroy your brand perception in international markets. It's just not worth it.
Website Localization: Machine or Human?
Most people agree that the World Wide Web has become such a convenient tool that most of us now take for granted. For most of today's prosperous businesses, it is also a powerful sales tool in particular to those who aim to expand internationally. Speaking the language of your target market and potential customers is undoubtedly a competitive advantage and a way to increase international sales and product awareness. But is website translation, or better said localization of the website really so important...or is it just another upsell?
"Everybody speaks English, right?"
Actually, they don't. And even if your customers do speak English as their second language, addressing them in their native tongue has much stronger impact and delivers the message to a wider audience. This is especially important to ponder for a company that considers itself "international", or even "multinational".
Need more evidence? Let's look at some numbers*:
- More than 56% of customers are willing to buy the same product at higher prices if the website contains information in their native language. Ergo if you localize, besides gaining a wider audience, your margin increases – not just absolutely, but also relatively.
- 65% of your multinational competition considers localization of their content, including websites, as important, or veryimportant for achieving higher company revenues. Alas, a big majority of international players already know what you know. However, the sole fact that the competition realizes or considers something doesn't automatically mean they pursue exceptional efforts in the matter. Speed is the key here. Whoever get's the right message to the right audience can win the market – let it be you. The sooner and better you localize, the more likely you are to outrun your rivals.
- Can you afford loosing a homogeneous online market, counting over a billion potential customers? Well, you do exactly that if you omit to localize your website into Chinese. 95 out of 100 Chinese online customers prefer and are significantly more comfortable with websites in their native tongue.
Machines translate. Never localize.
Now that you are all in for website localization, it's important to address what localization of your website actually means. And mainly the difference between website translation and website localization (because it's really NOT the same thing). Simply put, when you merely translate your website (usually using free machine translation tools), you do not customize the content and the message in terms of linguistic and cultural specifics of the target market. You merely rely on the machine to match the words and phrases from your website with a database. Despite evolving in intelligence and learning literally day to day, machines can still deliver only a mechanical translation (what a surprise) with a surprisingly high error rate.
And we come to the point of necessity to employ human skills to edit not just content errors and word order, but also address the "clumsiness" of content converted by machines, and to adapt the translated content to make it appealing and sound natural in the target language, i.e. to localize the website.
Therefore, if you are serious about expanding to new international markets, wish to understand your customers and want the online content to relate to them, put your effort into the quality of website localization. You sell to humans. Don't talk like a machine.
Human translators inside your CMS?
Website localization. You know the process. Exporting the content, sending it to translators, importing the content, files, and files and more files resulting in chaos... monkey work with endless cut & pace routines. Or you employ machine translation plug-ins and make your peace with inevitably unsatisfactory errors and a lack of understanding by your readership. You can solve this dilemma with our free Stream Translation plug-in and integrate human, professional translation right inside your CMS!
No more file storms
All requests for estimates and online ordering are integrated in your CMS, on your web hosting platform or in other documentation systems. This eliminates the need for export of text content to separate file formats and loading text into TM solutions. The Stream Translation API transfers the text you need to translate straight to idioma’s translation platform, where it is handled by our project managers and native human translators. When translation is ready, we send the text back to you the same way, right into your own CMS – ready to publish.
We go beyond algorithms
Not only is translation done by humans, to make sure your translated content is perfect, we have also integrated a proofreading process in the localization cycle. Your pre-published content will be reviewed by our native proofreaders exactly as it will appear in its final form so they can correct and comment on text and layout errors. If text needs to be adapted, it will be updated on your site automatically, If illustrative material does not fit a certain country or culture, we will tell you. This way, you localize your website and improve your brand image at the same time.