Whether your organisation is about to embark on its first multilingual marketing campaign, or you’re an old hand at managing marketing translation projects, it’s always useful to re-familiarise yourself with best practices.
The following 10 top tips will help you ensure that the process is streamlined, revisions are kept to a minimum and that the translated and localised content is effective in each market, saving you time, money and stress. Read on to optimise your next multilingual marketing campaign for success!
Best practices for managing multilingual marketing campaigns
- Centralise the translation project
If you’re launching your campaign in several markets, it can be quite complex to coordinate translations for different languages and manage local teams and translation partners. For this reason, it’s a good idea to centralise the project; managing it through your central marketing department and assigning one translation agency partner to coordinate the translations for all markets.
- Focus on similarities between markets, not differences
When creating source content that will be translated and localised for overseas markets, it’s helpful to think about what has cross-market appeal and how those elements can be incorporated into your marketing campaign. This will result in content that is easier (and therefore quicker) to translate as there will be fewer elements that require full localisation. Cultural differences require more extensive localisation, for example replacing imagery that’s either inappropriate or not relevant in a particular market. So where possible avoid these unless they’re vital for the campaign.
- Get support from local markets in defining the scope
Identify suitable in-the-know colleagues based in your local markets early in the project and ask them to share their expertise and knowledge. For example, before your source content is sent to your translation partner, enlist the help of this colleague to define the scope of the project. In some cases, your campaign may include elements that are not suitable for all markets, or could be adapted now to save time and money later.
- Ask your local market colleagues to approve the translations
As well as reviewing your source content, line up your designated overseas colleagues to review and approve the translated versions to ensure that the messaging, style and tone are appropriate for their market. This will help to avoid any issues later on, such as a local marketer rejecting content because it’s not suitable for their market or in line with expectations. For more information on working with local market reviewers, read my post on this subject here!
- Understand different translation methods
It’s useful to understand the different translation methods used and how these impact on the quality of your multilingual marketing content, and your budgets and deadlines. For example, some ‘low impact’ content such as user-generated content can be translated quickly using machine translation with a human editor. Whereas ‘high impact’ content like straplines, slogans and persuasive adverting copy is likely to require ‘transcreation’ to ensure it’s highly effective in each new market. To find out more about different marketing translation methods, click here.
- Create local style guides
Local market style guides are essential for a smooth and successful translation project. These help your translation team retain global brand messaging and style, while reflecting your brand identity and cultural preferences in each specific market. Again, collaborate with your local market reviewers to get invaluable insights that will help you ensure your multilingual marketing campaigns have local appeal.
- Manage your glossaries of terminology
Glossaries are an important asset that increase the consistency of your translated content, reduces time and ensures your content uses approved and accurate terminology for each market. As well as working with local market reviewers to identify the most appropriate translation for different terms and concepts, also speak to your translation partner about translation memories. This software stores approved translations of both terms, phrases and even sentences that you use regularly, to improve the speed, quality and consistency of future translations. Learn more about translation memory software here.
- Bear in mind text expansion
Generally, when English text is translated into a different language, the length of the sentences expands. Similarly, if content is translated for markets that use different characters such as Arabic script, the space required for the translation can be quite different to the original source text. We recommend that you factor in that most multilingual marketing content will require approximately 35% more space in initial design and templates to accommodate expansion. Of course, we can give you a better estimate when we know which specific languages and scripts the content is being translated into.
- Consider design elements, images and graphics
As mentioned in point #2, some elements may require localisation to make them cultural appropriate and relevant. Images, graphics, symbols etc. can all be replaced with an alternative version, but they need to be accessible to do so.
Translation service providers like Comtec offer multilingual desktop publishing services where we localise your designs and deliver them to you in the format you require. However, if you have design elements like an image with text overlaid make sure that the text is not embedded so it can be easily localised. Otherwise project costs can increase if these elements need to be recreated from scratch.
- Measure and track the success of your multilingual marketing campaigns
Finally, don’t forget to put in place ways to measure and track the success of your multilingual marketing campaigns. These insights can be invaluable for your next project, and also help you to justify and secure marketing budget for future global marketing campaigns.
I hope you’ve found these best practices useful, if you need further advice about translating marketing content for multilingual campaigns please get in touch – I’d be happy to help. Don’t forget to download your free copy of A Practical Guide to Translating Different Marketing Content by clicking on the link below.