Here's 5 methods
Every corporate message (including this one!) is carefully crafted by a writer to express a particular idea. That writer uses phrasing and cultural references both to make a certain point and to create and sustain a brand voice. A clear brand voice helps potential clients understand your corporate identity. It's what gives your brand a consistent personality across different content types and media platforms. If you translate words and sentences but don't go any further, you can't maintain your brand voice in different languages. Localization, however, makes your message relevant to local customers in different markets around the world. Localizing content allows you to connect on a more personal level with every customer—even those who don’t speak your brand’s native language. And we know that today’s buyers around the world seek personalized experiences from the brands they support. Build engagement by personalizing your message for every customer in every market with localization. Different cultures have different tastes, and a company's marketing material needs to reflect these variances. For example, a retailer that markets to young women in the US is probably used to emphasizing the latest trends and focusing on low prices to encourage consumers to keep up with changing styles. If that company moves to the French market, however, it may have to focus more on a timeless aesthetic and on quality pieces that fit each customer's personal style. Differences in belief systems are also key for global marketers to understand. One might not expect a hamburger chain to succeed in India, where many people consider cows sacred, but McDonald’s made it work. They kept beef and pork out of their Indian locations and replaced the “Big Mac” with the “Maharajah Mac.” McDonald’s also thought about what Indian diners wanted to see from their restaurant to engage these buyers specifically. Thus, they introduced the “Aloo Tikki Burger,” which bears a striking resemblance to traditional Indian street food. These steps, while complex and effort-intensive, paid off: they meant the chain’s menu and advertising presence were optimized to suit the local culture. This, in turn, drove Indian consumers to engage with the brand and ensured its success. In a study by Common Sense Advisory, more than 72 percent of consumers reported that they preferred shopping on websites that used their native language. 55 percent buy exclusively from those sites. That's easy to understand. After all, why would anyone buy a product if they couldn't fully understand its description? Localization fixes this problem. Localization is just as important between dialects as it is between languages. For example, if a British bank entered the US market, it would have to stop marketing its “cash points” and start referring to “ATMs.” When you localize your content, you’re sending your customers a clear message: you care about communicating with them. Content sounds much more familiar and comfortable when it's in the audience's native dialect. When you accommodate their preferences and customs, you show a level of sensitivity and respect that inspires engagement. What's perfectly ordinary in one culture can be very insensitive in another. For example, advertisements for baby care products often include pictures of an infant's feet. Western audiences tend to see those pictures as pure and innocent. But in many Islamic countries, it is extremely impolite to photograph the bottoms of anyone's feet. Buyers in these countries might not respond well to certain ads originally created for western audiences. Translated text can cause problems as well. Stories abound of companies that translated their slogans literally, with unfortunate results. Mistakes like these, however innocuous they might seem, can be immensely offensive to local communities and damaging to companies’ brand reputations. However accidentally they occur, they send a message that the brand does not understand its consumers. Skilled localization can help global marketers send the intended message while avoiding bad publicity and resentment from the local markets they strive to engage. When the Nieman Journalism Lab experimented with targeted social media posts, it found that locally-targeted content performed six times better than posts with global shares. According to Lathan Fritz, founder of Amerisales, geo-targeting is effective because “it connects more deeply with prospective customers than a generic advertisement.” If a company localizes its customer messages instead of just translating them, it makes their audiences feel more personally connected and engaged. That's why at Lionbridge, we make sure that content resonates with customers on every level, from the type of images we feature all the way to the words our experts select when completing translation.