First, it was just going to be a couple of weeks, then a month, and now some locations are predicting the current, unprecedented levels of lockdowns, isolation, social distancing, and even full quarantine measures will continue for anywhere from six months to two years. Regardless of how long they may last, the Covid-19 global pandemic and the drastic countermeasures put in place to combat the spread have forever changed how many people live, work, and play.
Translation and localization strategies should now be an integral part of both the business approach and customer relations management. Many small and medium-sized businesses have been forced to close their doors, some permanently. Notably, there is still one economic sector where despite all of the radical actions, business has increased in volume.
An April 2020 report by Business Wire on B2C commerce online noted that “Brick and mortar sales are projected to undergo an even greater decrease because of the economic uncertainty triggered by the coronavirus outbreak, which is expected to contribute to E-Commerce garnering an even greater share of total retail sales globally.”
One interesting aspect of this transition to the digital business model is the increase in numbers of consumers willing to actively purchase goods and services directly from foreign business interests. However, it is also important to note that most of these people will still be more likely to buy from foreign business solutions only if they can review items, research, and shop in their own language online.
There was a survey conducted by Common Sense Advisory that was published on the Harvard Business Review website that noted some very revealing statistics. 72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language. 72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language. 56.2% of consumers said that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.
Actively engaging with the customer in their own language is likely to become an essential part of the overall CRM experience. Translation and localization strategies need to be implemented, not only to increase the business presence online but to actively pursue and directly engage with a more global market and the expanded customer base that it offers to online businesses.
Translation and localization are going to become equally essential in regards to customer relations management and thus, must be mastered in order to ensure continued online business success.
Understanding Translation and Localization
Translation services can be easily misinterpreted to involve little more than an exchange of words, one for the other. In reality, translation is all about an accurate and complete translation of the meaning regardless of what is actually said or the lexical phrases being used. Local vernacular, expressions, colloquialisms, and other forms of speech may often not have any literal translation.
For a large scale online presence such as a multilingual website that has been translated into two or more languages, this localized speech may not be overly relevant as the website will serve a wider, much broader audience. In terms of CRM and interacting directly with the customer base, be it a business or an individual, these little details will make a very large impact and help to ensure you encourage and promote customer loyalty through actively engaging in customer relations.
Localization is a much more focused form of translation, also very relevant in terms of CRM. The more focused the communications with the customer care, the more localization should be included within those communications. A website translation in English may be very broad and generic, being sufficient to communicate with English speaking clients throughout the world no matter their location or distinctive variation of the English language.
Localization strategies take a more focused approach not only in terms of customer relations but with marketing and other interactions as well. A client from the United Kingdom would receive a different newsletter than the one written for the US markets.
At a more personal level of direct communication through the CRM platform, the customers in Scotland would receive different “translations” of English than the person in London would. Likewise, the American living in New York would receive a different English translation than the person living in Alabama will receive.
Localization is about translation but is also about translating from English to English or Spanish to Spanish and using localization or the local cultural values and a localized context to establish a more personal and emotional relationship with the customer base.
As such, it is in fact a very important part of the overall CRM strategy. Speaking to someone from a large city in the same way as speaking to someone from a small town may leave an entire group of potential customers angry and shopping elsewhere. Using local references when in personal communications with the customer will be equally detrimental.
Using Translation and Localization for Content multi-purposing
Before customers can be managed, they must be captured (so to speak). It would be virtually impossible to retain customers if they were not already regulars to the website or other are from where they could be targeted. Content marketing is the means by which people attract and expand their online presence, and ultimately how they convert followers into customers.
Content marketing includes virtually every aspect of communications with the customers, including email marketing campaigns, website content, podcasting, video marketing, and other means of introducing yourself to the consumer. Anyone who has ever undertaken these efforts knows that they are all work, but many people fail to consider the potential benefit of multi-purposing the content online.
It would seem that many internet marketers either love or hate Neil Patel, but he still has some very interesting, data-driven facts and figures regarding the re-purposing of web content and how to successfully engage in this practice. He does note however that it is imperative that all of the content be posted on the original website before being repurposed, lest Google the great may get confused.
“In exceptional cases, your article or blog post on a third-party website might end up beating the original version of that blog post hosted on your own website in the search engine results page. So, ensure that your article or blog post gets indexed by submitting your URL through the console. Only then re-purpose content on other platforms.”
He also encourages “spinning the content” some and creating new values, which is where the process of localization comes into play. If you are using content and translating it from English to Spanish, it may be preferable to first translate the content into Mexican Spanish as there are more native Spanish Speakers in Mexico than any other location.
However, as the content is repurposed, it may focus on the Caribbean Spanish or even Spanish from Spain. While there are not as many native speakers in these locations, the use of localization strategies in the website content translations has allowed for a more expansive audience to be directly targeted.
According to the Spanish Language Domains website, Spanish is the third most common language used on the internet with more than three hundred and forty million using Spanish as their sole or primary language online.
The most native Spanish speakers are in Mexico with more than one hundred million native speakers, followed by the United States with almost forty-five million native Spanish speakers and Spain coming in at third place with almost forty-two million native Spanish speakers.
In this case, re-purposing the web content allows each piece of content to focus on an individual location or area, in a distinctly local voice, allowing for a personal relationship to be established with the people within those markets. Once the target audience has become customers, directly or not, localization strategies can further benefit the business owner in terms of customer relations.
Using Localization in Customer Relations Management
One of the most important aspects of the CRM platform is the location of the customer. It may also be a good idea to record the native language of your customers at the same time, as many people will emigrate to new locations. Each and every personalized contact with your customers should be custom-tailored to the customer as individuals.
The translation should be not only for the mother language but specifically tailored to where each customer lives. Local landmarks may be referenced to create that “Aha” moment for the customer. Local cultural points of pride, local heroes, and other emotion-inducing content should be used to establish a firm emotional bond with the customer. Local taboos must be avoided at all costs.
The use of a comprehensive CRM platform with translation and localization integrated into the marketing strategy is always going to prove itself a winning combination for marketing success.