October 2016

8 ways to localize your social media presence

 by anthony on  |
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Social media localization is a fantastic way to leverage the power of social networks and target customers in the right place and in the right language. Localized social media also helps create campaigns that are highly targeted and relevant. Below are some of the main ways to localize your social media: 1. Localize your website The starting point for localizing your social media is to first localize your website for every country you want to target. This means translating content to the languages of your target countries and modifying your website to look native to each one. Ideally, you would set up a new domain for every language so as each version of your site is SEO friendly. We’ve got plenty of resources on localizing your website, so to avoid repeating ourselves here’s a link to our blog where you’ll find them all. 2. Create local social media pages If you’re doing business in multiple countries, you should have dedicated social media pages for each one. Top social platforms like Facebook and Twitter are the best places to start, as they offer local search options for users to find your profile. Having a separate domain for each language also comes into play once you’ve set up local pages. Things like new blog posts can be posted on social and linked back to the appropriate language domain to add an even more local experience. However, a lack of time and brand control can often stop businesses from implementing this strategy. Investment and scalability can also prove to be stumbling blocks, where companies lack money and manpower. 3. Speak the right language It’s also important that you speak the correct language on each localized page. There’s no point setting up a French version of your Facebook page and linking back to the French domain of your site if your posts are written in English. Facebook does have an automatic translation feature, but it’s an extremely limited machine translation. This also brings the same risks as using a machine translation on your website would bring. 4. Post targeting Targeting your posts is an easy way to make sure your message is getting to the right people, at the right time. Targeting is useful if you don’t have the capacity to set up localized pages. You can still tailor posts and target audiences in specific locations using geo-targeting. Proper targeting of your posts increases engagement and clicks, and broadcasts your brand to a wider audience. 5. Local audience segmentation This step takes your targeting to another level and really focuses your social posts on your core audience for each language. Facebook provides many layers of targeting options, allowing users to get extremely granular. Once this targeting is set up, you can segment by factors like age, gender, interests, relationship status, job title and more. Using these will allow you to drill your local audiences down into sub-segments and target each segment with specific posts. 6. Geo-target influencers This strategy is more relevant to Twitter as influencers are more easily reached and engaged than they would be on Facebook. In this regard, any interaction you have with influencers will likely be noticed and picked up by potential customers. To maximize this channel, engage in social listening and track the tweets of influencers in that language. When an appropriate opportunity arises, try promote some interaction with that influencer. Another way is to message the influencer and negotiate some form of promotion of your brand with them. Most influencers won’t do this for free, so be prepared to offer something in return for a tweet, blog post or other type of promotion from them. Again, do this on a local level and select the right influencer for the right language. 7. Localized advertising Localized advertising comes under the same domain as post targeting and audience segmentation. The same filters that allow you to target your post and segment your audiences are also available when advertising on social media. This means you can ensure that your promoted posts, products and pages are all being broadcasted to the right people. If your brand doesn’t have a physical location in your selected country, direct users to your online store with paid social ads. 8. Measure and optimize The measurable nature of digital means that it’s easier than ever to identify successes and failures online. It’s important to use this to your advantage when localizing your social media. Measure everything you do on each localized page to learn its effectiveness. If it isn’t performing how you want, use the information you have at hand to tweak things that aren’t working and replace them with things that are. Continually optimize and change to make sure you’re doing the right things for the right market. Success factors vary across markets, so measuring and optimizing will help you gauge what works and what doesn’t for each one.   Final word It doesn't matter if you're a large multinational or a local business, a localized social media presence will help grow your brand. It promotes the creation of highly-targeted, relevant content. It’s also an easy way for businesses to take the first step into entering new markets, and won’t come at a heavy cost.  

Machine Translation vs Professional Translation: Which is Better?

 by anthony on  |
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A lot of the questions we get asked are about the quality of our translations and the best type for each website. Beyond doubt, a professional translation is the most effective and will always give you the best quality translation. That said, many people don't know the difference between machine and professional translations. Below we examine both types and the best situations to use each of them.  Machine Translation This is an automated translation that’s carried out by a machine, with zero human input. Machine is the fastest way to translate a website but rarely yields the best outcome.  When should I use machine translation? 1. Translating in bulk Machine translation is ideal when you’ve got a large amount of content that requires fast translation, but doesn’t need anything more than a general meaning. Examples on your website could include glossary pages or generic information pages. 2. For internal resources If the content you want to translate is an internal resource, then a machine translation would work. Again, this will depend on whether the content needs 100% accuracy, or is acceptable with some rough edges. As a rule of thumb, if the content will be seen by your customers, then you shouldn't machine translate it. 3. As a first draft Like bulk translating, machines are also good for partial translation of large amounts of content that a professional translator can improve on later. This could be used as a first draft and give the professional an easier piece of content to tidy up later. Advantages of machine translation 1. It's fast Machine is the fastest translation type available and can be instant in most cases. This is because it’s a literal word-for-word translation and doesn’t take any other time-heavy factors into account. Contrast this to a professional translation, which can take quite some time if you’ve got a sizeable website. (On a side note: Localizer’s professional translation only takes two days max.!) 2. It's free The free nature of machine translation represents the biggest attraction for businesses with limited budgets. There is a myriad of free machine translation software available online, with Google Translate is the most popular one. But through research, you can find many other free alternatives. 3. Constantly improving While still far from perfect, machine translation is constantly improving. With advances in technology, it is inevitable that machine translation follows suit and advances with it. One of these advances is neural machine translation, where a large neural network is used to maximize translation performance.  Disadvantages of machine translation 1. Low accuracy Machine translations have poor accuracy as regards sentence construction and using correct words and meanings. Specific and technical terms are also difficult to translate. Often, machine translation looks more like source text than an actual sentence. 2. No context or tone of voice Due to their literal, word-for-word nature, machines don’t have the ability to add context or tone of voice to translations. Words have no meaning to a machine and they can’t differentiate the important from the unimportant. The end result resembles a robotic block of text that makes some sense but was written by someone with no understanding of the subject matter. 3. Mistakes can be costly Using machine translations on all your content can be costly and not just in a monetary sense. Things like online legal documents or instruction manuals need to be 100% accurate. Mistakes here can cost huge sums of money or cause lasting damage to your company’s reputation. 4. Inconsistency across languages As mentioned above, machine translations are always improving as technology gets better. But these aren’t blanket improvements and a decent machine translation to one language may not be the case for another. Testing will show the quality of translation for one language but is no indication of how well other languages will translate.   Professional Translation As the name suggests, a professional translation is any translation carried out by a qualified professional translator. A professional translation gives the best possible translation outcome and represents the highest quality translation available.  When should I use professional translation? 1. For accuracy Any content that requires high levels of accuracy should be professionally translated. This includes things like online legal documents or anything else that shouldn't be misinterpreted. With this type of content, it's always better to invest in a professional translation rather than risk catastrophic errors through using a machine.  2. For consumer audiences Bearing in mind that whatever you put out to a consumer audience will represent your company image, it’s advisable to use a professional translation on any content that your customer will see. Poor translation quality can give consumers a negative impression and also affect your reputation. 3. Marketing or creative material While translation errors in marketing can often produce hilarious results, it’s no laughing matter for any company that finds itself unfortunate enough to have made the mistake. It can also be detrimental to a company’s aspirations to be taken seriously as a business in new countries. Professionally translating all the creative material on your website, like a blog, is a must if you want to avoid such errors. To see what we mean, check out this list of the best marketing errors here. Advantages of professional translation 1. High accuracy It’s a translator’s job to ensure your translations are as accurate as possible. With this in mind, you’re guaranteed that your professional translations will be on point. As with any human interaction, there’s always the possibility that there might be a mistake. But even if there is, the next advantage negates that risk. 2. Review and quality procedures The use of a professional translator means that review and quality procedures can be put in place after the initial translation has been done. The translator can check their work and ensure it meets any agreed quality standards. If there are aspects of the translation that you’re not happy with, you can request changes. With a machine translation, what you see is what you get and you need to conduct all reviews yourself. This can be both time consuming and laborious. 3. Provides context and tone of voice Rather than just translating words, a professional translator has the ability to keep the original context of your content and also add a tone of voice that would otherwise be missing. From there, they can provide understanding and meaning to the translated version. A machine simply doesn't have this ability. 4. Recognizes creative language Much creative language and marketing use word play such as puns, metaphors or slogans. Things like blog posts are made interesting by writing them in a format that keeps the reader engaged. Professional translators will recognize this and be able to relay the same creative slant on your translated content.  5. Understands colloquial differences Every language has its own unique set of colloquial phrases that people outside of the language won’t either be aware of or understand. A professional translator will know when and where to use these phrases and give your translated content a native feel. This shortcoming is one of the chief limitations of a machine translation. 6. Compensates for lack of direct translation There isn’t always a way to directly translate one word to another across certain languages. A professional translator can find the most suitable alternative to ensure your content still makes sense. A machine translation would phrase it incorrectly, or ignore it. Disadvantages of a professional translation 1. Longer turnaround times As it requires human review and input, professional translation can take much longer than machine translation. The turnaround time all depends on how much site content you need to get translated and how many translators you have working on it. Localizer can translate your entire website in two days or less, regardless of how much content you have. 2. Rarely free Unlike a machine translation, a professional translation inevitably comes at a cost. Cost can vary according to how experienced your translators are and how much site content you need to translate, but it will rarely be free. Having your own in-house translators would be the best scenario, but most companies don't have these.    Which type of translation should I use for my website?  Ideally, all your content would be translated professionally, but this can be expensive if you've got a large website to translate. The next best alternative would be to use a combination of machine and professional translation.  For example, on generic product pages that don’t need much attention, you could use a machine translation. But on blogs or checkout pages, where mistakes can be detrimental, you could use a professional translation. This way, you get the benefits of a professional translation, reducing cost and risk at the same time.  When weighing up your options, consider the cost of professional translation versus the potential monetary and reputational costs of having a low-quality translation. If a professional translation could save you from a catastrophe down the line, then it's the logical choice. Title image credit: Tridindia