In this series on why cultural localization is important for business, we’ll open with French and why a localized marketing strategy is needed based on where a language is spoken.
As the world becomes more and more interconnected through technology and travel, it is becoming essential for business platforms to diversify within the global market to stay relevant and competitive. This has increased demand for translation and localization services as it has become increasingly essential for international business on websites, eLearning platforms, and various eCommerce services.
Cultural localization is catering a product or platform for a specific market or region, which factors in the local language and its cultural diversities, beliefs, values, experiences, and social constructs. Why is this important? When culture is considered for localization strategies, people show more interest in the content or product. Further, cultural considerations create relatable products, increasing positive perceptions of the product and its sales.
To show you how important cultural localization is, here’s a look at the French language and how a one-size fits all approach doesn’t work for every region it’s spoken in.
There are approximately 80 million native French speakers worldwide, and it is the official language of 29 countries. French is highly regarded as one of the most important business languages as it is one of the official languages of the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, and more. It’s also a language renowned for its history and culture; in fact, the word ‘culture’ is derived from French.
French originated in Gaul, now part of France and Belgium, after the Romans took over. The Germanic invasions also had a large influence on the language, and by the 9th century, French was well established as its own distinct language.
While French variants in different countries are generally well understood by any French speaker, there are still many nuances depending on where it is spoken.
In 1534, Jacques Cartier left to find an expedition route to China and found himself in the new world, modern east coast Canada. As French settlers expanded in the area, the French language became the native language of its growing community.
Canadians continued to speak French after Canada was ceded to the British in 1763. As Canadian French developed in isolation from the rest of Europe, it created its distinct cultural variant.
Due to its isolation from Europe, Canadian French has managed to retain French verbs, expressions, and accents that date back to 17th and 18th century France.
After France ceded Canada to Britain in 1763, the French-speaking community became more isolated, allowing certain phonetic sounds from the elite French-speaking classes to remain.
As the French-speaking parts of Canada are near the English-speaking parts of Canada and the United States, they adopt more words from the English language. Further, some words are even adopted from the indigenous population of Canada, such as carcajou (wolverine) and atoca (cranberry).
Canadian French uses more informal means of address. The informal tu (you) is used more often than the formal vous.
Catholicism is the most practised religion in the French-speaking regions of Canada, whereas France is more secular.
French is now the lingua franca of around 7.4 million Canadians, making up nearly 22% of the country’s population, as well as being one of the two official languages in the country. In the province of Quebec, 95% of the population uses French as their first or second language. Differences in slang, idioms, and religious beliefs are some of the biggest differences between these French variants. They are essential considerations when creating a localized strategy for your business.
Canada isn’t the only country deeply influenced by the French. After the colonization of Africa and even after the French withdrew from many of the African nations, the language stayed and is often spoken alongside many of the indigenous languages. 44% of French spoken today comes from sub-Saharan Africa, with estimates that by 2050, 85% of the continent will speak the language.
French is no longer just the language of France, and this evolution of the language is something to pay attention to when forming a good localization strategy.
Blunders in cultural localization can ruin any localization strategy. For example, if you were promoting an eCommerce business that sells items for children, the word gosses in France is a playful word for child; however, in Canadian French, the word means testicles! This would be a serious, albeit hilarious, mistake in any marketing strategy. The same goes if you wanted to reach the market in France but used informal tones or Canadian idioms and slang in your approach; it would make your strategy appear tone-deaf and make your product less attractive to the local market in France. While these may appear as subtleties, it’s this type of attention to culture that can make or break a localization strategy.
Related: The Top 10 Translation Blunders in Advertising
Hire marketing, translation and localization specialists to create a localization strategy that ensures quality translation that involves the appropriate cultural research needed to create a successful marketing strategy.
Consider idioms, jokes, and sayings specific to the region’s language.
Consider the context of the culture when selecting images for products for an eCommerce platform or eLearning course.
Cultural localization and creating a good localization strategy may feel overwhelming if you’re looking to enter a new global market, but it doesn’t have to be!
Into23 specialises in translation and localization in all major global languages offering global language solutions for your business. All we need is a website or file to get you started with a free quote. Contact us today for all your global quality translation needs.
NLG is a type of AI and language translation technology that is becoming more prominent in business platforms.
NLG standards for Natural Language Generation and it is changing the way we interact with machines and the way businesses gather data. What is NLG exactly, and what makes it different from other technologies? With the compound annual growth rate of the NLG market expected to reach 1.6 billion dollars by 2027, you need to know about NLG.
NLG is a type of AI that automatically processes data into sentences and stories, in either written or narrative form, in a way that’s easy for us humans to understand. The NLG can take massive amounts of data from pre-set templates to form a sentence, reply, or inquiry that reads like a natural human conversation. This data and our inputted responses to this data create and add to a database of information that businesses and researchers can use to improve a process or product.
NLG is being used for a vast array of applications, and chances are that you’re already encountering and engaging with this technology daily. Here are a few broad ways that both businesses and consumers use NLG,
NLG has become one of the translation solutions used by global businesses as part of their website localization, eLearning translation and more. NLG is used as part of the machine translation post-editing process used by international translation companies and translation agencies online.
NLP is a blanket term that refers to NLG and Natural Language Understanding (NLU). NLP is a framework that converts unstructured data to structured data. NLU is the ability of a machine to use syntactic and semantic analysis to gather meaning from a piece of text or speech. It is the NLG that allows devices to create content from the NLU data content. In short, NLU lets a computer understand what data the user is giving it. At the same time, NLG provides data back to the user from the computer in a way the user can understand, thus the Natural Language Process.
Making an NLG requires several steps and a substantial amount of NLU data to create content that resonates and sounds natural. Whether it’s a chatbot or a machine translation tool, these are some of the steps and considerations that go into making an NLG,
NLG has created ways for businesses to communicate data efficiently and effectively, which increases productivity and reduces business costs. It presents data and information in an accessible manner while collecting big data that will lead to specific insights into a business. NLG has been used in different business industries, from insurance, retail, finance, media, eLearning platforms, eCommerce and eCommerce translation, manufacturing, translation management and more.
While technology has come a long way, NLG is still limited compared to real human writing and semantics. NLG can only act on the NLU data, which, currently, doesn’t stack up to the ingenuity of human writing and content, which makes the quality of NLG content one of its biggest weak points. NLG, however, is not without its merit as the NLP is superb at generating human insights from big data, especially at a volume that we, as humans, are not capable of producing. As NLG can be used in various markets, it is a valuable tool that can be used in many ways for any business. Take translation and localization, for example.
For businesses that want translation and localization services to expand into other global markets, NLG is an important part of a quality translation. Translators use machines to help expedite the translation process and fine-tune it with their human expertise. This process is called machine translation post-editing.
Related: Machine, mind, or machine and mind: how to best deploy today’s machine translation solutions
Into23 provides translation management and translation solutions that cater to your business. Into23 can help you use an NLG in multiple languages for your business; whether it’s a customer support chatbot or transcription services for a voice assistant, Into23 can help your customers interact with your business better.
Gaming has gone global, meaning that if you want your game to be successful, it’s time to localize.
Worth more than $300 billion and with an estimated 2.7 billion gamers worldwide, to say the gaming industry is big is a slight understatement. With the increased means of online gaming and the ability to play with others from various regions across the globe, companies have had to step up and improve their customer experience and look towards multilingual translation services and player support.
Gaming localization, however, isn’t as straightforward as a website localization strategy. The interactive and visual aspect of gaming makes the translation process of games much more complicated. While gaming localization and multilingual player support may be more extensive, it is necessary to have a game reach the global market.
Expanding a game globally is essential to ensure the game’s success and longevity but knowing this aspect is just one of many challenges with gaming localization. A game that is poorly localized will feel the wrath of the gamers that have played it and can demolish all the hard work that has gone into the game’s creation.
The video game market is expansive and widely different depending on what part of the world you’re in. For example, the popularity of different video game platforms, such as PC, console or mobile, varies by region. Currently, the top three video game markets worldwide are China ($40.95 billion), the US ($36.92 billion) and Japan (18.68 billion), but each of these regions tends to favour different platforms. Consoles are popular within English-speaking countries like the US, but they are harder to attain in other markets, whereas in China, mobile games rank at the top of the most played. These differences make cracking into these gaming markets challenging as release strategies and various localization strategies and support are needed.
Once you’ve decided where to expand, you need to consider all of the aspects of the game that need to be catered to for that market so that your gamers get the best experience. Gamer engagement is key to keeping people playing, spending money, and coming back for more, so any blunders in the localization process change the experience for your gamers and potentially result in poor sales and retention.
Translation blunders have brought failure for even the biggest companies, and the gaming market is no exception. With the direction that gaming is going, especially with most games having some online aspect to them, gaming translation and localization and refinement are quickly becoming tied to a game’s success.
Related: Words that altered history – translation blunders in international relations
CD Project Red did such a masterful job of localizing the Witcher 3 that this 2015 game still holds sway today and is one of the company’s selling games with many active players. Its effective localization was executed so well that it could pass for a locally-made game. Gaming translation services and proper translation management were used for each specific market that the game was released. The production crews even temporarily moved to where the game was being localized to create a truly authentic local experience. The game’s voice-over local accuracy has been one of its most highly regarded features.
The success of this game is a testament to the power of an organized and properly executed localization strategy.
For a gaming series as large as Call of Duty, Activision should have known better. There was a massively controversial translation error in this game that became so notorious that it’s still held up as a standard of what not to do with gaming localization.
When Modern Warfare 2 came out in 2009, there was a mission in which one of the characters said, “Remember, no Russian” this was to remind the character not to speak the language. In the Japanese version of the game, however, this quote was translated to “Kill them. They’re Russians”. This translation was so controversial that Sony Russia decided not to release the game in its Playstation store. While this quote was the most notorious, the game was, overall, so poorly translated that gamers often had to ask for additional assistance to get through missions. The game has since been remastered to fix these mistakes, but the errors of the initial release are not likely to be forgotten.
Taking the time to find the right translation solutions for your game will help to avoid disasters like this one.
Knowing what translation aspects are needed for your game is essential, as gaming is an immersive, interactive, and media-rich experience that requires much more than a mere translation to be understood and appreciated by a new audience. Will your game’s story carry the same meaning or impact in a new culture or region? Does that culturally-specific joke mean the same thing in another country? Will the game’s imagery create the same atmosphere for a different culture? Do you require foreign language voice-over talent or foreign language transcription services? What about customer service access in multiple languages?
Here is a brief list of the most common aspects of gaming translation to consider,
Related: How to find the perfect voice for your multilingual voice over
It’s also easy to miss items such as the game’s social media pages and forums, customer service pages and contacts, marketing materials and advertising (digital and print), product packaging such as instruction manuals and user guides, localized product pricing, and website localization for the game.
Even with this short list, it’s obvious how much work is needed to ensure a quality translation and localization of a game.
If you’re ready to localize your game and don’t know where to get started, here are a few ways you can prepare for gaming localization,
At Into23, we offer gaming translation services and expertise for any language and region. Make us a part of your game’s global success with our high-quality translations and expert translation management to help make your game the next big thing. Ready player one? Contact us today to get started.
What types of marketing translation trends are becoming prominent in 2022? Here’s what to expect for the remainder of the year.
Content translation services have seen a massive increase in demand, with much of this growth being linked to the internet, the pandemic, our global expansion and uses of technology. The market worth of this industry has grown and is looking to grow further in 2022 as the pandemic has slowly stabilised and more people and places of business took their work and education online and have kept it there.
The biggest driver behind the growth of the translation industry has been the increased need for people to access information in different languages and cultures, coinciding with the growth of technology and our reliance on it. Technology has made it possible for people to communicate in meaningful ways across the globe in various formats and languages, which became increasingly important during the pandemic. Language translation technology has also come a long way, making it faster and more accessible for people and businesses to get what they need.
While translation solutions come in many forms, depending on your business or need, these areas are some of the most noticeable upward trends of 2022. They are relevant aspects to consider if you’re looking to expand globally.
If you have a platform that has been localized for customers, you’ll also need multilingual customer service support. As more people use their phones for everyday tasks, from emails to banking, these services must be provided and serviced in the customer’s language. The same goes for customer support. Today, 67% of consumers expect to be able to message or chat with a business when they need support. As this number is likely to increase, businesses that want to continue to reach their customers globally must consider multilingual customer support in their localization strategies. A marketing translation agency can provide support and resources in multiple languages to help fortify an existing localization strategy or start a new one.
Machine translation has become an essential part of the translation industry and is a trend that has continued upward for several years.
Machine translation is when you enter content into an automated software translation tool, and the machine converts it into the target language. Google translate is the most well-known machine translator that most of us use in our daily lives. However, the results of these machine translations alone vary drastically in terms of accuracy and are not sufficient enough to be used in business for a variety of reasons.
Related: Why Google translate isn’t effective enough for business
The post-editing portion comes after the machine translation. A professional translator will go over the machine translation and compare it to the original text to get the most accurate translation. Machine translation post-editing is desirable for businesses and marketing translation as it offers a quick turnaround at a lower cost.
The machine translation market has been steadily increasing and is anticipated to reach 230.67 million USD by 2026.
The pandemic may have kept us at home the last few years, but eLearning platforms kept us learning and connected. Forbes estimates that by 2025, the eLearning sector could be worth as much as USD 355 billion dollars. As the business and education sectors looked towards online learning tools and software to maintain a global reach, the videos, courses and quizzes also needed to be updated and translated for global audiences. This newfound flexibility offers benefits to businesses, educators and students as people can work and learn on their own time from the comfort of a home or café. eLearning and eLearning translation shows no signs of slowing and will continue to increase in demand as more and more people and businesses maintain a work/study from home approach.
Two different types of media are trending right now, podcasts and videos. Podcasts are now being used for business, pleasure, and education and have seen a large rise in listeners, especially considering they’ve only been around for two decades. It is estimated that there will be around 424.2 million podcast listeners worldwide in 2022 and that podcasts will be a USD 94.88 billion industry by 2028.
Videos are also an essential part of today’s media market. In 2019 alone, the average person’s video consumption was 84 minutes daily. Enter the pandemic, and by 2021 that average was nearly 100 minutes per day. Now we’re in the beginning part of 2022, and video streaming and downloads are anticipated to account for 82% of the global internet traffic. A study done by Wyzowl found that 81% of businesses now create at least some video content. Point of fact, if you’re not using videos in your business marketing materials, you should be.
With the impressive rise of both video and podcast consumption, the need for localization, such as audio transcription services, multilingual voice-over services, or subtitling services, becomes necessary for going global and is a trend that will continue well past 2022.
As previously mentioned, videos are currently making up the majority of consumer internet traffic. To make business ads, videos, and video courses more accessible for everyone, subtitles have become essential.
Even outside of any language or subtitle translation, many of the videos people consume on social media are often viewed on mute, meaning that if a video doesn’t have subtitles, it’s more likely to be skipped and scrolled past. Subtitles have become a required feature for views and impressions, even when the language hasn’t been changed.
Further, if you do require language translation for a video to reach new audiences, subtitling is generally more affordable than dubbing and is just as effective in reaching your target audiences.
By now, it’s obvious that the biggest trend is the translation and localization of businesses in general. This is an upward trend that was growing even before the pandemic. Going global means having an online presence and reaching and connecting to audiences in new and meaningful ways with technology. While website localization is becoming more common, it is often an afterthought. Businesses are now opting to create a multilingual SEO strategy from the get-go so that their business content and practices are aligned with their global goals from the start.
It is the practice of optimizing your SEO in more than one language. This includes everything from websites, eCommerce platforms, video content, social media, customer support and more. The best way to develop a multilingual SEO strategy is to work with a translation project management company that offers multilingual translation services and marketing translations. This ensures an effective strategy that is aimed at a specific target audience and ensures effective use of your business’s resources along with a quality translation that showcases the values and goals of your business.
Into23 offers quality translation solutions for all major global languages to help your business enter any global market. Bring your business into 2022 and beyond with our transparent and quality language solutions. Contact us today for a free quote to start your global journey.
The German eCommerce market was worth 99 billion euros in 2021.
German has more than 130 million native speakers and is the most spoken native language within the European Union. As German is so widely spoken, it has become a prominent language for businesses to localize with. So why should you localize in German and what should you consider in your localization strategy?
German is the 7th most used language on the internet and is massive within the mobile and app market. Germany takes the lead in Europe in terms of app store purchases and brought in around 1.8 billion dollars in 2021 alone. Further, there are more than 82 million high-income earners in Germany who like to shop online and expect content to be delivered to them in German, even if they understand English, meaning localizing in this language is very important if you want to reach the European or German market.
German is the official language of four counties in Europe: Germany, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg as well as Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Even outside of these countries, it is also spoken as a minority language in 42 countries across the world.
The German language, like English, belongs to the Indo-European language family. German began to take shape when the Romans came to the area in the 1st century BCE. As Christianity began to spread, under the influence of Latin and Greek, the first written Germanic language was created in the 4th century by Bishop Ulfilas.
Around 600 CE, there is a shift between different dialects in the Germanic languages. This is called the Second Germanic Consonant Shift and it was what we now call Old High German. This shift was an important one for the German language as it changed its pronunciation, which, still exists today. For example, Deutsch, meaning German, appeared for the first time during this shift.
Around 1250-1550 CE there were a variety of cultural changes, such as Martin Luther’s translation of the bible, which added a variety of new words to the German vocabulary. It was this translation that also set the tone for what would become a unified German language. From the 16th to 18th centuries various dialects from the southern and central part of German formed the New High German version, which is what is generally spoken today.
In 1880 Konrad Duden wrote and published the first edition of the Complete Orthographic Dictionary of the German Language. This book remained in place until the spelling reform of 1996.
While German still exists in many dialects, such as High German or Low German, High German is the official written language.
What is the difference between these dialects? The connotations of these dialects have nothing to do with social class but rather where they are spoken geographically in Germany. It’s somewhat similar to American English vs. British English and the Germans call these dialectal differences Hochdeutsch. Not sure which dialect to choose for your website localization? You can find translation solutions with international translation companies that specialise in the German language.
High German: Spoken in the mountainous and high-altitude regions of Germany that underwent a consonant shift. Spoken in southern Germany and partially in Central Germany.
Low German: Spoken in the lowlands of Germany. This dialect did not go under the same sound changes as its higher counterpart and has a similar sound to Dutch.
Standard German: An effort started by the Holy Roman Empire to create a lingua franca. German dialects at the time were spread apart and made communication difficult. The consolidation was an attempt to make the bible that could be understood by all Germans. As a result of Martin Luther’s translation and efforts, the bible became a base for the Standard German language. Standard German has many High German features and is a variant of High German.
With German, dialects differ depending on how much the High German consonant shift affected them. The main consonants affected by this shift were p, t, and k. For example, p became a pf sound, ik became ich, or t became s or ts. The Low German areas of the country don’t use these pronunciations as they were unaffected by this shift.
Thinking of localising in Switzerland with German? Swiss German is distinctly different from its Standard German counterpart and is referred to as Helvetisms. Helvetisms are vocabulary, pronunciations, and syntax that are specific and unique to Switzerland. You might not think there would be that much variation, but the distinctions are significant, to the point where those in Germany will need subtitling services to understand a TV show or video that is in Swiss German. Here are some relevant points to consider if you are going to localize here:
Having a successful localization strategy comes with having proper business translation services that know the German market and can offer translation solutions that suit your business needs. Translation management can be the difference between a successfully localized platform and one that goes bust. Ensure you get the best possible quality translation by using a marketing translation agency like Into23.
Into23 is a group of translation and marketing professionals that can help you create a localization strategy in German or in any other language you require. Make Into23 your localization partner today and contact us for a free quote.
A successful eLearning course is never truly finished.
If your eLearning platform or course isn’t getting the return it normally would, it’s likely overdue for an update. Learning Management Systems (LMS) have changed the way we learn. From work-related training, academia, language learning, hobbies, and beyond. Like any technology though, keeping things up to date is important. If you’ve got eLearning courses set up on an LMS, it’s important to do periodic reviews of your course, not only to ensure that it’s keeping up with today’s technology but also to ensure that your content continues to be relevant.
A successful eLearning course is never truly finished, whether we like it or not. Information, no matter the topic, changes all the time and if you want to stay in business with your eLearning courses it’s necessary to consider all your content as consistently evolving and make changes to it when necessary.
If you showcase an outdated course, whether that’s with technology, outdated practices, images, media, or even outdated cultural norms, you’re going to lose your audience very quickly which will result in poor learning and course retention. Course maintenance ensures a consistent customer base as well as prolonged learning retention. The more engaged your learners are, the more they will retain.
If you’re looking for some key signs it’s time to update your eLearning courses here are a few good places to start,
eLearning translation is much more than just a literal quality translation, it’s making the course feel like it was made locally for that specific audience. It’s about having the course in the learner’s language, with both text, imagery, and media and ensuring that all that content makes sense to the learner both contextually and culturally with each course they will be accessing. Successful translation and localization is not an easy undertaking which, is why using content translation services is an essential part of localizing and updating a course.
Related: 7 important steps to consider for your eLearning localization
Translation and localization are an essential part of bringing your content to a new language market and region and when it’s done right, it can boost sales, training, and learning retention substantially.
Into23 has all your eLearning translation solutions, no matter what language you need. We can help you with eLearning localization, multimedia translation solutions, audio transcription services, subtitling and more, ensuring that your eLearning courses are effective, efficient, and successful in every market. Contact us today to get started!
No other language has held sway the way English has globally. Can it maintain its dominance as the most important language for business?
It’s estimated that more than 1.75 billion people around the world speak English, that’s a quarter of the world’s population. Around 400 million people speak English as their first language, with more than a billion knowing it as their secondary tongue; it’s also the official language in at least 59 countries and the lingua franca of many more. While English is not the most spoken language around the world, English is the language of business, diplomacy, science and much more. If we were to rate English on a financial level, its GDP would massively overshadow other languages. Yet English is just one of 7000+ languages spoken globally, so how did it become the most important global language, and will it continue to hold its business and cultural dominance?
Map – Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels – Caption – “English has its roots in the nomads that used to roam the southeastern European plains some 5000 years ago.”
Belonging to the Indo-European family of languages, English is a West Germanic language that has its roots in the nomads that used to roam the southeastern European plains some 5000 years ago. As migrations happened in the 5th and 6th centuries, Old English began to take form. Words were taken from French during the Norman conquests of 1066, and in the 12th century, English transformed from Old to Middle English as Greek and Latin words began to enter and influence the language. In the 1500s, English began transforming the modern English we recognise and use today. Between trade, conquest, religion, and British colonialism, English spread worldwide.
The closest modern relative to the English language is Frisian. It is 80% lexically similar to English and is a language still spoken in parts of Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, though by only around 450,000 people.
English’s success is a result of money, status, and politics, as well as the ease with which it borrows words from other languages and its flexibility in adapting to changes in the world and technology. Economic and technological development has played a major role in English dominance. The US still leads economically and has been one of the most dominating modern cultures, which was heavily influential to English dominance during the birth of the internet. The result of this history and influence has led other countries to place a high value on English speakers, in that those that can speak and use English have a higher chance of getting ahead or entering the global elite, thus furthering English’s influence and dominance in business and more. For example, China has the most speakers of English as a second language than any other country.
While English generally remains the international business language, global business is changing, and its dominance is starting to waver as more and more companies aim to enter other markets and expand using a localized marketing and advertising transcreation strategy for their business.
When the internet started in 1998, there were around 70 million internet users, with English speakers accounting for over 80% of them. However, since then, there has been a steady decline in the percentage of web pages in English. In 1998, 75% of the internet was in English, whereas now it’s only around 25.9%. Today Simplified Chinese alone accounts for 19.4% of web content, just shy of English, which shows the growing trend of companies expanding into different global markets with the use of technology and the necessary use of translation and localization for websites, eCommerce translation services, eLearning platforms, and more.
Further studies have also found that more than half of consumers would pay more for a product if it were presented to them on a platform in their native language. This shift away from English has even been noted by The British Council as far back as 2006, when it published a report that stated that even though English is becoming more widely spoken, its dominance as a language appears to be fading. This shift is happening for a variety of reasons.
Related: The Top 9 Emerging Languages for Business
Countries with large populations now have more access to technology than they did in the past, and many of these same countries also have a growing number of middle-class consumers that are eager to spend money. With 72.1% of consumers spending most of their time on web pages in their native language, the demand for localization and translation services and a shift away from English has increased. Other factors, such as continued globalization in general, changes in the economy, and other creative alternatives, such as emojis, may also influence the prevalence of the English language in business and online.
It’s estimated that 50-90% of the world’s languages will be extinct in the next century. This is because linguists believe that with more people moving around and native languages not being passed on to younger generations, there will be a drop in the overall number of global languages.
A Dutch sociologist named Abram de Swaan classifies languages into four categories. The peripheral language category includes 98% of the world’s languages but is spoken by less than 10% of humanity. The national or central category includes languages that have a territory to call their own and are written and taught in schools. Next, in the category of super-central languages are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swahili, as each host around 100 million speakers or more and are the most commonly spoken second languages worldwide. At the top is the ‘hypocentral’ language. It is the language that holds the whole language system together, and that crown is held by none other than English. Japanese novelist Minae Mizumura, who has written on language, similarly described English as a “universal language” and that this status is held not by the number of native speakers of the language but rather by the greatest number of non-native speakers.
With that said, it seems likely that English will continue to hold its super-power status for the time being; however, it will also have to continue to make way for other super-central languages that are growing within political and economic spheres. For example, China’s presence outside of Asia continues to grow. As other countries and populations continue to gain traction in online consumer markets, businesses will need to adapt and recognise that business is no longer an English-only affair.
If you’re ready to start localizing your business or need high-quality translation services, Into23 can help you transform your business for any local market. Specializing in Asian languages, Into23 offers English to Chinese translation services and more, as well as website localization, translation and localization marketing strategies to suit your business needs. Contact us today for a free quote!
Some companies have grown exponentially by accommodating consumers with diverse dialects, languages, and cultures. Many brands have made localisation a force to help them conquer this kind of growth, allowing them to tap into the new markets. However, the trend of transforming content to a specific region or culture is not new. Many American software giants like Microsoft deployed their solutions worldwide back in the 80s. Today, with the help of digital communication, some famous brands are rendering content to countries outside their geographical location. It has allowed them to stay locally and globally relevant.
Companies like Coca-Cola and Visa have made their brand almost invincible by recognising the power of “local relevance.” These brands dare to translate their content to regional contexts and are confident in curating content specific to a region’s preferences and tastes. Gaming brands like Nintendo and PUBG have gone global while managing to keep their local relevance alive.
Localisation recognises the role of values, cultures, and dialects during brand messaging. It allows businesses to adapt to local language, style, and design. These elements take shape due to geographical barriers; however, localisation helps brands go beyond texts and phrases. Localisation does not mean mere “translation.” It is more than that. Although translators play a massive role in localisation projects, localisation has numerous key factors that come into play.
Competition in the international market is fierce; therefore, no two brands can afford to offer similar brand experiences. Such continuous differentiation has forced brands to pay great focus on a customer’s personal experiences. In addition, a brand with the ambition of going global cannot target diverse consumers using the same marketing campaign! Hence, we see companies optimising their ads for specific target markets. Consumers also want brands to communicate in their native dialects. It gives them a more personal feel.
According to a report by Common Sense Advisory, 72% of shoppers prefer purchasing from sites that use their native language. Almost 55% of them exclusively choose these sites over others. Let’s evaluate some brands communicating with global customers and understand how they connect with their audiences at a deeper level to drive engagement.
There is no doubt about how much of a marketing genius Steve Jobs was. He helped Apple establish itself as a desirable, unique, and fashionable electronics brand. Their simplistic yet stylish products differentiated them from the herd in the USA. Apple is one of the biggest companies globally that launches culturally-relevant marketing campaigns all over the globe. Their previous localised campaigns are noteworthy! For instance, let’s look at their campaign in Japan. The Japanese culture disapproves of criticising others; therefore, Apple’s Mac vs. PC marketing campaign couldn’t work in Japan. Apple couldn’t take a direct shot at Microsoft! Rather than translating their American ad, they collaborated with local comedians to show Mac is for fun-loving individuals. Their marketing team didn’t just translate their content but also aligned it to match the cultural expectations of the native audiences.
This brand sells more than 2 billion bottles every day! Coca-Cola was one of the few global brands that focussed on capturing international audiences. Their campaigns, such as “Share a Coke,” used common English names like Jack, Tom, Mike, Alisa, etc., on the label. It helped them build familiarity and gave customers a reason to share their drinks. In countries like Russia, Coca-Cola localised the names using native names to synergise with the locals. However, in China, people don’t use initial names to address others. They prefer to address individuals by their last name. Therefore, Coca-Cola used taglines like “Share a Coke with your close friend or classmate.” The campaign brought impressive results for the brand, allowing them to bypass cultural constraints in China.
If we talk about app localisation, we must address the brilliant work done by Nintendo. Nintendo invests aggressively in in-app localisation, allowing them to customise their content for a specific demographic. They tailor the gaming experience by inducing local elements that appeal to the local audiences. Their strategies have helped them double their growth! They have also localised business steps like segment testing, product development, and content translation. Today Nintendo works with numerous localisation experts to develop marketing content. They also customise their official releases as per different markets. All this makes the brand deliver native gaming experiences while consistently maintaining the same level of satisfaction.
PUBG, developed by Brendan Greene, is a popular action game with more than 400 million users worldwide! The game is widely popular in countries like China, the USA, the UK, Germany, India, etc. Acquiring such a huge base was impossible without translating or localising the content. You see, gaming is all about “emotional experiences.” That is why the game features twelve languages, including English, allowing them to engage local audiences and develop stronger connections. PUBG enables users to experience the same thrill regardless of their language.
As discussed, localisation is more than translation! It allows you to capture, grow, and retain new markets in the global economy. By now, you must have understood how localisation provides a competitive advantage to brands.
But branding your business in an unfamiliar market is a challenge in itself. It would be best if you had insights and data that could highlight the preferences of your target audiences. Your business should partner with a professional translation and localisation company that can provide the right intellect and strategy to localise your content. Or else, poor translation and localisation can have severe business implications. Let’s evaluate them.
If your brand wants to establish itself in multicultural settings, you must launch global marketing campaigns in many languages. To achieve that, you need to curate and deploy your final content within a fast turnaround. Failing to do so will hinder global communication and growth.
Imagine you have set up a website to expedite your products and services. What if your newly launched website is unable to deliver the right translation? What if the terms, measurements, and product descriptions are inconsistent? If your website translates your content into inappropriate language, it will severely harm your brand’s reputation and may lead to financial loss.
Low-quality translation and localisation can pressure your customer executives. What if customers come to your website and raise support requests because they cannot understand the content? Therefore, your brand must ensure that support materials are localised for native markets.
A slow translation process can hinder your international success. Imagine during an international launch; you cannot push out your content. Local players can benefit from that situation by launching the same services or content before you. Therefore, you may lose business to local players if the translation takes too long.
No centralised control over the content will lead to inconsistent translations. Your brand messaging may become unreliable if your business partners or stakeholders use different translation suppliers.
Falling for ineffective translation solutions can add severely to your business cost. Without a translation management portal, you won’t be able to keep track of your actual spending on translation and localisation. Exporting requirements, importing, billing, etc., requires you to keep a central solution for costing visibility and control.
Today, 60 percent of the websites are in the English Language. According to a report by Statista, 26 percent of online users search using English keywords. It means that a massive online audience is underserved! Hence, localising your content is not enough to drive new clients. That is why brands need multilingual SEO and eCommerce Localisation.
Let’s break these two factors into separate segments.
E-Commerce localisation can help you achieve excellence in the international marketplace. It allows you to transform your online business’ content (an app or website) in a way that it resonates with the native audiences you are targeting. It can help your eCommerce website or app adhere to local regulations, preferences, format, or currencies.
Since there are numerous users on the internet from different linguistic backgrounds, your brand needs to adopt multilingual SEO optimization. It can support your business in addressing and engaging the rest of the world! For instance, if your eCommerce business is based in the USA, you might consider attracting non-American clients or visitors from non-English speaking countries. Your brand must optimise its SEO strategy to attract and engage them. You can get visibility across different languages and locations. You’ll get to attract more traffic and more growth compared to your competitors. It will also help you evaluate the demands of your international clients.
International expansion of your business demands huge investment and a lot of resources. Your brand needs to have financial & operational stability before you sign up for this change.
If you have figured out an existing customer base for your product in an international market, it’s good to expand. Ensure you invest in the right metrics and surveys to evaluate the market potential and size.
As a gradually progressing brand, never focus on entering all spaces simultaneously. First, you must determine which market you want to tap. You can choose a market closer to your location so that your new customers share the same dialect, behaviour, or culture. It would keep your brand’s initial cost of translation and localisation low. Similar market space shares the same business climate, size, innovations, etc.
Before opening up to the concept of “going global,” your business must prepare for the new markets. Brand messaging, marketing assets, logos, content, images, taglines, etc., must be localised to make your brand sound native. For this checkpoint, eCommerce localisation and multilingual SEO can be very effective tools.
Into23 has a deep supply chain of professional freelance translators in key markets who use the latest technology during the translation project. We have years of experience as a language translation agency in Hong Kong. Check out our Portal for central billing, reporting, and ordering solutions.
We also provide automated translation management, which allows us to distribute content at lightning speed. Apart from automated content management, our team also offers Automated Translation Quality Assurance to meet the highest compliance standards. We help you adapt your brand’s message to your target audience’s cultural norms. Businesses like yours can develop custom translation workflow and achieve impactful marketing translation.
Clients can leverage our neural machine translation engines for localising support documentation and FAQS. For your legal documents, you can utilise our native language translators. However, the post-editing process involves the manual presence of editors who correct the output. Allow us to take away your pain of managing translations! We respond to all incoming inquiries within 1 hour during our operational hours. Contact us now!
With more than 6000 languages worldwide how do you decide which ones to use for your business platforms? The belief that English is the language of business isn’t valid anymore with the increase and demand for online shopping, eLearning platforms, and eCommerce services like Shopify.
Historically, English has been the international business language but the emergence and reliance on the internet has completely altered the way we do business. In the mid-1990s, around 70 million people used the internet with Native English speakers making up for 80% of these users. However, today there is a whopping 4.6 billion internet users worldwide but English users make up for just 25.9% of that number.
If your business aims to enter the international market you need to speak to customers in their own language, meaning that integrating translation and localization into your business platforms is crucial. A survey performed by Common Sense Advisory looked at 2,430 different internet users across eight different countries and found that,
So while languages like English and Mandarin have long been some of the most important languages to learn for business, they are not the only ones to consider as eCommerce business continues to expand globally. Countries that have been on the sidelines in terms of global business now have a fast-growing number of internet consumers. Take a look at these top nine emerging languages for your business platforms.
Portugal is a relatively small European company but its language, Portuguese, has a large number of native speakers around the world, approximately 258 million.
Brazil is generally the main attraction in terms of business as Brazil is Latin America’s largest eCommerce market, it also ranks in the top five for the internet market as well as the smartphone market. Its growth has also not gone unnoticed, the British Council created a report on the ten most important languages for the future in the UK and Portuguese ranked in at number six.
Arabic is a widely spoken language, making for 274 million speakers globally. It’s also the official language of at least 23 different countries.
In the same report by the British Council that Portuguese ranked in, Arabic came in at second which, is no surprise as there are several Arabic-speaking countries that rank in the UK’s top 50 export market for goods.
Despite some of its political difficulties, many parts of the Middle East have a wealth of internet consumers and a steadily growing economy. With many Arab people only able to speak Arabic, translation services or localization is crucial for reaching this market.
Russian is spoken by 258 million people worldwide, with the majority of them located in Russia. Russia is the up and coming hotspot for eCommerce as Russia lacks a main eCommerce platform like Amazon which, makes them the last remaining major market without a dominant online retailer. According to Morgan Stanley, eCommerce sales in Russia could triple by 2023.
Capitalising on the Russian market will require, at minimum, eCommerce translation services, as the large majority of Russians do not speak English. The best method, of course, would be a localisation strategy from a certified translation company.
Hindi is the official language of India with 600 million people speaking it, that number in and of itself says a lot. While there are many other languages spoken in India, English has often been used to conduct business, however, that is changing. Hindi is quickly becoming more prominent among new entrepreneurs as 85% of India does not speak English. In a CSA Report, Hindi saw a gigantic 67% increase on the top 100 online languages chart, making Hindi a language and a market to pay attention to.
While Japan had a rough go after WWII it has since become one of the most rapidly growing eCommerce markets in the world. It’s estimated that 93% of the population in Japan use the internet and with 126 million Japanese speakers, it’s a consumer market worth noting.
Relatively few people in Japan speak English, meaning that to succeed in this market translation and localization will be required.
Indonesia is home to 277 million people and a rapidly growing eCommerce market, thanks to an increase in middle-class consumerism and a high percentage of smartphone use. In a report by McKinsey, the consulting firm has predicted that the value of the Indonesian eCommerce market will rise 800% by the end of 2022. To enter this market, translation and localization will be essential to your eCommerce business plan.
Korean itself doesn’t rank high in terms of the world’s most spoken languages but they do have nearly 47 million internet users and a very expansive and popular eCommerce market. Currently, 96% of the Korean population use the internet with its total eCommerce transaction sales amounting to 135 billion dollars USD in 2020 alone. This makes Korea a hub of interest for eCommerce business that is sure to continue growing.
77 million people speak Vietnamese and it is the main language of trade within Vietnam. With an increase in eCommerce consumerism, it’s predicted that Vietnam will have 70 million online shoppers by 2025. Engaging with the Vietnamese market and its consumers will require translation and localization as a crucial part of any eCommerce business plan.
Poland is the ninth largest country in Europe with 41 million people speaking Polish. Poland is already home to many eCommerce companies that operate in Europe and worldwide such as Amazon. Even United States officials have taken note of Poland and the importance of eCommerce on its economic development and its intense growth over the pandemic. It’s worth considering Polish when choosing what languages to add to your business platforms if this is a market you want to break into.
Into23 offers global language solutions with quality translation and localization services. With 24/7 accessibility and fast delivery, Into23 can transform your business to enter the global market and reach even more customers. Whether you’re looking to enter the Chinese market and need English to Chinese translation services or you want to step up your website or eLearning platform, Into23 specialises in helping companies with Asian languages. Getting a quote is easy, just show us your website for a free quotation on our translation services.