Global Content Strategy: What Content Should You Translate and in What Order?

If you’re thinking of expanding globally, you may have already translated some of your content.

Creating a global content strategy is a bit confusing. There’s so much content, and so many different touch points in the buyer’s journey. Where should you start?

In this post, we’ll list our recommended order of content to translate, as well as what kind of translators you should work with for each kind of content.

Do you need to translate your content?

Before diving into the world of translation – hold your horses. You may not need to, and you want to be sure it’s going to be worth the investment for you.

If you want to translate everything but can only afford machine translation (meaning you have no budget), your brand and reputation may be better off not translating anything at all. 

You’ll want to first calculate whether translation can actually help your bottom line, and if so, who the right person to do it is.

You may need different translators for different kinds of texts: if you sell children’s books, the people translating your books (children’s literature translators) aren’t going to be the same people who translate your Facebook ads, even if they’re still about children’s books.

First, let’s take a look at what your goals are with translation.

Setting translation expectations

One thing we don’t do enough is define what success means.

Imagine six months have passed after you’ve spent a few thousand on translation. You say: “well, that worked out how I wanted it to!”

What would that look like, reasonably speaking?

Set your key performance metrics (KPI) beforehand, so that you can measure how successful your translation efforts are as you move along the below steps. 

We wrote a guide to calculating translation ROI, which you can read here.

In that article, we list what KPIs translation affect, and we explain how to test whether you’ll get a good response from translation before you decide to invest in it.

Translating important documents

If you plan to attract an international audience to your website and products, you’ll have to look at the most important documents first. For example, most privacy laws across the world require you to have a privacy policy that can be clearly and succinctly understood by anyone who visits your website.

The GPDR itself says the language should be so clear and plain that a child can understand it. So before you decide to translate parts of your website, know that most places will require your privacy policy to be translated in clear and plain language.

You’ll need legal translators for these kinds of documents.

Facebook ads, PPC and landing pages

Before diving into translating your whole website, you may want to consider translating just a landing page and some ads that go to it. These will help fill your sales pipeline while allowing you to gauge your target audience’s reaction.

Here, you’ll need translators that are specialised in ad copy.

Translating and localizing your website

If you get some traction from your translated ads and landing pages, translating your whole website is the next natural step. Translation is usually charged by volume. However, if the translator needs to physically extract the content themselves they’ll charge for the extra time. 

In order to make the most of your content, you should extract all your website copy onto a word or Google Docs document. Remove the pages that don’t make sense for the language you’re translating into. For example, if you’re a law firm in Belgium and you have a service helping local SMEs incorporate, it would make sense to translate those pages into French and Flemish, but maybe not so much into Spanish.

You’d have to do some testing to see which parts make most sense for translation. For this part of your internationalisation process, you should work with translators that understand SEO and web copy.

Localizing your product, app and UX copy

It’s usually when you begin to gain traction on your multilingual website that it will make sense to translate your actual product. After all, if you translate your product before, you might fail to attract the audience that would use it. On the other hand, if you get a lot of traffic and some conversions, but your product’s not in their language, your leads might start to fall off at the end of the funnel.

At this point in your international expansion, you’ll want to find translators that specialise in product, packaging or app localisation. Specifically, they should understand UX copy and how it works with design (including character limitations)!

Translating your blog

Translating your blog is one of the last translations you should invest in. You should first have all of the above going and showing traction. That’s because blogs are a consistent, long-term investment. You need to have all the other elements in place before you invest in translating your blog.

However, translating your blog is a remarkable way to drive traffic. You just need to have the funnel in place to convert that traffic so that you can get a return on your investment.

In this case, you’ll want a translator that specialises again in SEO and who understands your target persona well. 

Translating social media content

Your systems are all in place and you should be now acquiring a good deal of international customers. It may be time to start a multilingual social media strategy. We recommend creating separate social accounts for each language. Posting in several languages on one account can confuse your followers – nobody likes to see content they can’t understand.

You can have the same translator who does your blog translate this content – but not all social media content may work for all languages. Be sure to consult with your translator to see which content works best for your target audience.

Translating your email marketing content

If your funnel has a healthy growth rate, you can start segmenting your audience based on their online behaviour. You should be able to see where they’re coming from using tools like Google Analytics. Use contact tags in your email service provider to tag their online behaviour, and start segmenting them based on language or region.

As your multilingual blog grows and you gain enough traffic, you can segment them into language-specific lists and send them personalised content in their own language.

You can work with the same translator that did your blog and social media (if your goal is delivering value & newsletters to your audience). If your goal is sales emails, you should work with a translator who specialises in email marketing & sales. 

Where will you start your translation process?

Every business is different, so you may not follow this exact process. But this is a good structure for many. Where did you or will you start your translation process? Have you ever set your goals for translation beforehand?

Haven’t started yet? Get in touch. We can advise and our team of professional and specialised translators can help you at every step of the way.

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