Marketing Strategy

How to Manage Multilingual Content

By September 9, 2014 No Comments

multilingual-content

If your company is large and has multiple business units, it can be tricky to maintain your brand voice—especially when so many people are involved in developing, editing and distributing content. This challenge only escalates when writing for a global audience.

How do you manage multilingual content and ensure that it communicates your brand’s message in every target language? Here are a few tips.

Use Standardized, Translation-Friendly Writing Practices

When you have multiple authors developing content for multiple markets, the key to consistency is creating a defined set of rules and expectations around your process.

But what does that mean exactly? It means that all content authors should understand how to write with a global audience in mind. For instance, analogies and idioms may be witty and intriguing to audiences in your own language, but they’ll likely miss the mark in other cultures. Authors should avoid phrases, words, or references that may be misconstrued in other languages.

Outside of writing with translation in mind, you also want to standardize the tone and style of your writing across the organization. You can do this in a variety of ways.

Creating a style guide for content development can give writers guidance to provide more consistency across pieces. The goal is to get everyone on the same page. Also, tools that organize workflows ensure timely review and translation.

Clue in Your Linguists with Multilingual Reference Materials

Translation quality can be subjective. Just think of how many ways your authors can write one sentence. Though the meaning is the same, the tone and style can easily change. The same goes for translation.

Multilingual reference materials, like style guides and glossaries, provide linguists with background information about your company and give guidance to ensure that your message aligns with your brand identity. This eliminates time spent reworking stylistic errors that could have easily been avoided from the start of the project.

For example, you can lay out all the terms that shouldn’t be translated (such as product names or industry terms), word choice, tone preferences, and more. The more guidance you give linguists, the better. Just check out Microsoft’s many—and very detailed—style guides.

Your translation team can help you create these tools and more that will help you improve your translations.

Centralize All Your Efforts in One Translation Management System

To take your brand consistency up a notch—and ensure that it follows through to translation—it’s a good idea to centralize all your global content in one translation management system.

A translation management system streamlines your workflow and makes managing translation projects much easier. It also hosts all your organization’s previously translated material, also known as translation memory (which can help your global branding efforts).

When people in your organization submit content for translation, your organization’s translation memory is applied at the start. If any sentences, headings, etc. (also known as segments) match a previous translation, they’re automatically pulled and don’t need to be retranslated. Of course, a linguist still looks over the previously translated segment to ensure that it makes sense in context.

Because you’re all pulling from the same repository of previously translated material, the translation will remain consistent across the board. Not to mention you can save a lot of money on translations using this technology over time—since the more content you translate, the larger your pool of already-translated segments becomes. And those reused segments cost less per word in future translations compared to new word rates.

Centralizing all this data when you have multiple departments and divisions is not an easy undertaking, but it has significant benefits—and your translation team can make the process as smooth as possible. Check out Centralizing your Translation Program: 4 Ways Your Entire Organization Will Benefit to learn more.

Global content management doesn’t have to make your head spin. Define your process and communicate these preferences to linguists, and your brand will have one strong voice—no matter what language your audience speaks.

How do you manage your organization’s global content authoring process? What strategies do you use to get everyone working in tandem?

Rachel Chilson

About Rachel Chilson

Rachel works in marketing at Sajan, a leading language translation and localization provider with offices around the globe. Check out more tips at www.sajan.com/blog