Skip to main content

You’re ready to send your content out into the world. You know you’ll need the help of translation services, but where do you start? And how can you make sure it goes to plan? Here’s what to prioritize at the outset of the project.

Launching a translation project can be daunting – whether it’s your first or your hundredth. There’s a lot to consider and one size doesn’t fit all.

For best results, don’t just jump in. Here are three key decisions you should make about your translation services – before getting the translators involved. They’ll allow you to get the most out of your budget and keep your projects on track.

1. PRIORITIZE YOUR MARKETS

A big global launch or one market at a time? Good question.

Netflix are a great case study. They expanded to 190 countries in eight years. And they’re attracting more international subscribers than in their domestic market. How did they make this happen?

Netflix expanded in phases, starting with markets that were culturally similar to the US (like Canada). They approached each market cautiously, with a service for early adopters. This allowed them to understand local consumer behaviour and learn crucial insights along the way. They could then mature their local product and prepare for the next market launch.

Internet research is no substitute for talking to on-the-ground customers or specialists. What is your ‘minimum viable product’? Make sure you’ve got your research straight before you scope the translation phase.

2. PRIORITIZE YOUR CONTENT

Can’t read, won’t buy. It’s simple really. 59% of international consumers never (or rarely) buy a product from an English website.

But is all text equally important? Probably not. So don’t feel you have to do everything all at once.

Start by translating the most important pages on your website (blog content can probably wait for now) and, if you have one, your app. They’re the easiest ways for customers to reach you, after all. Then prioritize your content based on its importance and your available resources.

Legal requirements for translation vary by country. For example, in France and Hungary, adverts must be accompanied by a translation. Privacy requirements vary, too. Make sure you comply with local laws as a priority.

Payment methods are a major hurdle when it comes to attracting international consumers. Your site should accommodate local payment preferences and show prices in the local currency. Not localizing these two factors can amount to 21% of abandoned shopping carts.

Finally, it makes sense to put your most creative translators on the most persuasive sections. For repetitive, low-visibility content, machine translation could be a better bet. That way, you can get more out of your team – and your translation services budget.

3. FIND YOUR TEAM

Mother-tongue speakers. Professional translators with relevant qualifications. Computer-aided translation tools. A quality management system. These are the basics all translation services should offer.

From there, consider what else you want to get out of your translation services. Tailored service? In-depth marketing knowledge? Digital expertise? International brand-building experience? What’s most important depends on your goals.

Here are a few other things you can do to make the translation process run more smoothly:

  1. Brief your team thoroughly. Tell them about your target audience, your brand and your campaign goals. Context counts.
  2. Leave enough time for a thorough job. Translation often happens close to the launch date and timelines get squeezed due to delays elsewhere. When translators have to work long hours, quality can suffer.
  3. Make introductions. If you have a sales team in your new country, will you ask them to review the translations? Then introduce your translators and reviewers at the outset. Give them a chance to discuss preferences, so there are no surprises later.

FINAL THOUGHTS

In the right hands, translation services are a cost- and time-effective route to reaching international audiences. Once you’re out of the starting gate, there are lots of ways to optimize your process to make it better, faster and cheaper. Watch out for our next article, where we’ll show you how.

Want to talk to us about translation? Check out our translation menu, then get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.