04/05/2011 Leave a comment
If your company is like most of the ones I’ve worked with, you have more content than you could possibly translate. Even if you have enough resources to translate all of your content, you’ll need to choose what to translate first. But what’s most important? How do you decide?
If you make the decision strategically you will have a plan that supports your objectives and meets your stakeholders’ expectations. What you need is input and discussion with your stakeholders:
• Is this content client-facing in foreign markets?
Materials that help Sales sell and Buyers buy is a pretty sure bet to be important in your company’s priorities.
• Does it include human resources or training documentation for employees in foreign markets?
If your staff in your new market needs to be specifically trained to make your market successful, then this material could be a prerequisite for any client-facing content.
• Would you face legal consequences if a client used your product incorrectly by misunderstanding the product documentation?
What’s the liability of your operations in your new market? If your customers need to be alerted to certain techniques or operations, then you should consider user manuals and product packaging to be the first order of business.
• Is the content for your website, as buyers are more likely to make web purchases in their own language?
Many companies sell and communicate mostly through their websites. If your company does too, then this is the most important content. Be sure that you localize the words, the navigation and the whole user experience to be sure you are consistent with language and cultural values. This is especially important on the web. The last thing you want is a prospective customer clicking on a translated tab, thinking they are going to a page in their native language, only for them to end up on a page in your native language – you just lost the sale!
You can find valuable perspectives on these questions by asking people in your company who are close to customers. First, know what you have by making an inventory of all of the material that you could translate. Then gather insights from people in sales, field marketing, customer support, and education and perhaps even your executive briefing center. But learn to keep the conversation at a strategic level, or ask for input on one area of content versus another. The reason for this is that most people will want everything translated — especially if someone else (you) is going to fund and manage it!
You can see by these points, the most important content to translate is the content that drives your business. Stay close to that strategy and you will find increasing support and appreciation for the work you’re doing because it will help to accelerate your company forward in your new market.