Hotels.com now supports in 38 languages: A website for desktop computers A website for smartphones An App for smartphones An App for the iPad Most Fortune 500 companies support 20+ languages for desktop computer websites but offer mobile and apps in 1 or 2 languages Bottom line - Realistically, most companies will never be able to offer the hotels.com level of localization. Most businesses will need to think strategically about choosing the right platform for each market based on informed Content Decisions and accurate Customer segmentation. This is an International Marketing challenge NOT an IT challange.
Human translation is expensive and in fact there are insufficient resources in the world to translate the ballooning amounts of content on the web. Big advances recently in Machine Translation (MT) mean that some types of content can now be made available that otherwise wouldn't get translated. Microsoft has used MT to translate >50 million words of technical documentation in its knowledge base into 6 languages.At an average of 20c per word, this would result in a cost of 60 million dollars to translate using human translators. While MT will never be suitable for translating marketing communications or other texts, it has possibilities for making accessible large amounts of texts like technical documentation that might not otherwise be accessible. [ Raw machine translations should always be identified as such to alert the reader to the possibility of mistranslation or the raw translation should be post-edited by human translators to fix any issues]. Example : http://www.hia.ie/ uses google translate widget. Its highly unlikely that the HIA would ever be able to afford to translate their content into anything but one or two languages. However, the HIA content is complex for even an english speaker to understand - including the widget on the site allows the HIA to make some small effort to facilitate the 15% of people resident in Ireland whose mother tongue is not English.
There is more to SEO than Google in International. If recruiting an SEO agency, ask about experience with other Search Engines especially if your target market is one where Google is a minor player. Social Media strategy that works in one country may not be necessarily portable to another. Make decisions about whether to pursue a standardized or localized approach to SM. Portability will depend on the amount of resources needed to run a social media campaign in a local market, the effectiveness of the SM channels chosen locally. Decide on what the SM goals are for each market - awareness, engagement, traffic - what the best channels are for achieving these goals are within your constraints.
Standardization Vs Localization. Rule of thumb: Product or service that involves high level of self expression is more culturally sensitive and requires lots of customization [e.g. B2C offering] Product or service that involves low level of self expression can benefit from a standardized approach.[B2B offering]
International Customer Segments: 'Patriots' - online customers who identify strongly with their national culture - shun foreign products and services in the form of websites. Hard to reach with a standardized, global approach. Look for local domain name and site in native language before engaging. 'World Citizens' - Opposite to Patriots - expanded sense of global identity and low sense of nationalism. Most amenable to standardized global messaging and products - often though not always multilingual. 'Glocals' - As name suggests both global and local in their orientation - open to global products and offerings but expect to be addressed in their own language in a culturally sensitive way - demand a high level of website localization - language, design, navigation, t&cs, shipping, payment methods etc 'Mini-I' - consumers that are low on national identity and global influences - difficult to assess and reach. Identity constructed on something other than national cultural identity e.g. Politcial, religious ideology etc. This segment may be open to foreign products but emphasis should be on self-interest rather than localized marketing messages. [ Sara and Dara - the Islamic Ken and Barbie http://zellamalendah.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/barbie-reconsidered-the-others-fulla-sara-and-razanne/ ] Bottom line -how many of your target customers fall into each category will influence how much you need to adapt your approach.[ The promise of the internet is that once you have a website your business is global and that we are all or will become 'world citizens'. How many lucrative opportunities are missed because of this oversimplification?]
Decide on local content and messaging first- delivery platforms and technology second. Decide what content is 'constant' or standard across all regions and which content is 'variable' depending on the region Make sure you have adequate resources and tools to keep local market data fresh, relevant and good quality. Reduce 'latency' - make sure that standard content appears on all country sites simultaneously. [Harder than it sounds if different languages involved] Having local content drives traffic, awareness and engagement.
'Cloud-sourcing' translation/localization services previously only available to Big companies now possible for SMEs e.g. Low cost App localization - www.tethras.com e.g. Turnkey web site translation - http://www.smartling.com/
Enterprise Ireland, March 2012 - AMAS Fiachra Ó Marcaigh
Customisation and localisation forinternational marketsFiachra Ó Marcaigh, Director, AMASEnterprise Ireland conference8 March 2012www.amas.ie www.amas.ie
Agenda• Introduction• Online trends • Why the internet matters • How buyers use the internet• New markets • 12 steps to going global • Examples – what to do, what to avoid• The takeawayswww.amas.ie
About AMASSpecialists in internetstrategiesSupported 30+ businesses to•Enter international markets•Raise awareness•Grow salesLeading provider underEnterprise Ireland eBMIprogramme www.amas.ie
Web 2.0 - digital portfolio Content sharing User-generatedYour website(s) Blogs content Email newslettersSocial networks Syndication Mobile and Tablet Search engine profile Multiple channels to build brands, transact business Extranet and manage reputations www.amas.ie
Have a content strategy Content marketing• Local content and messaging first• Standardised (all markets vs. variable Case studies by market “Unconferences”• Adequate resources and tools• Synchronise updates Academic contributions PR Webinars “Meetups” White paperswww.amas.ie
12. Measure, measure, measure “Mathematics is as important to creativity when building brandsPatrick Kennedy, online”CEO, Paddy Power “The sexiest jobs at Google will centre around mining data” John Herlihy, www.amas.ie European Director, Google
The takeaways• Plan How does internet support your business strategy?• Localise and customise How best to match local market requirements?• Manage How to deliver a complex (or simple) internet presence?• Learn How to build your knowledge, skills and stay on top of internet trends? Enterprise Ireland’s eBMI programme is a good place to startwww.amas.ie
Thank you For queries, please contact: •firstname.lastname@example.org •(01) 661 0499www.amas.ie