Helpful Tips on Online Multilingual Publishing for Startups
International startups that are looking toward online multilingual publishing face unique challenges. Through a variety of online channels, your company is zeroing in on more than cultural and linguistic details. We’ve compiled a list of five simple steps that will help your brand excel at its online multilingual publishing efforts.
1. Budget for Website Management
Thoroughly revamping or designing a new website for each language’s market is not cheap. Retaining the professionals to get each task accomplished should rank highly in your budget estimations. Either that or investing your own time (or your team’s) into learning everything you need to know.
Whether you’re overhauling an existing website or designing mirrored multilingual versions of the original, investing in your content is a smart move. The less you spend in revamping your website and translating content, the more risk you’re taking on. Cheap content won’t help your brand reach its target market since consumers expect a relatable online experience. Translated content riddled with errors or a format that’s unfamiliar to native users won’t deliver the results you need.
Successful global brands invest time and money into developing optimal user experience portals. That goes for more than websites and apps—social media channels require optimization specific to geographic location and other factors.
2. Adequately Research Target Markets
Thorough research is ideally your first step before throwing any money at a website, although having a budget in place beforehand helps. Reach out into the international online world and hone in on the key traits of your target market. This includes language, of course, but also cultural values and trends.
Developing unique content for each target market is a huge challenge in expanding through online multilingual publishing. Beyond text, you have images and symbols to develop or curate. Copy and paste content from existing English-language media, and you’re bound to run into misunderstandings and cultural gaffes.
DigitalGov points out that communicating with consumers requires more than a machine or automatic translation. This extends past linguistic quirks and language specifics. Conveying messages in a “culturally relevant manner” should remain your top priority, including visual and audio content.
Also, choosing the right platform to connect with target markets dictates a company’s overall reach. Market to Japanese consumers via Twitter, and you’re missing out on a huge segment of your audience. According to Statista’s numbers for 2015, Japan’s most popular social network is Facebook. Other geographic locations show a preference for media giants like Twitter or Google, but many favor smaller region-specific media platforms.
3. Establish Social Media Presence
If you’re expanding into international markets by duplicating websites into multiple languages, it only makes sense to follow those with social media activity. But as TarcBusinessReview explains, translating every post word-for-word for multiple outlets isn’t the way to go.
Localizing social media content requires the same investment as website content, in time and potentially money. If the goal is high quality communication, and effective marketing messages, then poorly translated or nonsense posts via social media are missing the mark.
Matching marketing messages to your brand in another language poses unique challenges, but the payoff is a wider audience that will more willingly engage. Authentic and custom-tailored content that addresses specific audiences is preferable to generic Google-translated copy.
4. Decide on Domains
SearchEngineLand’s comprehensive post on multilingual and multiregional SEO explores domain and URL structure in-depth. Each business will develop its own domain or URL structuring approach, depending on a variety of factors.
For example, a ccTLD domain option is expensive, but it provides clear geotargeting and separation of sites. A subdomain with gTLDs has a simpler setup, but geotargeting isn’t easily understood based on the URL only. Another option is to establish a subdomain for each location-based segment of a large website. If you’re keeping an eye on analytics and SEO, however, this might not be the cleanest choice.
Whether you choose a generic domain or a location-based one, it’s easier to strategize based on a global view as opposed to tackling each expansion separately. Developing a clear URL strategy from the start will help structure your online growth regardless of the market language.
5. Retain Expert Assistance
Hiring a location-specific consultant, a team of seasoned translators, or simply a tech professional with the coding know-how to get your website up and running is worth the investment. The key to international startups seeing success in online endeavors is creating a cohesive brand that reflects the values of the customer base.
Global brands who have mastered online multilingual publishing know that expanding into new markets is akin to starting a whole new business. Discover your target audience’s needs and interests, and market to them directly. Hone your brand’s message to fit the expectations of the consumer rather than expecting them to accept a loosely translated copy of the original.