Multilingual Marketing Translation Personalizes Better, Reaches Further

According to a new Smartling study on the current state of multilingual marketing, polling more than 150 marketers at INBOUND 2015, to learn where their organizations stand in terms of targeting prospects and customers who do not speak English as their native language both in and outside of the U.S., the majority of respondents are not targeting multilingual audiences with translated content and authentic, localized experiences.

Given the fact that the most significant population growth and increases in purchasing power are occurring in parts of the world where English is either not spoken or is not the preferred language, these survey findings are startling, says the report.

Key results from the survey include:

  • More than half of all respondents (52.6%) are either not translating at all or are only translating into one language
  • 48% of the marketers surveyed have no budget at all for translation outside of the U.S.
  • 59% of respondents do not have any money allocated to reach multilingual audiences within the U.S.
  • 86% of marketers admit that they generate US-centric content and then translate it for a particular market. However, only 14% of organizations create original content, and employ local/native marketers in the countries where they are seeking to expand their business

Every savvy marketer knows that personalized content and messaging are crucial to engaging prospects and customers, says the report, yet a low percentage of the marketers surveyed are dedicating any dollars to campaigns tailored for multilingual audiences.

Judd Marcello, vice president of marketing at Smartling, says “… brands that want to resonate with consumers all over the world need to do more than just ‘think’ globally… they need to dedicate budget and resources to a truly global approach… “

The research also found that few organizations surveyed are conducting business outside of U.S. borders today, despite the fact that 13 languages together cover 90% of today’s online spending power, says the report. Those who do serve overseas markets are not focused on creating native brand experiences for prospects and customers:

  • 49.34% of respondents report that five percent or less of their customer base is located outside of the U.S.
  • Of the respondents who are marketing to multilingual audiences in some way, only 15% are very confident that their messages are resonating with them

It’s widely acknowledged that no one size fits all, especially in marketing, says the report. Yet, despite that fact, marketers are still limiting their content strategies to one language and are predominantly applying only one translation/localization practice.

Among the companies that are translating, a few still rely on machine translation (8.6%); many rely on human translators (42.1%); 14.5% use both; and others are beginning to use translation management software (4.6%).

Marcello concluded, “… translation is the most fundamental step in personalization… many (marketers) see only two distinct approaches… human translation services and machine translation… to effectively engage global customers in a personalized way… multilingual management software… can combine… the essential human element with innovative technology… to easily add languages… (that) ensures native experiences across all their touchpoints… ”

To view an infographic on the survey results, please visit here.


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