Last week’s post introduced content localization, which is the process of tailoring content for specific areas. Today’s post extends that topic with several content localization tips for business writing.
Sometimes content localization requires complete translation, and sometimes it adapts the existing language for cultural or geographic differences. If your business has international customers or clients, you may want to localize the following material:
- Website content
- Website interfaces (e.g., menus, call-to-action buttons, contact forms)
- Blog posts
- Business cards
- Product descriptions in print and online catalogs
- Scripts for telephone and online customer service representatives
- Scripts for radio and television commercials
- Print and online advertisements
- Signs and banners
- Instructions and manuals
- Case studies and white papers
- Legal notices
Here are a few suggestions for individual entrepreneurs or small businesses that may not have access to a dedicated localization team:
- Recruit a member of the target audience—or someone very familiar with the target audience—to analyze the content for cultural or geographic issues (before translation, if translation is necessary). If you have a lot of material, you may need more than one analyst.
- Review all of the graphics, photographs, audio files, and videos associated with the text.
- Hire a professional translator from the target audience or a translator very familiar with the target audience.
- Conduct usability tests with a variety of people associated with the target audience.
- Reevaluate localized content on a regular basis, particularly if your target audience lives in an area with frequent political or cultural shifts.
Remember that your international clients or customers may appreciate some of the cultural or language differences that appear in your content, particularly if you are in a creative industry. As such, you should be wary of completely sanitizing your own geographic or cultural voice.
My Very Occasional Book Review Series will return next week with a look at Blog Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho.