Content Localization Strategy: Where Should I Start?

Localization allows you to take your content and adapt it not only to the language needs of a new target market, but to their cultural needs as well. When localization is taken into account, content can be more effective, relatable, enjoyable, and has less potential to cause offense. For businesses who see the value of content localization, but don’t know where to get started, there are three easy steps you can follow to start building a content localization strategy. 

Step 1. Choose Your Target Market and Language

In some cases, choosing a target market and language to start with might be simple. You may only have one new market on your list. But larger businesses that are planning a massive global distribution of their product or content may need to narrow down their focus while they create a content localization strategy that they’re happy with.

In this case, a company should begin with their strongest markets where they already have an audience established. That way, they can focus on growing this audience instead of starting from scratch. Understanding your top-performing markets can help you narrow your focus. Depending on how large and diverse your target market is, you may need to plan different localization strategies that account for a variety of languages spoken and regional differences. For example, in the midwest of America the word “pop” is used commonly, whereas on the west coast the word “soda” is used to refer to the same type of fizzy beverage. If your target market is extremely large, there is the potential to use content localization to really narrow your focus and cater your content and services to a very niche target market. 

Step 2. Choose Content to Localize

While you will likely want to localize all of your content when launching in a new market, you need to choose where to get started. You can localize everything from mobile apps, to video subtitles, to ad copy. When deciding where to begin, you should start with your top-performing content. Whatever content has performed best at engaging with your audience and is getting the most attention is where you should focus most of your efforts.  

If after looking at your best-performing content, you’re still unsure of where to start, you can leverage international SEO (search engine optimization) insights. You can use SEO as a tool to learn more about what type of content people are searching for in your target market and can discover which parts of your content will be most relevant to them. 

Step 3. Choose the Right Translator

During any content localization project, choosing the right translator is of the utmost importance. You’ll want to work with a translator that is not only deeply familiar with the target language, but the target culture. Hiring a native translator can provide valuable insight into a localization project, as oftentimes native translators have the best insight into what makes their culture tick. The right translator will also help you create a solid content localization process that grows and improves over time. They can create a database of any cultural nuances, local industry jargon, and market-specific phrases that you’ll need to keep in mind for future localization projects in that market.

The Takeaway: Prioritize Content Localization Smartly

Remember, it’s important to narrow your focus when creating a content localization strategy. At the end of the day, localizing every last bit of content you create might not be possible (at least not in the immediate future). This is why it can be so helpful to prioritize which content will get the most out of content localization. Determining your key target markets, choosing the right content, and finding a great team, can all help you create a content localization strategy that will help you reach your goals.  

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