Avoid These Mistakes When Localizing Your Content

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Welcome back to the B2B Growth Show. We are here today with Craig Witt. He is the EVP of Global Sales, Marketing and Go-To-Market at MotionPoint. Craig, how you doing today?

Doing fantastic. Thanks for having me.

I’m really excited to chat with you today. Craig, we’re going to be talking about globalization in content marketing and how companies that are entering new markets in different parts of the world … How they need to be thinking about their content as it gets translated into new markets. But before we can into that, you guys are … MotionPoint is doing some incredible things in the space. Can you explain what Motion Point is for listeners that aren’t familiar with you guys and really help them understand why you’re the guy to be talking about this?

Sure. So thank you. What MotionPoint does and what we set out to do is solve the operational complexity and cost of websites and digital channel globalization. We have technology and workflows from a turnkey perspective that are built to translate, deploy and operate multilingual websites. The goal there is to really optimize the customer experience across all of their digital channels.

Written Content

I love it. So, Craig, we’re just going to dive right in. We’ve got a lot of stuff that I want to talk about. When it comes to … You’re going into a new market, we’re going to first start with … Talking about written content. As your thinking about the globalization of handling the translation and localizing content, you talked earlier about of a need for a style guide having a glossary … Can you talk to us … Really dive into specifics of what do brands need to be thinking about when they first start to take on content marketing in a part of the world that is foreign to them.

Sure. My experience on this topic is really working backwards. So it’s the market that you’re targeting to go into understanding all the appropriate cultural nuances and making sure that, if you’re using as an example English as your origin site or origin for content and specifics, not necessarily a website, that you work backwards and create style guides, create the appropriate glossary for how you want certain phrases, certain segments, certain words to be translated and represented. Also, looking at it from a branding perspective and making sure that there are definitions of how you want that brand represented locally so you get the proper experience and engagement by the targeted audience in those local markets.

Alright. When someone is trying to figure out what those cultural nuances are, what have you found … For the content marketer that is tasked with this undertaking, are there things they can do or are there resources they can leverage to really inundate themselves in understanding like, “Okay, who are these folks that we’re actually trying to reach? How can I learn the cultural nuances?” Is it a matter of actually going there doing a site visit? Or are there so many resources online that you can do it virtually? What are your thoughts there Craig?

Yeah, great question. So there are resources online that you can study and try to understand those types of things. How the content should be received to be appropriately … How it should be written to be appropriately received. You can go to organizations that are very similar to what MotionPoint does who have the years and years of experience in assisting brands to go into new markets. Getting that intel on how it’s been done for like brands, like products and get the proper guidance. That’s what we do for our customers and we’ve gone into every market available worldwide and really give that proper guidance. You don’t have to just get it from MotionPoint. You can get it online, you can get it from other resources that are available to understand that. We’ve actually also seen to where there have been small sample groups that go before the content is getting written and spend some time speaking with the target audience that they’re trying to engage with. Not just from the … So when you expand from the written content to also understanding what digital channels are important to them, how they want to consume the content across those channels. If they’re interested, then video, audio and other forms of displaying content.

Don’t Neglect Translated Content

Got it. Alright. Another thing that you and I talked about Craig offline … We talked about how so many people they put so much effort and they focus on all different types of optimization and they put so much emphasis on their origin site, but they tend to neglect the translated content that they’ve created. Can you speak to that a bit and why that’s a mistake that people need to avoid, especially as their approaching of creating content in new markets?

Yeah, it’s a very common mistake that’s made. There are certain ways from a design perspective in the way that you’re looking at how your content and what channels it’s going to reside on. Believe it or not James, most of the time it’s forgotten. It’s forgotten as so much emphasis is being put on the origin site that they forget about the other channels and making sure that the content is written and put into the right format that really will get the highest level of SCL. It’s really bringing it to their attention that, “Hey it’s important. Just because your origin site is been optimize for a search engine, doesn’t mean that your translated website or your translated channels will behave in the same fashion.” We worked with the organization and consulted and then there are technologies out there that can be put into place to ensure that all translated website receive the same level of planning and quality that the origin does.

Avoid Local

I love it. So, Craig, are there … We were talking offline about this idea of hiring local resources to translate content, which I could totally see why that makes sense. You want somebody local to that area that can understand some cultural nuance. Talk to us about why that’s actually not the direction that you want to go when you’re thinking about how you’re going to get this content translated.

Sure. What happens is the brand becomes very inconsistently represented across the market. So if you work backwards, the local translation will probably be spot on. The localization will be spot on but what gets lost is the actual representation, the consistency of the representation of the brand. Through my experiences of working with companies that have been tackling this big challenge is that we start with the origin. We start with, “Here’s the definition. Here’s how we want our brand to be represented in specific markets,” and the work towards those markets with the translation and localization being done in that fashion. A lot of companies out there to say, “Hey, we’ll just hire employees. We’ll hire employees. We’ll put them in the markets. We’ll have them look at some of our content. We’ll have them translate the content.” But they don’t have the full picture view of how that brand needs to be consistently represented across all markets.

Yeah, it makes perfect sense not having … Hiring someone local not having that context is not necessarily something I would’ve considered so I appreciate you sharing that Craig. This last piece that I want to talk about has to do with the video. It seems like everybody and their mom wants to talk about video and the importance of video and how you need to be doing video. So when it comes to entering a new market and you need video content that is translated to the local market that you’re trying to serve, what do people need to be thinking about as they approach video content in foreign markets?

My experience is that it’s very similar to the written content but they also need to take into consideration cause it also becomes very expensive if you have your origin video and then also want to produce locally video just to me the appropriate cultural nuances. What we have found and there are alternatives in the marketplace … It just so happens that MotionPoint addresses this, is being able to take the video from the inception … It can be on the origin website or it can be some other digital channel … Be able to take that, translate it, translate the closed caption piece. Translate, of course, the audio and then, based on what is put into the glossary and the style guide, actually translate and adjust the images that will be represented in the local markets.

And just so …

It’s a hard problem to solve and it really takes a lot of thought and preparation. It really takes technology to do it.

Got it. So the video that you’re talking about is the video that has stock imagery that’s … It’s not like a talking-head video or overly produced videos. You’re talking about the video that can have background content that can be replaced so that it’s contextual to the area?


Got it. Wonderful. Awesome Craig. Well, I appreciate you sharing this insight with us. This is not something … I’m not sure that we’ve ever talked about this on B2B Growths. So, I appreciate you coming in and sharing your wisdom with us. If there’s somebody listening and they want to stay connected with you … They want to learn more about MotionPoint, what’s the best way for them to go about doing that?

I can be found on LinkedIn. Name again is Craig, C-R-A-I-G, Witt, W-I-T-T. Very active on LinkedIn. Share a lot of thought leadership content and then, of course, they’re some there with MotionPoint. Also, MotionPoint has a LinkedIn homepage, landing page and then our website is full of really good thought leadership content. That’s just the motionpoint.com.

Awesome Craig. Well, thank you so much for your time today. This has been fantastic and I really appreciate it.

James Carbary

Founder at Sweet Fish Media

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