The Secrets to Create Multilingual Content That Convert

Author: Veruska Anconitano, Multilingual SEO & Globalization ConsultantAuthor information
About the author
Veruska Anconitano
Veruska is a International Expansion Specialist focused on Multilingual SEO and Globalization with 24 years of expertise working with brands wanting to enter non-English speaking markets.
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If the title caught your attention, let’s be honest: there’s no magic formula for creating multilingual content that converts. If there were, we’d all be millionaires.

The demand for multilingual content is skyrocketing. According to the Global News Wire, the global translation services market is expected to reach a value of 53.5 billion USD by 2032, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.7% from 2022 to 2032. At the same time, the market size of global content services platforms is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.3% until 2030. The increasing need for multilingual content across various industries drives this growth.

I’ve been involved in multilingual content for a long time, starting as a creator/journalist and then moving into roles as a strategist, project manager, and analyst. Over time, things have changed a lot, and communicating across languages has become essential for many businesses today. Multilingual content creation is crucial for expanding their reach and engaging a diverse audience. It means crafting content in multiple languages to resonate culturally and contextually with different audience segments.

However, multilingual content is only necessary when a company has a clear globalization plan. This plan should extend from content to paid media, support, physical logistics, and social media in all the languages you want to create content for. Without such a plan, creating content in multiple languages can become a hassle and often a waste of money, time, and resources.

Like everything in the global market, multilingual content creation is about connecting with your audience, understanding their needs, respecting their linguistic preferences, and acknowledging the cultural nuances that influence how they consume content.

In this article, I’ll cover the crucial aspects of multilingual content creation, from its significance in the global market to strategies and best practices. I will also discuss the challenges that come with it and how to overcome them, providing a comprehensive guide for anyone looking to excel in this field.

What Is Multilingual Content?

Multilingual content can be seen in two ways: original content creation tailored to each market and the repurposing and translation/localization of content across markets. A well-oiled company should implement both strategies but prioritize the one that aligns best with each market, considering users’ expectations, needs, and pain points.

For example, a US company looking to expand into South Korea should focus on creating original content tailored to local tastes and digital behaviors, as the cultural nuances and language are highly specific. Let’s take, for example, a company interested in promoting a skincare line; it would benefit from producing content that aligns with South Korean beauty trends and standards, distinct from those in the US.

Conversely, when expanding into Australia, where English is the primary language and cultural differences are less pronounced, repurposing and localizing existing content might be more efficient and effective. For instance, the same skincare company could adapt its US-based content with minor adjustments to reflect local Australian preferences, ensuring the message remains relevant without needing entirely new content.

Benefits of Multilingual Content for Businesses

The Importance of Multilingual Content in a Global Market

Multilingual content can significantly boost a company’s global reach and improve its brand image.

Starting with market expansion, multilingual content allows companies to connect directly with a wider audience by communicating in their languages. This approach not only taps into larger markets but also increases user engagement and improves the chances of converting visitors into customers. Communicating in a customer’s native language makes your brand more approachable and relatable.

Additionally, providing content in various languages deepens customer relationships. It demonstrates a commitment to cultural sensitivity and respect, fostering trust and enhancing brand loyalty. Customers are likelier to feel strongly connected to a brand that acknowledges and respects their culture.

From an online perspective, multilingual content can boost search engine optimization across different regions. By tailoring content for specific markets, companies can draw more organic traffic, expand their digital presence, and improve their standings in local search results.

Ultimately, creating multilingual content is a strategic decision that involves understanding local consumer behaviors, cultural nuances, and regional trends. This insight is vital for developing content that truly resonates with each target audience and supports effective global marketing strategies. This careful, informed approach increases market penetration and establishes a strong, enduring global presence for the brand.

Key Strategies for Developing Multilingual Content

content multilingual

Identifying Target Languages and Cultures

The foundation of successful multilingual content creation lies in choosing the right target languages and understanding the associated cultures. Businesses must conduct thorough market research and identify which languages their current and potential customers speak. This goes beyond language selection; it involves understanding cultural norms, values, and consumer behavior in each region. Knowing your audience well ensures the content is linguistically accurate, culturally relevant, and engaging.

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Collaborating with Native Speakers and Experts

Working with local people and cultural experts is imperative for creating an authentic multilingual content strategy. Local speakers understand the nuances, idioms, and expressions unique to their language, ensuring the content feels natural and engaging to the local audience. Cultural experts provide insights into local customs and preferences, helping to avoid cultural misunderstandings or offenses. This collaborative approach improves the quality and effectiveness of the content, making it more relatable and impactful for each audience segment.

Avoid this!
A common mistake is to assume that someone who speaks the language is automatically a local expert. While language proficiency might suffice for some company needs, local and native people often provide the most value. They should collaborate with non-native speakers, but they should be considered the primary source of local expertise.

Balancing Brand Consistency with Local Adaptation

Creating multilingual content requires balancing maintaining the brand’s voice and message consistency and adapting to different linguistic and cultural landscapes. The goal is to ensure that while the content is tailored to local contexts, it still aligns with the overall brand identity. This balance is key to delivering a coherent brand experience across all markets, enhancing global appeal while respecting local nuances.

Best Practices for Multilingual Content Creation

Creating content from scratch

Creating content from scratch in a multilingual context often produces better results than merely translating existing material. Due to cultural and contextual differences, content created in one language may not resonate well in another. Therefore, developing original, engaging, and useful content tailored to each local audience is essential.

When creating content from scratch, consider the specific country and the audience’s needs. Identify topics that will resonate with your target demographic in each region, taking into account cultural nuances and preferences. Delivering content in the preferred language of your audience ensures your message is accessible and impactful, fostering a stronger connection with diverse audiences across the globe. This approach enhances engagement and builds trust and loyalty among your international customers.

Translating/localizing content

If you decide to translate instead of creating from scratch, you must remember that language accuracy and cultural sensitivity are the cornerstones of effective multilingual content. Localizing content rather than translating it is crucial when translating content from one language to another. Localization involves adapting the content to suit cultural, societal, and linguistic nuances, ensuring it resonates with the local audience.

Localization includes considering local customs, humor, idioms, and regional dialects. It also involves modifying images and design elements, adjusting content to local regulations and norms, and sometimes altering the content structure to appeal more to local preferences. Avoiding direct translations is crucial, as they can lead to misinterpretations or cultural insensitivity. Instead, focus on conveying the intended meaning and emotion of the original content in a culturally relevant manner. The goal is to create content designed for that specific market, enhancing its effectiveness and relatability.

Testing and Feedback

Whether translating existing content or creating new ones, conducting thorough testing before launching your multilingual content to ensure its effectiveness and appropriateness is essential. Use focus groups, surveys, and A/B testing to gather feedback from local audiences. This feedback will help you identify any areas that need adjustment and ensure your content resonates well with the target demographic. Continual testing and refinement based on audience feedback are essential to maintaining the relevance and impact of your multilingual content.

Challenges in Multilingual Content Creation

Managing Consistency Across Languages

Ensuring consistency in tone, style, and messaging across multiple languages is a major challenge in multilingual content creation. This consistency is crucial for maintaining a strong brand identity and clear message. To address this, businesses should develop comprehensive style guides and glossaries that outline specific language use, terminology, and branding elements in all the languages and markets they want to cover. These resources help content creators and translators understand the brand voice, ensuring uniformity across different languages.

Keeping Track of Changes

When translation/localization is involved, centralized content management systems that integrate with translation tools can help track changes and updates effectively. When content is translated from one source language to a target language, it is highly recommended that a Translation Memory (TM) system be utilized to sync content, translations, and variations. This ensures that all language versions are synchronized and updated simultaneously, maintaining consistency and coherence.

Maintaining Quality and Accuracy

Maintaining the quality and accuracy of multilingual content is another significant challenge. High-quality translations and content creation require skilled translators or writers proficient in the target language and deeply understanding the subject matter. Implementing a rigorous quality assurance process, including multiple rounds of editing and proofreading by native speakers, ensures that the content meets high standards.

It is crucial to regularly update and review the content to reflect changes in language use, market trends, and customer preferences. This continuous improvement process helps maintain the content’s relevance and accuracy over time.

Streamlining Workflow and Communication

Efficient workflow and communication between all parties involved in multilingual content creation are essential to overcome challenges. Establishing clear communication channels and project management tools can help coordinate efforts between content creators, translators, editors, and other stakeholders. Regular meetings and updates ensure everyone is on the same page, reducing the likelihood of errors and inconsistencies.

Who is in Charge of Multilingual Content Creation?

Multilingual content creation involves a diverse team of professionals working to ensure the content meets linguistic requirements and aligns with the organization’s strategic goals. By coordinating the efforts of these various professionals, organizations can create effective multilingual content that engages diverse audiences and supports global business objectives. Each role is crucial for ensuring the content is accurate, culturally relevant, and aligned with the company’s strategic goals.

Content Managers and Translators/Localization Managers

Content Managers and Localization Managers are central in overseeing multilingual content creation. They are responsible for setting the overall language strategy, selecting appropriate markets for content deployment, and managing translators and content creators teams. These people ensure that the content is accurate and culturally relevant. They work closely with Project Managers to coordinate timelines and logistics, ensuring that multilingual content is delivered efficiently and on schedule.

Project Managers

Project managers are important for the smooth execution of multilingual content projects. They handle the timelines, resources, and coordination necessary to deliver content across various languages. Their role includes liaising with translators, content creators, and other stakeholders to ensure all aspects of the project are aligned and progressing as planned. Effective project management helps prevent delays and ensures that the final content meets the required standards.

Chief Content Officers and Directors of Global Strategy

On the executive side, Chief Content Officers (CCOs) or Directors of Global Strategy oversee the broader content initiatives. These executives ensure that multilingual content integrates seamlessly with the company’s global business objectives. They make key decisions about entering new markets and adapting the company’s presence to different cultural contexts. Their strategic oversight ensures that the multilingual content efforts support and enhance the company’s global growth and brand consistency.

Cultural Consultants

Cultural consultants are extremely important for creating multilingual content. They not only provide insights into local customs, idioms, and preferences but also help understand what’s appropriate and what’s not, among many other things. This collaboration ensures that the content is correctly translated or created from scratch and resonates with the target audience in each market.

Quality Assurance Specialists

Quality Assurance (QA) specialists are critical in reviewing and refining multilingual content. They conduct thorough checks to ensure the content is accurate and culturally appropriate. QA specialists also ensure the content meets the brand’s standards and the target audience’s expectations. Their work helps maintain the quality and integrity of the content across different languages.

The Role of SEO in Multilingual Content Creation

While SEO is essential in maximizing online visibility, its importance in multilingual content creation can vary significantly depending on a company’s specific objectives. SEO is indispensable for businesses aiming to enhance their search engine rankings in multiple languages. However, not all multilingual content needs to focus on SEO. For instance, if the primary goal is to inform rather than attract new customers via search engines, SEO might play a lesser role or be unnecessary. This flexibility allows companies to tailor their content strategies to meet their unique goals without strictly adhering to SEO guidelines.

How to Evaluate the Impact of Multilingual Content

Evaluating the effectiveness of multilingual content is one of the most important things to do to understand its impact on global engagement and business growth. The specific metrics to assess this impact can vary significantly depending on the business’s overarching goals and needs.

For some companies, the primary focus might be on conversion rates—tracking how effectively content drives actions like sales, sign-ups, or other specific outcomes in different language markets. Others may prioritize engagement metrics, such as page views, time spent on site, and social media interactions, to gauge how well the content resonates with the target audience.

Additionally, businesses focusing on brand expansion might emphasize metrics that reflect brand awareness and image across different cultures, such as brand mentions and sentiment analysis in social media across various languages.

Qualitative feedback from users can provide deeper insights into cultural relevance and content appropriateness, complementing quantitative data.

There is no one-size-fits-all rule for prioritizing metrics; businesses must select those that best align with their strategic objectives.

How to Decide If Creating Multilingual Content Makes Sense For Your Business

Implementing a multilingual content strategy hinges on several key considerations reflecting the company’s market engagement, potential growth, and operational capacity. Initially, businesses must assess their current and future presence in various markets. This involves evaluating how active they can be and the value of increasing their activity in specific regions. If a company finds substantial customer bases or untapped potential in markets where different languages are spoken, then creating multilingual content could be a strategic move to enhance engagement and growth.

Moreover, the decision should account for the company’s capacity to produce and manage multilingual content. This includes having or being able to develop the necessary resources, such as a skilled multilingual team, a budget for content creation, translation and localization services, and tools to manage and deploy content across different language platforms. Companies must consider whether they have the infrastructure to support ongoing multilingual content efforts and whether these efforts align with their broader business objectives.

In summary, not all companies benefit equally from multilingual content. The decision should be strategically aligned with market presence, the potential for market expansion, and the internal capacity to sustain such initiatives effectively; also, it needs to be aligned with the presence/absence of a global expansion strategy since creating content in multiple languages without a precise plan can easily become a waste of money, time and resources.

So, while there’s no magic formula, a well-crafted multilingual strategy tailored to your business can be your ticket to thriving in global markets.

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