Why Global Businesses Should Market with Multilingual Content
The recently launched “How far does your #ContentReach” infographic shows us that by using just 10 languages, firms can target 80 percent of the world’s consumers – a compelling statistic when it comes to tailoring content for foreign markets. Knowing this, there is just no excuse anymore for businesses to stick solely to English.
No time for complacency
Unfortunately, many UK marketers have yet to be convinced to go multilingual, with a third of SMEs stating they believed having an English language website was adequate for success in foreign markets.
Even more shockingly, this complacency extends to an industry which should know better than any other about global trends. A survey by NewsReach’s parent company Axonn Media of 476 online travel companies found while more than half claimed their content marketing efforts were global (44 percent) or aimed at the whole Continent (10 percent), two-thirds (66 percent) were not publishing website content in foreign languages.
The internet is becoming increasingly multilingual and soon there will be more Chinese web users than English. Predictions by CSA Research have suggested that companies could be losing out on $30 trillion worth of sales by failing to localise their website content.
The losses due to poor translations are hard to quantify, but we all know from our own experience that poor English translations reduce trust and likelihood of purchase.
Reach doesn’t happen with auto-translate
Simply using auto-translate will not help firms reach foreign consumers successfully. Instead, they should ‘transcreate’ content, ensuring it is not only accurate grammatically, but is also attuned to the idiosyncrasies of each language.
To produce engaging content, you need to use native foreign writers who can produce it from scratch as it takes local cultural knowledge to not only produce a good piece of content, but one that converts customers to action.
Taking linguistic and cultural diversities into account also has a huge effect on your ROI.
This has been proven by ecommerce pioneers Hotels.com. For many years, they had a website in Brazilian Portuguese catering for both the Brazilian and Portuguese markets, based on the simple fact that there are more Brazilian than Portuguese internet users. But when they started with a European Portuguese website for Portugal, their conversion rate skyrocketed to triple digits.
Spending power can matter more than mass
Our infographic shows how many internet users per language there are in the world (data from 2011). What’s striking is that Korean made it into our top ten online languages. This is mainly down to the fact that South Korea has among the highest levels of internet penetration in the world. It has around 50 million inhabitants, of which 39 million are online.
Expect other languages such as Hindi or Bengali soon to displace languages from the top ten. The internet used to be the privilege of the richest two billion people, but with smartphones becoming more readily available, the internet is within reach of the next billion.
When deciding which languages to transcreate content in, you should also consider spending power. Having websites in Arabic as spoken in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates will reach a comparatively small, but wealthy audience.
Frank Hartkopf is head of European content at NewsReach
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”