The web is supposed to have made the world a village. But if it has, we are all largely speaking the same language. According to some estimates, more than 50 per cent of all web content is in English. Yet as we know, native English speakers make up a significantly smaller proportion of the world’s population.
To give an idea of the dominance of English, the next closest are Russian and German. Both take up around 5 per cent of content on the web.
Despite the all-conquering advance of the English language, people still like consuming content in their mother tongue. According to research by Language Testing International:
- 72.1 per cent of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language
- 72.4 per cent said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language
- 56.2 per cent said product information in their own language is more important than price.
So while English is key, be careful of making assumptions. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that one successful piece of content or campaign will work equally well in another market. For the most part this is true. However, there should be a checklist to go through before transporting any content marketing campaign across borders.
Make it market specific
Investigate your market. Look at ways to incorporate subjects and messages that are relevant to consumers there. Global marketing devoid of local flavour can look bland. Unless you want to look lazy, there is nothing to be gained from aiming at the lowest common denominator.
Translate not Google
Ideally, you need a translator who also works as an editor. FirstWord is based in London, yet it produces copy in German, Italian and Spanish among other languages. Good translation of editorial comprises more than substituting word for word.
Perhaps you produce content only for your own market or one that uses the same language. But overseas markets are crucial for many companies and success depends in part on good translation. It is also about mindset; if you are extending your English content marketing further afield then it should be seen as a prompt to produce a new article. Otherwise you may as well leave it to the consumer to run your piece through Google Translate.
Global content campaigns and how to create them is part of Content24, the blog for London content marketing agency FirstWord.