Beyond Translation: How Brands Can Think Differently About Content to Drive Global Growth


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Beyond Translation: How Brands Can Think Differently About Content to Drive Global Growth

An interview with Vistatec’s Sibylle Eibl, VP of Global Solutions.

The landscape of content creation and localization is shifting under our feet. Global businesses’ processes, tools, and approaches to get content out to their audiences are rapidly evolving.

Three key factors drive this transformation:

  • Phenomenal increase in worldwide volumes of content both individuals and brands produce.
  • Change in how businesses communicate with customers across different languages and cultures to keep pace with consumer expectations.
  • The perceived ease of creating and transforming content with AI and trained language models.

Companies that customize their content production workflows and strategies with global consumers in mind will gain a powerful competitive advantage in global market share and revenue.

As VP of Global Solutions at Vistatec, Sibylle Eibl weaves language services and technology into tailored solutions that help organizations of all sizes meet their global content goals. With more than 30 years of experience in globalization, she is passionate about all things related to language, content, and quality. Her current role focuses on promoting best content transformation practices and long-term sustainable solutions. She helps global brands identify best practices for multilingual content from original source creation, translation, and transcreation to workflow systems and integrations.

We met with Sibylle to explore this shifting landscape of global content. We discussed how businesses approach content creation and crafting messages that resonate with audiences worldwide. We looked at the challenge of enhancing global reach while maximizing local impact. 

Customers are demanding more tailored, personalized marketing than ever before. For example, according to a report by Insider Intelligence, 73% of shoppers expect brands to understand their unique needs and expectations. How is this playing out on a global scale?

Sibylle: I see three key trends that impact how brands create global content in this environment.

Trend #1: The rapid evolution of tech and communication

Sibylle: First, communication channels have rapidly evolved over the past decade. There are now more ways to reach consumers worldwide than ever before. At the same time, the rise in social media platforms has shaped consumer expectations – they now expect more personal connections with brands and more content that’s tailored just for them. Social media has also led us to the era of snackable content, and these smaller content chunks must be optimized for impact.

Machine translation technology has evolved to keep pace with these demands, making it possible to translate higher volumes of content than ever before. Yet, one thing to keep in mind is that in a content landscape that is so multifaceted, content creation and multilingual content transformation require a more sophisticated approach than translation alone can provide.

Trend #2: The democratization of content

Sibylle: The democratization of content is another force transforming the landscape. Now, anyone can create and publish content easily, leading to massive volumes of available information.

For businesses, this means the need to differentiate is stronger than ever. The challenge lies in creating brand experiences that truly stand out in a crowded market. It’s about creating relevant and meaningful content for audiences from specific cultures.

At the same time, there are now more opportunities for smaller brands and startups who wish to build a global presence with localized, culturally relevant content. So, it’s a double-edged sword: there are more chances to grab consumers’ attention and expand internationally, but also more competition for eyeballs and attention.

This all means that if you want to attract customers in a particular market, everything, from the words you say to the images you use, needs to resonate with those customers.

Trend #3: The rise of hyperlocal content and the disappearance of source

Sibylle: One way businesses can differentiate is through hyperlocal content that is carefully crafted for a specific market. This is a powerful approach, but to create it, you need different processes, talents, and workflows than for traditionally localized content.

With traditional translation and localization, content is made in one language (the source) and then translated into another language (the target) or transcreated when more creativity is required. Yet, not all content lends itself to translation or transcreation. We’re seeing a move towards hyperlocal content and creating material directly in the local language from the outset.

This means there really isn’t any source anymore.

We no longer try to bend source content to meet different cultural expectations. This frees specialist writers to create regionalized language content uniquely tailored to cultural and business realities and allows organizations to maximize their global reach with premium, highly local content.

Which industries are having the most success with this process?

Sibylle: Hyperlocal content is vital in B2C settings like travel, fashion, luxury goods, sports gear, and wellness. These are all sectors where local cultural factors significantly impact audience engagement.

Hyperlocal content can also be a powerful ally for B2B businesses. For example, a global tech company with a SAAS platform offering may wish to target buyers in a specific industry. If that industry is strong in one country but not in another, they may choose to create hyperlocal content.

While hyperlocal content is a powerful tool, it’s not the correct answer for everything. To use it effectively, businesses must clearly define when hyperlocal content makes sense and when translation or transcreation would be a better fit.

This is an exciting time for businesses with global ambitions, but also a challenging one. How can organizations adjust their content creation and localization processes to meet the moment?

Sibylle: Organizations can set themselves up for success by embracing flexibility and cultural awareness in their content creation and localization strategies. That means understanding which processes (translation, transcreation, or in-country creation) best fit each type of content they produce and then working to optimize those processes for efficiency and quality.

Understanding the content spectrum

Sibylle: First, we have to recognize the spectrum of content we deal with in localization.

Each type demands a different approach regarding technology, process, and resources. Some content types require a hyperlocal, in-country approach or transcreation to engage local audiences successfully. On this end of the spectrum, we find emotive, appealing content, like advertising, promotional copy, and branded material.

For other content, accuracy and regulatory compliance are more important than creativity. This applies to highly accurate technical content, such as software localization, technical manuals, and product specifications, where precision and clarity are essential. At this end of the spectrum, trying to go hyperlocal is like reinventing the wheel for each market. Plus, it creates a minefield of potential compliance pitfalls.

Yet, there’s a range, with quite a bit of content falling between these two extremes and benefiting from a mix of approaches.

Understanding and navigating this spectrum is critical to effective localization strategies.

Once clear on that, you can define which approach to use and refine your processes with the appropriate goals in mind.

Finding the right talent is vital

For businesses incorporating hyperlocal content into their content plan, how do you recommend they start?

Sibylle: Clearly define the intent and methodology and then focus on the right talent. Having the best-fit talent for the job is critical. As content becomes more diverse and multifaceted, the need for specialized expertise increases, so you need a proper resourcing engine to fuel your hyperlocal content efforts.

One of the main challenges is finding and retaining talent with the ideal mix of skills: not just language proficiency and creativity but also cultural understanding, domain expertise, and the ability to create content that resonates locally. Businesses must invest in professionals who understand the linguistic aspects and align with the brand’s voice and the target market’s cultural context.

Profiling the right talent for each content type is vital to successfully transforming content for local markets and achieving maximum brand value.

‘Shift left’ for global content

We’ve talked about how hyperlocal content isn’t suitable for every situation. When translation from source is required, how can businesses translate from source more efficiently?

Sibylle: For situations where you have source content that needs to be translated or localized, incorporating the ‘shift left’ concept from the software development world makes the process more streamlined and improves results.

Shifting left is about addressing potential internationalization and localization issues as early as possible in the content development process, starting with the source. By shifting left, we craft content with localization in mind from the start, reducing errors, improving efficiency, and accelerating release-to-market cycles.

This not only saves time and resources but also guarantees that the final localized content meets the high standards required for diverse global audiences. It’s an investment in quality that pays off in smoother and speedier localization across languages and markets.

Centralize operations where possible

Sibylle: One final tip for businesses ready to incorporate more hyperlocal content into their international marketing plans: Consider centralizing these operations with a single partner to reduce the complexities involved in hyperlocal content creation.

Businesses historically have gone to local agencies for local campaigns. Yet, with the global marketplace’s ever-growing demand for content, turning out quality, culturally relevant, on-brand content consistently at scale can be challenging.

Companies win by using a single multilingual content partner because they don’t have to manage multiple agencies.

Takeaways from Sibylle on the future of global content creation

The need for global content and the ways of producing it will continue to change. Successful businesses will stay agile, continuously adapting their strategies and content mix to meet the diverse needs of global audiences. By leveraging the right mix of talent, technology, and processes, companies gain a powerful competitive advantage – content that reaches and engages target audiences across the globe.

Partner with Vistatec

Modern global content production is complex, but you don’t have to figure it out alone. At Vistatec, we understand that each client has unique global content requirements and objectives. 

That’s why we partner with you to develop custom localization solutions to take your brand global with a mix of translation, transcreation, and hyperlocal content. Contact us to get started!

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