How many hands have typed the text that sits on your website? How many business departments do they represent? How many publishing tools did they collectively use?
The fact that very few of you will have immediate answers to all three questions reveals the story of modern content management.
With consumers (and searching engines) consistently rewarding brands that offer rich, informational experiences, content development has become marketing’s latest arms race. As a result, companies can no longer rely on a single person or platform to manage production.
This trend of content fragmentation won’t be slowing down anytime soon, either. Seven out of 10 companies plan to produce more original content in 2017, according to Content Marketing Institute. And we’re not just talking about web copy anymore. The average content strategy now covers seven different formats and six separate distribution channels.
A Multilingual Mess
Nobody ever accused translation of being a simple or speedy process. What many marketers are surprised to find, though, is that getting content to and from their translators can actually be the most time-consuming component.
Content administrators must flag the right assets for translation, developers have to extract the desired text from its supporting code, and project managers need to compile these strings into spreadsheets before emailing them out to a language service provider. Then, on the return voyage, translated content will sit idle until busy developers can find time to swap updates into the code.
All these manual tasks fall into the exact category of activities that content fragmentation is destined to complicate. As a result, it could be months before a new batch of marketing collateral is packaged up for translation, returned in multiple foreign languages, and ultimately published in the necessary platforms.
These ever-expanding translation timelines will inevitably present CMOs with a no-win proposition.
Update some languages ahead of others and let brand consistency erode along the way, or delay releases until every language is ready and ensure the resulting content is consistently stale.
The only way to opt out of this binary dilemma is to build a faster process, but trying to steal that speed from the actual linguistic arts will only raise the risk of embarrassing translation errors. The savvier solution involves reassessing the scope of content selected and the ways by which it travels.
One of the most damaging myths in multilingual marketing is the notion that brands must translate their entire content catalog before ever addressing a new foreign audience. This mistaken mind-set deprives customers of earlier engagement and gives employees the perception that translation is an occasional activity reserved only for massive amounts of content.
In reality, both sides benefit when localized content is created in smaller batches and updated at more frequent intervals. Audiences gain access to valuable information sooner and brands don’t have to worry about customer experiences growing stale while waiting for fresh content to complete a months-long translation process. With a more manageable stream of inputs to ingest, outputs steadily roll off the translation assembly line in a matter of days.
So why hasn’t this more agile production model taken hold?
The painful translation support process outlined in the previous section deserves most of the blame. Content administrators, project managers, and web developers naturally prefer to keep those tedious tasks from becoming everyday duties. Their sanity and productivity depend on it, in fact.
With a few swift integrations, though, these collaborators can largely retreat from the machinery of translation. Software can step in instead and be the centralizing force that automatically captures content wherever it lives, presents it to translators, and returns their work to the proper platforms.
That’s the new vision driving transformation across the translation industry. Instead of carrying the same archaic practices into an increasingly complex climate, more vendors are developing technologies that help teams preserve their talent for the activities and decisions that matter most. And as a result, more brands are starting to see a blueprint for balancing consistency and originality into their global communications.
Come see Smartling at Adobe Summit 2017, Booth #330, to continue the conversation or hear customers share their stories at our panel session titled “Engaging Everywhere: Delighting Global Customers With Localized AEM Sites."