This is a guest post by Kathleen Bostick.
As more companies embrace corporate blogging, they’re challenged to address global audiences in their native languages. Although best practices for multilingual blogging are clearly still emerging, here are some helpful strategies that I wanted to share.
1) Identify local SMEs for content creation.
Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) with writing skills traditionally author blogs. If you work at a large global company and have SMEs in your customers’ markets, a decentralized approach may help you create multilingual content. Your SMEs can write and post original content in their local language. For the majority of companies without local SMEs, however, this may not be a viable option.
2) Prioritize which content to translate.
If you decide to translate all or part of your content, which content do you translate, for which countries and in what languages? And who decides? Some content – like FAQs – might have a long shelf life and will be worth the time and money to professionally translate. Other content, which may be more locally relevant with a shorter lifespan, might not be worth translating.
One approach is to have a decentralized process where the local point-of-contact (POC) determines what content to translate. This assumes you have resources available in-country to support this effort.
Another approach is to centralize the work and have someone on the marketing team identify which content to translate in specific target languages. This is less cumbersome and will result in faster turnaround; however, it can be quite expensive, especially if you translate content that no one reads.
For our blog, we decided to begin with a centralized approach and then move to a decentralized approach as we build a larger audience in local markets.
3) Decide what to do with the rest of the content.
What about content you decide not to translate that is created in either English or another language (what we call monolingual content)? You can give readers the option for real-time translation (RTTS) with a button on the tool bar for “Just in Time” translation vs. “Just in Case.” The quality won’t be on par with human translation, but it may be “good enough” and better than not providing any language option at all.
4) Don’t forget to engage with your readers via blog comments.
Engaging with readers is one of the main goals of a blog. Who will read the multilingual comments on your blog and respond to them in-language? RTTS may be a good way to understand a comment, but a human should always respond in the commenter’s language to ensure an appropriate dialogue. You should plan for this before posting multilingual content.
One option is to assign comments to an in-country POC to coordinate. Your approach will likely evolve and will largely depend on your in-country readership and the level of engagement you have with your readers. If your blog succeeds in other languages, increased engagement will be the result and that’s a good problem to have.
Do you have any best practices to share?