It likely comes as no surprise that effectively communicating with your audience is the most important goal that a business needs to achieve. But what happens when your audience speaks different languages?
Though the world is increasingly connected and interconnected, that does not mean everyone speaks the same language. For example, across Southeast Asia, proficiency in English varies wildly – while Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines have high percentages of English speakers, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos are middling at best. This only goes to reinforce why it’s important for businesses scaling, or hoping to scale, their operations throughout the region to implement translation tools within their online platforms in order to best reach their audience.
Having offices in Malaysia and Singapore, where there is a wealth of diversity and where many different languages are spoken, we at Financio knew that we needed to up our game when it came to the language options we offered with both our app and our website. We’re thrilled that we now offer Mandarin and Bahasa Melayu, in addition to English, across Financio.
If you, too, are looking to localise your content, here are a few things to consider:
- Content is More than Translation
Though offering a translation of the content that you’ve created in your native language is always a good first step, content is much more than simple translation. Localised content needs to not only be in the audience’s language, but speak to the audience in their language. So use online tools to look at local trends and at other companies who are effectively, successfully creating localised content, and see what lessons you can learn and how those can be applied to your content.
- Localise Strategy
When it comes to your marketing strategy, you do need to consider not just your local perspective, but the perspective of the locals in the markets you’re reaching out to. Be mindful of customs, traditions, holidays, religions and taboos that may differ from your own, and keep an eye on the news and fads coming out of those markets to ensure to keep your strategy agile and content fresh.
- Think About Images
Finding the perfect stock image to use to accompany text can sometimes feel like winning an Olympic medal – but before you use that image for the campaign in every single market, stop and consider if that image works for every market. Think about gender, ethnicity, modesty, and cultural customs surrounding things like meals or public displays of affection – because, yes, something as simple as hand holding or a hug in an image could cause issues if those things are considered taboo or inappropriate in a culture. So examine your images carefully, not just for your market, but for every market.
- Double-check Everything
Even if you think the language, content, context and imagery are all perfect, it never hurts to double-check – and it’s even better if you can double-check with someone local. If you’re able, engage a copyeditor or proofreader native to the market you’re advertising to who can make sure that everything is tip-top shape and won’t cause an unwanted scandal.
So why don’t you take a look today? You can choose the language you prefer at the top right of the website and from the log in page for the app. If you miss it, don’t worry, you can change it in your settings too.