VentureBeat Insight just hosted and posted (on BrightTalk) a webinar: “How to spell ‘success’ everywhere in the world.” Panelists Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing at VentureBeat, and CMOs Pam Webber of 99 Designs and Diego Lomanto of Talent Inc., each shared their insights on what it takes to bring brands to global marketplaces through translation and localization.
“You may not necessarily anger them, or turn them off, but you just may not just be connecting with them enough to want to transact with you. And it may not be apparent to them what’s wrong, but they’ll feel it’s wrong.” — Diego Lomanto, on less-than-native-fluency translation
While English is being seen more-and-more as “the language of the web,” as Pam Webber describes it, the panelists still emphasized the need to do more to make sure your message makes a good impact in your target market. They shared stories of outright bungles and nuances, such as idioms that didn’t translate from English to Polish, and brought up the surprisingly controversial image of a pajama-clad family in an Ikea ad that went over smoothly in western markets, but didn’t fare so well in the Middle East.
The stakes for global localization and translation are huge. The market stands at over $38 billion today, and will grow to $47 billion by 2018. Even so, many of the Fortune 500 seem to be showing a poor example: less than half have done a proper job translating and localizing their own web sites.
The VentureBeat webinar clearly highlighted the dichotomy occurring in the world. On the one hand, while more business-to-business communications are occurring in English as a lingua franca, on the other businesses and brands are increasingly looking to remove U.S.-centric messaging, and customizing their brand and consumer-facing apps in a myriad of native languages and cultures.
What are your thoughts? What challenges do you and your company face in localization? How would you like to spell ‘success’ everywhere in the world? Let us know!