The voices of your customers and potential customers are everywhere. They speak up on WeChat, Facebook, Amazon, the websites of competitors, and hundreds of other cyber spots. Your product will be discussed in outlets where you have little control of the image-making process, so it’s in your best interest to know what is being said, and be ready to respond to the questions and needs voiced in your markets.
Social media generates invaluable comments that reflect your customers’ desires in a raw form that can genuinely contribute to product and service improvement. The first challenge is how to track and use this bounty of data, in all the various channels and languages in which it arises. You will want to sponsor your own online discussion and customer assistance as well, and it’s best to be ready ahead of time for whatever comes. This is a fast-paced and rather unforgiving process for which you can prepare in a number of ways.
Create a library of information to draw from
Social media is 24/7, so creating content before you offer new connections or services is wise, and not hard to do. Product descriptions, white papers, and other existing information can be curated and organized for use to source tweets, Facebook posts, and responses to questions. Translations of this information can also be prepared in advance for your main markets.
Assemble translation teams
Some social media translation can be handled by MT, and some will be auto-translated by networks and users whether you are involved or not. A proactive approach that is sure to give you the advantage of higher quality, is to dedicate native marketing linguists in your major markets to manage content and respond to customers. These teams might need to include specialists in less common languages, too: only 16% of social media users are communicating in one of the top ten languages.* Listen to what is being said, and be ready to instantly respond, in every language you can manage.
Study social media exhaustively
Through its brief history, social media has been in a state of explosive growth. To benefit rather than be hurt by the torrential flow of communication and changes, begin by learning who uses which networks and where. Assess this not just by language and culture, but by demographics within those markets as well; you might find that the age group that you want to reach through Facebook in an overseas market, for example, isn’t even using that network much. Watch closely and make no assumptions.
It will then be important to learn the specific lingo and limitations associated with each network (such as message length and the varying lengths in translated languages), and to approach translation creatively with an inside-out knowledge of your company messaging, the target audience AND the communication medium. An example of the challenge is to be aware of and then to translate cyber-idioms like “post to your wall” for a FB user who speaks a less common language in one of your major markets.
Foster active use of social media in-house
For your employees, social media (including email) is an efficient, vibrant medium for discussion, networking, and brainstorming. The more familiar your employees are with local and global networks and the ‘cultures’ of those media, the higher quantity of useful, available content that may be created in-house, along with the development of ready expertise among those employees.
Skrivanek’s ability to translate and localize quickly via any medium for your markets around the world is well-known by numerous global companies and organizations. Turn to us for guidance through the challenging, valuable task of setting up your system for handling social media translation.
J. V. McShulskis