Content localization for Amazon sellers involves more than just translating your listing. As you expand your business to other countries, and seek to connect with international audiences, it’s absolutely crucial to tailor content effectively for different markets cannot be overstated. Let’s talk the concept of content localization and its impact on engaging global audiences successfully – and the differences between translation, localization, transcreation, and globalization – all important aspects of content localization if you plan to expand the right way.
Defining the Terms Behind Content Localization
Translation primarily focuses on converting content from one language to another while maintaining the original meaning. You would translate a product instruction manual, or a legal document, or a medical document – anything that has to be translated word-for-word.
Localization is a comprehensive process that goes beyond simple translation. Content localization involves linguistic adaptation along with cultural and contextual adjustments. This approach allows businesses to create a seamless experience for their international customers, making them feel valued and understood. In essence, localization can be viewed as a process that begins with translation but extends much further, addressing various communication aspects. This includes incorporating local idioms, cultural references, and tackling technical communication challenges, such as adapting text length, measurement units, date formats, and page sizes. An effective website localization strategy also encompasses back-end considerations, like optimizing SEO and tailoring social media strategies to resonate with the new market. You want to localize your title, bullets, A+, and images to correspond with the cultural and contextual norms of different cultures.
Globalization meanwhile is simple – it’s the process of taking your brand globally. You don’t have to change a lot of things in terms of branding or pictures. The idea is to make any necessary changes to your brand to make it resonate with a worldwide audience, instead of with one specific country only.
Transcreation transcends mere word-by-word or phrase-by-phrase translation, crafting an entirely fresh text that effectively conveys the core idea, intention, sensations, and emotions of the original content. There’s a fine line between transcreation and localization. To keep it simple, transcreation involves more creativity, like copywriting. To quote novalo, localization connects, and transcreation motivates.
According to Argos, here’s to find out if your project needs transcreation:
- Avoiding Confusion or Offense: When simple translation falls short and could lead to confusion or offense in the new market.
- Culturally Relevant Messaging: Utilizing locally-appropriate cultural references and language to effectively convey the brand message.
- Emphasizing Emotional Engagement: Ensuring the transcreation delivers on the brand promise and effectively engages audiences on an emotional level.
For a step-by-step process on how to transcreate content, check out this blog here.
The Impact of Effective Content Localization
Make sure your content localization ticks all these boxes:
- Improved Customer Experience: When content is localized, it becomes more relatable and understandable to local audiences. This creates a positive customer experience, which in turn builds trust and loyalty towards the brand.
- Increased Global Reach: Localizing content enables businesses to tap into new markets and expand their global reach. It allows them to connect with customers on a deeper level, ultimately leading to increased sales and brand visibility.
- Cultural Sensitivity: Content localization demonstrates cultural sensitivity, showing that a company respects and acknowledges the unique aspects of each market. This helps avoid any unintended offense or misunderstanding that could harm the brand’s reputation.
A Case Study of Errors in Content Localization: Clairol’s Mist Stick
Some years ago, Clairol, a hair products company, launched a curling iron named the “Mist Stick” to a global audience. The vapor wand quickly gained popularity among stylish individuals worldwide, selling exceptionally well… until it reached Germany. You see, “mist” in German slang means “manure” or “excrement!” As you can imagine, while farmers might have found use for a Manure Stick, fair-haired beauties were not as interested.
So, although the mist stick went through globalization as a product that had significance to a worldwide market, it failed at content localization, because it didn’t localize the product name to correspond with Germany’s language, cultural norms, slang, and so on.
If we weigh Clairol’s performance vs. our earlier checklist:
- Customer Experience: negative overall; you probably don’t want to associate hair and beauty with manure and excrement
- Global reach: Although the curling iron had significance as a product wherever in the world you may look, the product’s reach was affected because of the errors in its name, leading to decreased sales. Sure, brand visibility might have spiked, but for completely wrong reasons.
- Cultural sensitivity: It’s evident that Clairol failed spectacularly in this department.
Make sure you don’t make these same mistakes – ask the experts to handle your content localization.
Best Practices for Effective Content Localization
Here’s a snippet of some of the best practices for effective content localization – but for a tell-all guide, head on over to this blog.
- Conduct Thorough Market Research: Understanding the cultural nuances, preferences, and behavior of the target audience is crucial. Researching local customs, trends, and language variations ensures content remains culturally appropriate and engaging.
- Adapt Visual Elements: Localization goes beyond text and includes adjusting images, color schemes, and graphics to align with local aesthetics and sensitivities.
- Localize Date, Time, and Measurement Formats: Switching date formats, time zones, and measurement units to match those commonly used in the target market enhances the content’s readability and accessibility.
- Customize Content for Regional Preferences: Customize content to suit regional differences and preferences while retaining the core brand identity. Tailor the tone, style, and vocabulary to resonate with the local audience effectively.
From an Amazon Seller’s perspective, note these important tips:
- The tone of voice for Europeans is much more toned down, with heavy emphasis on the key features and how the product solves the problem. Keep sales-y and fluffy language for American customers, who really resonate with editorialized language. Read this guide on optimizing your Amazon listing for Europeans vs. Americans, it’ll help.
- Many sellers make the mistake of taking the listing they used on their Mexican listings, and copying it word-for-word for the Spanish market. Spaniards don’t like reading Mexican Spanish; they feel that it describes a foreign product, and they’re less likely to purchase it as a result. Even the keywords are different – check out our YLT Translator Profile for more info!
Real-Life Success Stories: Coca-Cola’s Success
- The Share a Coke Campaign: Coca-Cola’s successful content localization involved adapting their “Share a Coke” campaign for different markets. Instead of using first names in China, which might be culturally inappropriate, they used job occupations to convey the same message effectively. The campaign has been running for several years now.
- Coca-Cola’s Global Website: Coca-Cola’s website localization demonstrates an excellent example of global appeal. By maintaining consistent branding elements while adapting content for each region, the company ensures that visitors from different countries have a familiar yet locally relevant experience.
In 2019, approximately 55 percent of China’s carbonated drink market was dominated by Coca-Cola, with its primary rival Pepsi holding a share of about 36 percent.
What to Localize, Translate, Transcreate, and Globalize
Here’s a helpful guide:
- Translate your product manuals, terms of service, and anything else that would need word-for-word translations so you avoid any legal issues, or weighty problems if any of the words disappear
- Localize your product listing. Employ new keyword research per market, and make sure you pay attention to slang, colloquialisms, pop culture references, and so on in new markets
- Transcreate your slogan, or any assets that need a creative touch to resonate with the new target market, especially if translation and localization don’t quite push the envelope enough
- Globalize your product to appeal to markets all over the world
Content localization is a powerful tool for businesses seeking to engage and connect with global audiences on a personal level. By embracing cultural sensitivity and adapting content for diverse markets, companies can build a strong international presence and leave a lasting impact on their customers. Embrace the art of content localization, and watch your brand flourish in the global marketplace! Don’t forget to ask the experts for help. YLT has a team of native speakers who are all well-versed in Amazon’s intricacies. Reach out for a free listing review and we’ll help you see where localization can help your product shine!