Behind every global brand is a talented army of linguists, testers, transcreators, SEO and social media specialists. All working towards the same goal – to make customers want to engage and act on branded content. It’s a big task – the internet is a popular and noisy marketplace.
In 2010, there were 1.97 billion people online (28% of the global population) – in 2020, those figures have doubled with 4.57 billion people actively using the internet (59% of the global population). Despite this, 80% of online content is available in just one-tenth of all languages (*World Economic Forum).
As the number of online customers and their consumption of branded digital content has risen dramatically, this has impacted how we create and get multilingual content to these huge, diverse international audiences.
Historically, global brands would know very little about who was behind the creation of their multilingual content. A request went in, it was assigned, translated, reviewed, LQA checked, and a file delivered to the client. All very black box. Now, as brands are focused on the global customer experience (CX), this means there is a demand for transparency – who are the people helping to create my international brand?
A Focus on CX
In the CSA Research Report, The State of Global CX, 45% of firms see Global CX as a top priority (with 60% and 51% citing improving customer loyalty and brand perception, respectively, as key objectives.)
Customer interactions exist through multiple channels and touchpoints – online ads, websites, social media, FAQs – and brands must have a consistent, unified voice in all local languages and markets. It makes sense to invest in product and brand training for the linguistic talent behind these content touchpoints rather than assign a transactional, abstract task to a faceless (but probably brilliant) translator.
An Evolution of Skills
It’s been well-established that localization and translation are no longer simply a case of changing content from one language to another. It’s about understanding the purpose of the content, culturally adapting the message, and knowing what the expected outcome is. This is great news for the army of highly qualified, subject-specialist linguists around the world. They get more insight and visibility on their work and the opportunity to expand their skills to include techniques including transcreation, post-editing machine translation (PEMT) output, creating digital marketing campaigns, and working with language automation and AI solutions.
Frédérique Froment-Kelleghan is Senior Manager for Transforming Talent at Welocalize and one of the great minds behind the Transforming Talent track that ran at GALA Connected 2020. Welocalize’s Transforming Talent program is committed to continually investing in talent to be future-ready by developing and adapting skills. Frédérique commented, “Our clients and buyers are interested in the performance, and impact of multilingual content – clicks, usage, and action. We train linguists to understand the product and brand they are working on and not just translate from one language to another without taking the cultural context into account. If you’re working with keywords on an SEO project, you don’t translate, you culturally adapt with the target audience in mind. We achieve that through training and upskilling our talent pools and focusing on quality not quantity. Having small teams of linguists who are dedicated and trained on a client’s product and brand means they can work with multiple content types across every customer touchpoint so the voice and quality of work is consistent. The clients know who the talents are behind the content – they become an integral part of the client’s team. It’s critical that LSPs keep investing in training and retaining their talent.”
Don’t Panic – Upskill
The incredible progress made in language automation, machine translation (MT) and the use of AI and machine learning has (understandably) caused talent to worry that machines will replace them. Demand for translators and linguists is set to rise – there is no need to worry – but as with every industry, professionals must evolve their skillset and adapt to change.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment of translators and interpreters will grow 19% between 2018 and 2028 – much faster than the average for all occupations.
‘We need to talk about talent attrition, how to nurture relationships, and use innovation not just in technology but in soft skill training to give people the right environment for long-term success. It’s not about technology replacing humans but about how it can help them progress their careers and enable clients to translate more, at the right quality levels and reach global growth goals.’ Jayme DeSocio, Partner Success Director, Welocalize
Localization and translation skills have and will continue to evolve. Things never stay the same. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a true example of how industries and people adapt to change. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, this pretty much wiped out in-person interpreting as the world went into lockdown. It jolted the industry to look closer at remote interpreting and almost forced the interpreting profession to adapt their skills to a remote environment. Read Welocalize Blog: The Global Shift to Remote Interpreting.
As well as adapting to technology in translation, Welocalize’s Transforming Talent program is growing into areas where localization is not widespread, but demand is growing. Frédérique and the team have been working for two months in India to train linguists and empower them with skills that will help global brands enter this growing market.
Having an understanding of English for someone who speaks Hindi may mean that they can understand source materials but not necessarily translate and move content from one culture to another to deliver content that is fluid and on-brand. Providing skills to linguists in India has meant the in-country talent has commercial skills to succeed and Welocalize has a ready-to-go talent pool for an emerging growth territory. There are plans in place to roll out the Transforming Talent program in other growth areas such as Africa and Japan.
Frédérique continues, “By preparing our linguistic talent pool for emerging languages, economies, technologies, and techniques, we can respond better to our clients’ needs. We are agile in that we have the right linguists focused and ready to go. All the key players in the localization industry must collaborate to grow, upskill talent, and meet the needs of global brands now, and in the future.’
For more information on Welocalize’s Talent programs, click here.