Don’t Get Lost in Translation

In today’s content-driven world marketers are increasingly trying to leverage the power of user-generated and online content. This content includes everything from user reviews of products or services, to blog postings, to survey responses, and even to product how-to’s. Also, as online media outlets, blogs, and social media forums continue to post content about companies, their products, and their executives, marketers are trying to capture, analyze, and make sense of this content to better understand how their business is portrayed in the public eye.

Without an accurate and authentic translation, however, global marketers can’t leverage this valuable user-generated content to connect the brand with customers worldwide and enhance their in-language search results, thus reducing major revenue-generating opportunities.  

More than ever, marketers and enterprises with global customers need to tap into user-generated content, such as the value of a positive review, in multiple languages. After all, when looking to reach new consumers, user-generated content can help spread the message like wildfire, providing it can easily be understood by a specific target audience.

The challenge facing many marketers is that user-generated content is country specific, written in one language, and contains references or colloquialisms that an automated translator cannot pickup. As a result, organizations need native and localized speakers to accurately translate mass amounts of content quickly.

This is where enterprise crowdsourcing steps in. Marketers are all familiar with crowdsourcing and how it can be used from the consumer standpoint, such as naming a new consumer product or coming up with the next product flavor. Enterprise crowdsourcing allows organizations to get value from online reviews and other user-generated content by leveraging a qualified workforce around the world to ensure that this content is not only translated with accuracy, but also takes into account local idioms and cultural differences, ensuring an optimal user experience in any region. This allows marketers to connect with customers across the globe, quickly, and repurpose content in a timely fashion.

Let’s look at an online travel company that wants to attract new customers from Japan to travel to Spain. The enterprise crowdsourcing model allows the online travel company to access a crowd of native Japanese speakers, who can translate these online reviews into the local language. Often when the translations are done by an automated process or machine translation, the review can be challenging to understand and unbelievable, decreasing its value. Native speakers are able to capture the sentiment of the original review and translate it into another language with the same informal tone that are prevalent in reviews.

This approach allows marketers to penetrate new local markets without having to hire a global team of translators. Marketers can now keep up with reviews as the volume fluctuates with an elastic, global workforce that has the ability to ramp up and down to accommodate as needed. Enterprise crowdsourcing provides a flexible workforce that keeps costs low and eliminates the logistical headaches that typically come with hiring seasonal or part-time staff. Enterprise crowdsourcing allows even marketers with a small budget to get into new global markets in a cost-effective manner.

The value that enterprise crowdsourcing brings to marketers doesn’t stop there.  As the frequency and volume of online content increases, marketers are categorizing this content into the bucket of Big Data. While some marketing organizations increasingly leverage tools that track and monitor big data—which includes the social media and online monitoring of their company and products—many are finding that these automated systems can fail to categorize negative and positive content accurately. For marketers, the true value of this content is to properly categorize the data to get it ready for analysis.

Despite technology to help, properly categorizing content typically still requires a human touch, and the ability to read and rank data based on a defined corporate system. For example, a headline in the Wall Street Journal may say, “Industry X on the Decline.” The word decline may trigger a negative rating of the article, however if your business is competing against Industry X, this in fact could be a positive article for your business. Marketers are now turning to enterprise crowdsourcing to support this labor-intensive process of accurately categorizing content to conduct an accurate analysis.

From user-generated content to big data, these are just a few ways that marketers can take advantage of enterprise crowdsourcing.  Tapping into a locally relevant, globally-based workforce helps to increase productivity, maximize workforce elasticity, and reduce costs to give marketers a competitive edge and, ultimately, connect with customers across the globe.

Dori Albert is enterprise crowdsourcing practice manager at Lionbridge.

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