For many businesses, consumer generated content is the most important form of marketing collateral available in today’s digital age. For example, if a hotel has a “Reviews” section on its site, it must capitalize on this first-hand feedback by translating it into various languages, to effectively reach – and influence – customers across the globe and increase sales.
With 6,900 languages and dialects in the world, this can be a seemingly daunting task; however crowdsourcing can help companies attempting to overcome this hurdle. As a legacy language services company, Lionbridge through its Business Process Crowdsourcing (BPC) practice, has delivered (or perfected) an innovative approach to performing time consuming and expensive business tasks – such as translation – more quickly and cost-effectively.
Enter Crowd Translation
Consumer generated content is generally very simple – and often times riddled with slang, abbreviations, and poor grammar. Therefore, context is more important than word-for-word translation. Native speakers are equally capable of translating the context, but up to 50 percent less than the cost of professional translators.
Crowdsourced translation is a preferred option when there are high volumes of content that require human touch but would be cost prohibitive to do with professional translators, and require quicker turnaround times. Content such as consumer reviews, social media posts, forum discussions and customer surveys are ideal examples of where crowd translation works best if Machine Translation quality is not good enough. On the contrary, a more formal document – such as an instruction manual listing hazards and precautions a user should take – is best left up to professional translators.
Many businesses develop websites in multiple languages, but often, consumer generated content is only posted in the language the user speaks. A review in Japanese won’t benefit someone who speaks English; whereas a post in English probably won’t even be searchable to someone who speaks French.
As more businesses continue to market globally and begin to realize the importance of targeting prospects and customers in their native language, those who are slow to translate this content are missing a valuable opportunity and may get left behind.
The Right Mix of Translation Tools
As crowd translation gains traction and increases its effectiveness, there is a common misconception that this type of language service will eventually replace professional translation. In fact, just the opposite is true – crowdsourced translation will never replace professional translation. For example, crowd translation is not well suited for tasks such as translating a research paper or technical user manual where precision is a must. Instead, it will play a supplemental role, even creating new opportunities for businesses to translate content never previously considered.
Organizations should view both crowd and professional translation as complementary tools in their arsenal. Each language project is different, and will require the right mix of tools to reach the desired results at the budget available. The first step is to determine what the content will be used for and what combination resources and technology are best to achieve the individual project requirements.
Ultimately, translating consumer generated content will help organizations break into new markets faster, more effectively gauge customer satisfaction and increase cross-selling opportunities. What better marketing material is there than first-hand accounts from satisfied customers, in every language available, to your prospects across the globe?
For more information on how BPC can help translate consumer generated content and help your company go global, read more about our work with one of the largest online travel reservation companies here.