Translate Online Presence: 8 Considerations that Impact a Global Company’s Multilingual Blog

I find Alan Pelz-Sharpe’s recent article extremely interesting, particularly the second trend he identifies: “Multilingual requirements will rise to the fore.” According to Pelz-Sharpe, “Of all the trends I have observed…that is the strongest by far.”

From a translation/localization service provider perspective, this is certainly good news! I run Lionbridge’s global marketing efforts, so I empathize with other marketers when I consider all the things under the marketing umbrella that we need to consider for translation. One example that comes to mind is this blog. There aren’t many multilingual blogs out there yet, but I believe this will be the year that many more global companies head this way. Lionbridge may be one of those companies, and we’re taking some time to be strategic, by considering the following 8 issues:

  1. Where does the content come from? Do you translate the blog posts from English, do you recruit in-country bloggers for each of your key languages to post original content, do you take a hybrid approach?
  2. How do you determine which existing posts to translate and in which languages? Do you just do them all even though some content may not be relevant in certain locales?
  3. How do you get your in-country team members excited about blogging and creating local content? Do you translate this local content into all the languages also?
  4. What kind of quality is acceptable for blog translation? Will readers forgive less than perfect quality? Does Machine Translation provide “understandable” with no human review?
  5. Who moderates the comments on all the blog posts, especially those non-English posts?
  6. Where do you host the blog? For SEO purposes, we know hosting a blog in-country certainly helps in the rankings, but do you really want to decentralize and have independent blogs?
  7. How do you present the “choose language” option on the blog?
  8. What about other resources on the blog, including webinars, white papers and videos blog posts?  That opens up a whole new can of worms.

We’ll be wrestling with these questions this year as we evolve our blog to be more global, with input from our colleagues around the world. I don’t have the answers yet, but we’ll start the process and see what works and what doesn’t, and we’ll share that with you.

We value your comments and feedback, and we hope to be a resource for you as you follow this trend in 2010 and expand your own communications into multiple languages.