Little has caused such significant and sustained disruption to the way that we work as the COVID-19 pandemic. From companies struggling to work out how to make remote working feasible to businesses that are completely unable to deliver their services, the impact has been immense. However, that’s not to say that there is nothing that companies can do to try to combat the effects of the novel coronavirus outbreak. This is where social media translation comes in.
Explaining social media translation
What is social media translation? It’s precisely what the term implies – translating your social media posts into other languages. There are various reasons for doing so. One is to share important information with those who don’t speak your language. Another is to build audience engagement with your brand. Another still is to showcase your products and services.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many businesses to turn to professional translators as part of reinventing their business model. For some businesses (mainly those that relate to home working, home education, delivery services, online communications, and so forth), this has been to capitalize on sudden increased demand for their services. For others, it has been a matter of survival.
Whatever the reason, using translation services to survive and thrive in the ‘new normal’ has for many companies providing a foretaste of what’s to come. It’s unlikely that pre-pandemic life will return anytime soon. As such, it’s important to do business in new ways in order that companies can maximize how they connect with customers. Let’s take a look at how social media translation services can help with that.
Using translation services to build your brand presence
How big is the translation industry? It’s big. Very big. The Common Sense Advisory estimated that the market for global outsourced language services and technology was worth US$46.52 billion in 2018. That’s because businesses around the world are using everything from social media translation to legal document translation to grow their presence and their fortunes.
When it comes to building your brand presence, finding a proficient translator can make a significant difference. Be sure to track down a professional who knows and understands your business sector, as well as one who offers the language pairing that meets your translation need. Professional translation services often use translation tests to identify and confirm their linguists’ specialist areas of focus, so using a translation agency could be an easy way to ensure that you can find the skills you need.
With the right translator on board, your marketing and social media translation work can proceed apace. Be sure that your translator localizes your copy as well as translating it. Why is localization important? Because localized translation reshapes your content with a specific focus on the target audience and their cultural needs and expectations. Doing so can ensure that your brand stands a better chance of resonating with those to whom you are reaching out. True social media success is always about effective localization, not just translation.
Finding new markets through professional translation services
Professional human translators can do much to help you find new markets for your services. Indeed, many companies have engaged language translation services to help them do precisely that during the pandemic. Wedding planners have been delivering online children’s parties through Zoom, florists have been teaching botany classes over Skype… businesses of all shapes and sizes have altered their focus in order to survive and in doing so have opened up new markets. For many companies, these changes will carry through into the new normal that follows the pandemic.
Using human-powered translations brings another dimension to this. Companies can use translation services to connect with international audiences as well as with domestic customers who speak other languages (the US is a great example of this, with some 13% of the population speaking Spanish natively).
When we consider the potential audience size, the power of social media translation becomes instantly apparent. Over 4.5 billion people were using the internet by the start of 2020, with over 3.8 billion active social media users. That’s a vast customer base for those companies savvy enough to tap into it!
The practicalities of social media translation
We’ve specifically mentioned human translation services in this article. While many of the larger social media sites offer automated translation, it’s worth noting that human translation is better suited to professional purposes. Machine translation has come along leaps and bounds in recent years, but it’s not yet up to the standard that human translators can deliver.
What is the best online translation service? It’s one that features human translation, using technology to enhance the linguists’ skills rather than replace them. The translation errors associated with machine translation are just too risky when it comes to presenting a professional image of your business to the world.
Using human translators is one practicality to take care of. Another concern is your content plan. Taking a blanket approach to your social media marketing may now work in translation. That’s because different cultures will respond in different ways to the same material. As such, you need a country-specific (and perhaps even region-specific) marketing plan for your social media content. A good translation company will be able to work in partnership with you to help localize your plans.
When it comes to the translation work itself, remember that it’s not just your written content that your translator will need to work on. Any infographics or polls that you use will need translation, while any video content will need either translation and voiceover services or translation and subtitling.
Nobody (well, very few people) foresaw how fundamentally the world would change during the first half of 2020, nor how long-lasting the impact of that change is likely to be. The time for navel-gazing is well and truly over. Businesses that want to stay afloat need to embrace the power of social media translation and rethink everything from the services they provide to their operational models. The world is no longer the same, so nor should your business be.