How Brands Can Approach Multilingual Websites

How Brands Can Approach Multilingual Websites

The impact of a well-executed multilingual content strategy can be monumental, opening doors to new markets and fostering deeper connections with a broader customer base. Yet, the risk of missteps, be it through cultural misinterpretation or inconsistent messaging, can have equally significant repercussions. Needless to say, the stakes are high.

If you’re thinking about creating a multilingual content marketing strategy, cultural competence will be key to your success. When we use the term “cultural competence” in multilingual content marketing, we refer to a company’s ability to understand and navigate various cultural nuances. That often requires adjusting your communication style for clients and business partners from different cultural backgrounds.

As you encounter other brands successfully operating worldwide, it might seem easy, when it’s actually the result of hard work and the dedication to delivering content to different cultures.

Customers notice and appreciate those efforts. According to research on consumer preferences, 76% of online shoppers prefer to buy products with information in their native language, and 40% will never buy from websites in other languages.

Today, we’ll discuss how a digital experience platform (DXP) can transform your multilingual and multisite content strategy. We’ll explore the challenges you might face and how a DXP helps you navigate these difficulties, ensuring your marketing material is not only translated but truly adapted to meet the diverse needs of your global audience.

Our expert recommendations for content translation

The global companies we at Magnolia have worked with face several key challenges. How do you ensure brand consistency across languages? Can you use artificial intelligence (AI) to translate your marketing copy while observing key policies? As one of Magnolia’s solutions architects, I look back on years of experience finding the right solution for every client, and I see several hurdles enterprises need to be aware of:

Ensuring accuracy and brand consistency in every language

In the global marketplace, maintaining consistency across languages and cultures is critical for brand integrity. Even if your branding is only inconsistent between geographical target audiences, it can severely damage your brand reputation and identity. We live in a globalized world, which also means individual markets are more connected than ever before. Defining the right workflow is not just about the words used; it’s also about preserving the tone, style, and cultural nuances that resonate with each audience.

The key challenge is finding an effective way to manage content across different sites and languages without making it too complex. Magnolia’s Live Copy module helps clients keep their marketing messaging consistent, enabling them to pool content efficiently. Your editorial team can simply prepare campaigns on a global scale and then roll out landing pages tailored to multiple countries. Each translation stays linked to the master site, and your local teams receive the necessary rights to manage and edit their respective pages independently for localization. At the same time, it’s easy for you to track changes across translations.

Another aspect of ensuring accuracy in multilingual content involves updating key information, like company names or earnings, on multiple websites. At Magnolia, we address this by using a system that codifies this data as a variable, making it easier to track and refresh across different languages. This approach, coupled with the glossaries of integrated translation tools like DeepL, ensures your corporate language styles and data remain consistent.

For each language, you could simply update the copy inside of components and then fine-tune your marketing strategies by adjusting it to different target audiences through variants. You don’t even need to wait for a translation task to be finished, thanks to our most recent addition of instant translation.

Managing costs: Machine translation or native speaker?

Balancing cost-effectiveness with quality, or even confidentiality, in translation is a common challenge. Magnolia’s approach, which includes both machine translation tools and options for native speaker translations, addresses this. While many of our clients use DeepL for translations, we also allow file exports for agency translations or the use of a local AI model, demonstrating our versatility in catering to different translation and compliance needs. For example, the automotive industry might avoid translation tools to protect confidential information about upcoming products. In the pharmaceutical sector, accuracy is crucial to avoid legal issues, necessitating several rounds of approvals and revisions for their content. Our mission at Magnolia is to keep our platform open and flexible to accommodate all those unique needs. If you want to use AI for your content production workflows, we’ll give you everything you need in one interface. If you can’t use it for compliance or ethical reasons, we’ll fully support your workflows.

Aside from digital tools like Magnolia’s DXP, one effective strategy for ensuring accuracy in multilingual content is to employ bilingual proofreaders or cultural consultants. These employees can review translated content not just for linguistic accuracy but also for cultural appropriateness and relevance that can be hard for an outsider to capture. They provide an additional layer of quality control, making sure that the content resonates with each target audience while adhering to local cultural nuances.

SEO performance in multiple languages

To achieve global visibility, multilingual search engine optimization (SEO) is essential. However, before you pick a solution for your content production, you should always consider your options. For translation purposes, that can mean considering your team size and marketing campaign types or even a multisite setup. A site with localized content for various languages will require additional production workload and organization, and it’s important to plan for that before entering a new market.

Once everything is translated, you also need it to rank on search engine results in the respective language. This is another area where Magnolia helps you streamline the process. Content teams can store keywords and descriptions as page properties. These can then be translated, and for keyword optimization, you can supplement the process with tools like Siteimprove or any other SEO tool with API access.

DXplained: Global multisite management made easy

Learn how Magnolia's Multisite lets you manage multiple websites in a single Magnolia instance. Multisite supports microsites that can inherit page templates from the parent site yet have their own theme and domain. Save time and effort by not having to create new templates every time. Learn more

Why invest in localization?

Adopting these website localization recommendations can significantly impact your business and boost your engagement with local communities. That said, even with the most streamlined translation process, producing content for several languages is still work, and we understand that every business has to justify the initial investment. Let’s explore some results and benefits you can expect, alongside some examples from our customers.

What to expect from localization campaigns

These days, users can translate website content within the browser at the click of a button. While you may think that reduces your workload, it actually creates a major risk for your brand. That’s because you don’t know how different plugins will rephrase your trademarked slogan or if they’ll even attempt to translate your brand name. If our website read “Magnolie” in German, that might be correct from a translation standpoint but very confusing for a customer and impact our brand image.

Implementing our recommendations above can lead to enhanced user engagement, increased conversions, and improved overall website performance. A well-localized website resonates better with its audience, by using language and style they understand and appreciate. This leads to longer site visits, higher engagement rates, and a greater likelihood of converting visits into sales and desired actions like newsletter subscriptions.

Impact on user engagement, conversions, and overall website performance

If done right, localized websites have a proven track record of outperforming their one-language counterparts.

Our client MOO is a great example of that. After struggling to release pages reliably and quickly enough in four languages, their editors now have the opportunity to update content independently of developers. This made the team more agile and allowed marketers to include, and A/B-test, localized content in their marketing campaigns in shorter cycles, thus improving ROI.

Users feel more valued and understood when they interact with tailored, personalized content in their native language, and MOO’s results clearly illustrate that. A well-organized translation workflow will directly influence your conversion rates, as a comfortable user experience often translates into increased trust and willingness to invest in products or services. Simply put, you become part of your clients’ tribe, except you can do it several times around the globe.

Catering to diverse audiences through a multilingual website lets your business tap into new markets and demographics, making your brand more accessible and inclusive. This inclusivity can, in turn, feed back into your own brand values, as it allows you to position your brand as a culturally sensitive and customer-centric organization.

Strategies to avoid translation errors and cultural misinterpretations

No process is perfect, and despite all the advantages of a multilingual website, you still need to be cautious of pitfalls. Common mistakes include:

  • Direct translation without considering cultural context

  • Using automated translation tools without proper review

  • Not updating all language versions of your site consistently

  • Only updating certain subpages, leaving the rest to automatic translation

These errors can lead to misunderstandings and a negative brand perception. To avoid them, it’s essential to employ strategies and stick with them as part of your regular routine. One such strategy would be to use native speakers or experienced translators for reviews and cultural relevance checks. Also, as soon as you make the decision to enter another geographical market, you should define a plan for regular content updates tailored to that audience, either in-house or through a translation service.

In an ideal world, you’ll also reserve some time for testing your content and gathering feedback from native audiences. This allows you to recognize any local differences and adapt the production workflow to accommodate those unique details. Your translation tool may be great at translating legal copy from English to Spanish but struggle to do the same for Hungarian translations, and different tools will offer different results. Unfortunately, it’s challenging to recommend a one-size-fits-all solution because, for both AI models and human translators, the results will strongly depend on the texts they’ve been trained on.

There’s no right or wrong here - effective localization is about adapting your content to meet the cultural and linguistic expectations of your target audience. For you, that may mean a combination of AI-assisted reviews combined with the services of a translation agency. Other companies may implement more fine-grained workflows grouped by content type or target audience. Read up on recommendations related to your industry or ask our expert team for the right solution, but don’t feel obligated to pick a solution because someone tells you to.

The beauty of localizing content within a DXP like Magnolia’s lies in its ability to move from one translation tool to another or to a translation agency without having to rebuild your entire content management system. Building a reliable translation process takes time and may require continuous testing, and a DXP can give you the flexibility you need to switch gears.

Make your first step toward reaching a global audience

Embarking on the journey of multilingual website management is a significant step toward globalizing your brand, and you should always have every reader’s expectations, values, and context in mind. You’re not just translating content; you’re crafting experiences that aim to resonate with diverse audiences while trying to ensure that every message reflects your brand’s integrity.

If you simply try to translate your content on autopilot to see visitor numbers rising, you’re heading for trouble. The power of a multilingual website lies in its ability to connect with people in their native language, using references they understand for better understanding and fostering a sense of familiarity and trust.

Doing this requires numerous considerations on your part; a DXP allows you to avoid common pitfalls like cultural misinterpretations and craft a seamless, culturally relevant user experience that transcends linguistic barriers. This careful attention to detail will elevate your brand, setting it apart in the global market.

However, we understand this can be daunting. That’s why our expert team at Magnolia is here to guide you through every step. With our innovative tools and tailored solutions, we make the process of website localization both manageable and effective.

Don’t let language barriers limit your brand’s potential. Embrace the opportunity to reach out to a global audience with a multilingual website that speaks volumes about your commitment to inclusivity and cultural sensitivity.

Are you ready to make your mark on the global stage? To start your brand’s transformative journey, book a demo now and discover how Magnolia can empower your brand to thrive in a multilingual world.

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