Translation 3.0: Commoditization, Context and Commerce
But then marketing collateral, technical documentation and other materials started migrating online. This was slow to happen at first, but things have rapidly picked up speed. Now it's surprising to buy a product that has anything more than a few pages of instructions with it. Just about everything else — from FAQs to video tutorials — can be found online.
Machine translation has inevitably followed the digitization of collateral, but there's something else that's contributed to the commoditization of translation: globalization. Our connected economy allows businesses to easily find thousands of different options when it comes to translating copy. That's naturally culminated in crowdsourcing platforms.
Duolingo, for example, has 25 million registered users interested in learning a new language. The language lessons are free, but the company is interested in having students put their skills to the test by translating websites like BuzzFeed into other languages, including Portuguese, Spanish and French.
Nothing has yet become a perfect solution. Independent translators, translation companies, crowdsourcing platforms, machine-assisted translations and other technologies all vie for attention in a crowded space.
During the race to find the next greatest thing in translation, many companies seem to be forgetting the most important part of entering a new market: creating a personalized experience for the customer. No matter what new technologies offer, there needs to be a distinct and authentic tone behind every brand.
Personalization and localization
The basis of e-commerce today is personalization. In a November 2013 study by Conversant, around three-quarters of marketers and agency decision makers agreed that "individualized messages and offers will be more effective than mass messages/offers." Likewise, a recent survey discovered that three-quarters of consumers prefer to conduct online purchases in their native language. Personalized marketing offers are going to be a prominent trend in 2014 and beyond, with big data analytics, marketing automation and similar solutions opening up new opportunities for companies to connect with customers, too.
Related story: Responsive vs. Adaptive: One Size Doesn't Fit All