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  • Gabriela Kouahla - Beyond Words Translator

When your product is global but localized - even on social media

Literary, localization is the process of adapting content such as software, a website or a video game to the linguistic, cultural and technical specificities of a target market. It consists of translating content by converting certain data such as addresses or time formats to match those used in the target country.


However, all these elements & much more, have to be taken into consideration also for social media publications. We all know the effect of a good (or bad!) tweet!



When localizing content, it is very important to take into account the cultural preferences of the target audience in addition to their native language. Many elements of a social media post can be localized. For example, if it wants to address an Arabic audience, remember that they read from right to left, so if you add BEFORE & AFTER images, remember that the BEFORE image goes on the right side of the screen.


Depending on the target audience, some colours do not have the same meaning from one country to another and could shock the audience: this is the case with red, for example, which represents danger or even evil in the Middle East region, whereas in China, this colour symbolizes luck and happiness.


If your post include a date & hour rendez-vous, the format of the hours must also be localized: this is the case between the French and English formats. In Great Britain or the United States, the day is divided into two 12-hour periods, whereas in France, a 24-hour format is used. The same applies to dates: in France, the format used is day/month/year, the same as in the UK, whereas in the United States, another English-speaking country, dates are presented as follows: month/day/year.


Moreover, in a post I published at the begging of the year on LinkedIn, I told you about the 1994 Toubon French law on the use of the French language, named after Jacques Toubon, the Minister of Culture at that time. It is a French law designed to protect the French linguistic heritage. It has three main objectives: the enrichment of the language; the obligation to use the French language; and the defence of French as the language of the Republic (Article 2 of the 1958 Constitution). It then aims to ensure the predominance of the use of traditional French terms over Anglicisms. Thanks Wiki!


A little anecdote: one of my clients for whom I do marketing translation from English to French, contacted me to revise the automatic Chat bot responses of the French version of their website. Many French clients complained about the poor quality of the language of these responses, which were automatically translated. Keep in mind that consumers are paying more and more attention to the content, so it's your image that's at stake.


If you want to stand out on social media: speak to your audience in their language!

It is necessary to be present as a global entity onon social media, but more and more brands are also adopting a local strategy (depending on their country of choice). In a context of ever-increasing interaction, localization is the key!


Internet users are increasingly expressing their need for proximity with brands. This relationship of trust can only be developed if we get involved locally. Starbucks understands this. The famous coffee brand is present everywhere on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube...) via "official" accounts. But the brand has also created Starbucks accounts depending on the country.


Internet users are increasingly expressing their need for proximity with brands. This relationship of trust can only be developed if companies get involved locally. Starbucks understands this. The famous coffee brand is present everywhere on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube...) via "official" accounts. But the brand has also created Starbucks accounts depending on the country. For example, its audience can become a fan of the "Starbucks France" page and share "local" content (BIG FAN HERE!). My favourite Starbucks is in downtown Lyon.


In conclusion, the notion of localization has gone beyond the notion of just a translation... now, it's beyond words. Localization is a key element of the marketing team. Localization, if well carried out, increases your company's ROI!



If you have any questions, write to me at: gabrielakouahla@gkbeyondwords.com.


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