Majority of Marketers Aren’t Targeting Multilingual Audiences

Translation management software provider, Smartling, released the results of a study that exposes the current state of multilingual marketing. The  company polled more than 150 marketers at INBOUND 2015 to learn where their organizations stand in terms of targeting prospects and customers who don’t speak English as their native language – both in and outside of the U.S.

Key findings of the survey revealed:

Content is king – but the multilingual marketing coffers are empty

A low percentage of the marketers surveyed are dedicating any dollars to campaigns tailored for multilingual audiences.

  • 48 percent of the marketers surveyed have no budget at all for translation outside of the U.S.
  • 59 percent of respondents – nearly three out of five – do not have any money allocated to reach multilingual audiences within the U.S.

Brands are not taking international expansion seriously

Smartling’s research also exposed the fact that few organizations surveyed are conducting business outside of U.S. borders today, despite the fact that 13 languages together cover 90 percent of today’s online spending power. Those who do serve overseas markets are not focused on creating native brand experiences for prospects and customers.

  • Almost half of respondents (49.34 percent) report that five percent or less of their customer base is located outside of the U.S.
  • Of the 105 respondents who are marketing to multilingual audiences in some way, only 15 percent are very confident that their messages are resonating with them.

Organizations are not making communication personal

Marketers are still limiting their content strategies to one language and are predominantly applying only one translation/localization practice.

  • Half of all respondents (52.6 percent) are either not translating at all or are only translating into one language.
  • The majority of marketers (86 percent) admit that they generate U.S.-centric content and then translate it for a particular market. Only 14 percent of organizations create original content, and employ local/native marketers in the countries where they are seeking to expand their business.
  • Among the companies that are translating, a few still rely on machine translation (8.6 percent); many rely on human translators (42.1 percent); 14.5 percent use both; and others are beginning to use translation management software (4.6 percent).

To achieve global growth, companies must now go beyond standard translation and deliver native brand experiences that resonate in every language, across all cultures and in any market.

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