- Post by: Virginia de la Cruz
- 7 March, 2019
Multilingual Content in SFMC: S01E01
Multilingual content management is a challenge for any organisation. When it comes to finding the right solution, the bad news is… there is no right answer. The good news, however, is with SFMC, the possibilities are endless.
The key lies on looking closely at your business requirements and resources. There are certain areas which will seem quite obvious, such as profitability, but others will prove to be more tricky to unravel.
Among the questions you should ask are:
- Who will be creating the content?
- Are they also creating the emails?
- Is your team also multilingual?
- Who will test everything?
- Are emails going to be one-off sends or part of workflows or journeys?
- Is the same team going to proof and manage the emails?
- Who has access to them?
- How code-savvy are your content managers?
- If you rely on an external agency, who will amend or make changes after the project is delivered?
- How do you ensure scalability?
- Does a sophisticated system justify investing in upskilling the team or is it better to implement something simpler that everyone can approach?
When it comes to content the two basic principles are:
- Minimise error margins
- Simplify processes
In order to tick both these boxes, they key is to reduce the chain of steps that will bring the content from draft to send.
The less middle-men (and women) handling content, the less errors will be invoked by the mischievous copy/paste.
The more access the original language speaker has to the final layout of the email, the better your chances of success. An email translation on a Word doc, or in html on a .txt might look 100% right in that format, but when transferred to the email environment, translators might find they need to readjust their copy, not because there might be anything wrong with it, but due to perfectly logical linguistic requirements.
The days of plain text emails are long gone. Emails today are visual displays of language. Therefore, it’s not just about the message but also about other format-related characteristics which might be crucial to the message.
If translators can’t access email content directly, here’s a few ideas:
– Provide a translation template that emulates the visuals of the email so that they can have a clear idea of what goes where.
– Advise on the max length for how many characters should ideally be in any given content area.
– Ask your linguists to annotate their translations with any grammatical visual cues that might be essential for clarity and correction (e.g. where do break lines go, etc).
– If you are dealing with languages that are gendered, let them know about your audience (if it’s a male-only audience, the word choice might change completely, and if used wrong, could probably alienate the target customer).
Scalability is also a basic element. Are your emails going to change soon? Can you predict that change and perhaps insert the subsequent translations in just one proofing process? Would it be possible to use dynamic content on the same email to insert future alterations?
Listen to your team and look at your resources. Perhaps it’s easier and more direct to create different emails for that journey, or maybe what you’re aiming at is efficiency over simplicity.
Again, there is not one right answer. There are countless combinations and success stories of how companies dedal with their multilingual emails. What’s yours? Let us know in the comments below.