I am honored and delighted to be included in this year’s “50 Content Marketing Predictions for 2014,” published by the Content Marketing Institute. Joe Pulizzi and his gang have assembled an impressive list of predictions from some of the industry’s best-known content marketers.

There are some over-arching themes presented in this year’s predictions:

  • Quantity of content – Most say there is too much content. A few say there isn’t enough content.
  • Quality of content – Most say the quality needs to be improved. There is an implication that, someplace along the line, we substituted quantity for quality.
  • Length of content – Most say short snippets (Vine, SnapChat, etc.) will be the story of the year. Others say long-form content will become important again.
  • PR will change – There are a few predictions on how the role of PR will change. Most say that PR will be better aligned with corporate marketing efforts.

Here is my prediction:

Val_Prediction

 

I find it interesting to note that out of all 50 predictions, mine is the only prediction that is focused on international markets and translation. Whether we have lots of content or a little bit of content, whether we send it out in 140 character tweets or in multi-page eBooks, global content will most certainly be a driving force for every large company and many smaller companies.

As I’ve said many times before, making marketing content global-ready is a challenge. By its very nature, marketing content is emotional. And emotions don’t translate. That means global companies are left with four choices:

  1. Create unique content for each international market. This technique is called transcreation. While it is the most effective way to ensure your marketing content fulfills its objectives, it is very expensive to create a separate campaign for every market. And once you start, it is difficult to change your mind.
  2. Make their content more translatable. This technique is called global readiness. When working on the global readiness aspect of content, things that do not translate are removed or reworked. This includes jargon, slang, colloquialisms, offensive illustrations, and so on.
  3. Roll the dice and leave the translation up to the translator. Many companies assume that the translator for each language understands the intent of the content so well that he or she can “just translate it”. To a varying degree, the localization process is designed to take care of this concern. However, anyone who has selected this method knows that the results can be hit or miss. Which means there is a 50% chance of wasting time and money, or even worse, insulting your potential customer.
  4. Don’t translate. Many companies use this methodology. They simply do not translate their content. Somehow, they assume that everyone in every market reads English. Or, they let their customers use Google Translate as their localization strategy.

“But wait!” you say. “We don’t do business outside of the US!”

Even if you don’t think you do business outside of the US, and therefore you don’t need to care about global readiness, you do. If you are not translating your content, your customer is. Did you know that there are 60 million people in the US who do not speak English at home? That’s a lot of people using Google Translate to read your content.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that you should translate everything into every language, just in case someone needs to read it. Far from it. What I am saying is that even if you don’t translate your content, you need to treat your source content as if it’s going to be translated. Otherwise, even on the best day, Google Translate will make a big mess of it. If your content is global-ready, perhaps the translation will be passable.

I’d like to add an additional prediction:

In 2014, I predict that companies will focus more attention on how global-ready their source content is. This will be driven, in large part, by translation costs. It will also be driven by regional demand for better quality translation.

Here is the CMI full report. Enjoy!

[slideshare id=29189961&doc=cmipredictions2014-131213145617-phpapp01]

 

 

 

Val Swisher

Val Swisher is the CEO of Content Rules. She is a well-known expert in global content strategy, content development, and terminology management. Using her 20 years of experience, Val helps companies solve complex content problems by analyzing their content and how it is created.

When not blogging, Val can be found sitting behind her sewing machine working on her latest quilt. She also makes a mean hummus.