Last night, I attended an iMUG meeting where Andrew Bredenkamp was speaking. Andrew is the CEO of Acrolinx, GmbH. Content Rules is an authorized reseller and service provider for Acrolinx, so I know the company and Andrew pretty well. And, I am always impressed to hear what Andrew has to say. Andrew is constantly thinking ahead of the industry – sometimes two or three years ahead of everyone else.

Andrew spoke about a variety of topics. But, the one that caught my interest was his expanded definition of global readiness. I’ve been writing and speaking about global-ready content for more than a year now. In fact, I renamed the company in January so that we could tell the world that we are focusing on global readiness.

In my traditional definition, global readiness is taking source content (for me that is content created in English) and preparing it to be localized and translated. Creating global-ready content includes things like:

  • Eliminating unnecessary words
  • Shortening long sentences
  • Rewording idiomatic phrases and jargon
  • Fixing grammar that is not translatable

Photo credit: Tex Texin

and so on. Andrew, however, really got me thinking. He said that to be truly global-ready, content needs to be searchable in multiple languages. That means, the tags that surround your content on your website need to be translated into all of the languages that your customers will use to search for your product, services, or company.

Multilingual search is gaining in popularity. In fact, companies spend lots (and lots) of money having their metadata translated. But, as Andrew points out, those translations are usually a single word that is selected by the translator. There is no guarantee that the words the translator selects are actually the words that your customers are going to use to search. In fact, there is no guarantee that the English words you paid so much for in your SEO strategy are the words that your customers are going to use either.

So, there are two things that Andrew indicates that we need:

  1. Multilingual searchability
  2. The inclusion of variants of the search terms in all languages

For example,  let’s say I own a pet shop and I am advertising on the internet. I would probably use the word “dog” as one of my terms. But what about puppy? pup? canine? mutt? pooch? In an ideal world, I would be able to listen to the community and discover the terms that the community uses to talk about my product/service/company. Then, I would filter all of those terms, plus all of the possible term variants, back upstream to the writers. That way, the writers could include these terms in the content itself and in the tags.

Imagine being able to use the terms that your customers use? Imagine how many more hits your website would get? A lot, right?

Now, imagine you can do the same thing in every language that you care about. Multiple variants of terms that your customers use in their native language to find you. Wow. Now that’s global-ready content. Content that is ready to be found in any language, using any terms, regardless of where the customer lives.

I’ll bet that this capability is on the horizon. Afterall, Andrew is usually way ahead of the rest of us.

Val Swisher
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