Writing for the World – Optimizing Your Global CX
Why Write for Global Customer Experience (GCX)?
For those who have worked within the localization industry for a while, the concept of “writing for translation” might feel old school, already-learned-and-forgotten-about: something that technical authors take for granted. Just like developers always think about internationalization of software code and processes, right? (We know how well that works!) That’s why a refresher course in how to write content in a way that optimizes the global customer experience is a really good idea – especially when you take into account that nowadays, anyone and everyone is authoring the content that is part of your company’s customer experience.
Today, all published content is global. Whether part of a website, social media post, online review, product document, or marketing campaign – or even within a private communication between two people or companies – an individual now has the option of choosing automatic translation when they cannot easily understand the language in which it is written. Machine translation is part of everyday technology, whether or not your organization chooses to deliver a professional translation to your audience. This makes all information part of your global customer experience (GCX) whether it’s intentional, or not.
Your writing style is even more important today than it was 10 years ago, when considerations for cost and consistency were the prime drivers for clear, simple, and non-ambiguous source content. While the same core principles apply today, the application is much broader, with many more outlets for content than the product manual or help that ships with the product. Consider who within your company creates content across all touchpoints with customers, partners, and resellers – those are the people who today might benefit from additional writing guidance, rather than yesterday’s traditional team of technical authors.
What Does Your Writing Style Cost Your Organization?
Did you know that inconsistent use of punctuation can affect how much you pay for translation? Do your content creators understand how an ambiguous term can proliferate given the many ways they can express a concept in their native language, never mind in translation? Does your marketing team know how difficult – or impossible – a convoluted sentence can be to render in another language? If so, a review of your company’s writing guide, terminology, and translation style guides, and even a content audit, may be a good idea. The cost of a comma may not be as extreme as in these situations but the price to your brand of difficult-to-translate information may be bigger than you expect.
The way you create content has a direct relationship to the amount of reuse you can obtain from translation memory and the number of questions your linguists must ask to avoid the misunderstandings and subsequent quality issues. It has a direct correlation with the ability of untrained MT engines to accurately render your content in another language. Even if all of your content is only ever used in the language in which it is written, the way in which it is worded can have a huge bearing on how easy it is to understand, or not. When everyone is being constantly bombarded with information, content that is clear, consistent, and accurate can make the difference between your brand or offer being remembered or forgotten.
What are the benefits to writing explicitly for an optimal, global customer experience? The original aims of writing for translation still prevail – lower costs, better quality, improved global brand consistency – but instead of being limited to the content that your organization chooses to translate, the benefits extend across the entire experience. Don’t rely on the grammar tools built into your favorite editor – they are sometimes in conflict with best practices for global content. You need specific rules for a better GCX.
CSA Research recently presented a webinar, “Writing for Optimal Global Customer Experience,” which is full of examples, guidance, and best practices for everyone who creates content today. Together with this report and checklist, this information can help your organization deliver a more appealing customer experience in all the markets where you’re present – while keeping costs down.
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