As a content distribution platform, social media has enormous clout. A 2016 PwC Total Retail survey which polled 23,000 online consumers, showed that social media is a major driver of consumer purchasing decisions. They found that two-thirds of respondents said social media influences their online shopping behavior, with reviews and feedback being the foremost activity at 40%.
Canadian digital marketing company Vendasta also shows that 92% of consumers now read online reviews, as opposed to 88 percent in 2014. This is important because a study by Ipsos MediaCT found that millennials are spending 30% of their media time engaging with user-generated content (UGC) – that’s five hours a day.
The problem for those who have localized their social media content for different target audiences, is how to access that content and use it to follow up on potential leads or communicate with customers.
Not much has been written about translating social media, other than the application of machine translation technologies, which have many limitations. Yet, the value of what people are saying about a brand on social media has become a high priority and could spell the difference between businesses that succeed globally or not.
One of the biggest obstacles with translating user-generated content and social media is that it can get old very quickly, especially relating to conversations around marketing campaigns that are time sensitive.
Options for Translating Social Media and UGC
- Native speaking human translators – will give you the best translation, but this requires a dedicated team that can turnaround translations fast.
- Machine translation – is becoming more accurate among regularly translated language pairs as machines learn, but mistakes can cost a company dearly and nuances and colloquialisms are likely to be missed
- Crowd-sourced translation – this involves setting up services, resources and content to manage individual contributions from a large online community and the turnaround time may be fast, but the results are not as accurate as those you get from professional translators.
For those companies who take social media seriously, and want to start harnessing the power of social proof, ultimately investing in dedicated human translators is still the only reliable option. It’s the only way the user can continue to experience social media content in a fun, simple and engaging way, and marketers can reap the benefits of what was really said.
To read more, please see: Translating User Generated Content.