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Time for the C-Suite to Catch the Multilingual Content Train
Posted by Rebecca Ray on July 19, 2017  in the following blogs: Best Practices, Global Marketing, Business Globalization
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It has taken social and mobile – plus the empowerment of consumers to influence the message – for content to finally grab the undistracted attention of executives. But they’re not only wrestling with content in its simplest forms controlled by employees. They must also take into account material created “in the wild” – outside of their organizations – where it morphs into assorted flavors through local languages, dialects, and cultures.

As top managers delve deeper into digital transformation, they’re beginning to recognize multilingual content as one of their top competitive assets for mindshare, one that leads to increased brand value and revenue. But too few C-level executives are globally savvy when it comes to digital transformation or envisioning the role that artificial intelligence (AI) will play to help them accomplish their goals. Where can they go for help?

  • Their CIO. AI has burst once again onto the corporate scene, adding yet another dimension to the digital transformation journey. Today’s AI has the potential to unleash additional value for content – both controlled and uncontrolled – but only if it can understand the language and intended audience of that content and know how to act on it. Therefore, CIOs and VPs of Data need to understand that AI can mine not only numbers, but also words, images, and audio material in all the languages used by the company’s prospects, customers, and other stakeholders – whether created internally or externally. Only then will content’s real value be realized.

  • Their CMO. Marketing executives may be paying more attention to international markets now than they did 10 years ago, but they’re only paid to do so for marketing-related content. Their mandate usually doesn’t extend to customer support documentation, training materials, or health and safety information. Even more risky is the fact that many of them continue to throw up their hands when it comes to social media and user reviews created in languages foreign to them.
Neither the CIO or CMO is looking out for the interests of all content across the organization because their positions are not set up that way. When companies are truly serious about leveraging the value of all of their content – now and into the future – we recommend that they hire Chief Content Officers (CCOs). These executives can expand the horizon of the position’s original focus on source language material to encompass the value that multilingual versions add to the equation.

  • The Chief Content Officer. The purpose of adding any executive to the C-level team is to break down silos between teams so that, for example, AI can be applied enterprise-wide or content can be leveraged as locally competitive. If United Airlines had had a CCO in command at the time of one of its biggest public relations fiasco ever, there might not have even been a fiasco – or at least less of one. That person would have been informed immediately that social media was erupting in Asia and would have known what to do to lessen the effect of the negative reaction on the company’s brand prestige.
Companies grappling with how to unlock more value from their multilingual content with AI as they tackle digital transformation initiatives present an opportunity for innovative LSPs in their role as global content services providers. No one knows better how the multilingual piece fits with content, whether controlled by the organization or generated elsewhere around the world in any format or language.

Here’s how LSPs can prepare to ride the wave to globalize their clients’ digital transformation, and in the process, unleash greater value for their content:

  • Reimagine the pie as much larger than translation. Buy-side organizations are clamoring for help. They need partners to locate and identify all of the various types of content to be considered for multilingual rendering. They’re also looking for expert guidance in how to produce and distribute it for multiple audiences in multiple markets. When you pitch solutions to current and prospective clients, help them connect all the dots – beyond the actual translation, localization, or interpreting – required to deliver their multilingual content and code.

  • Lead top level management – and their direct reports – to harness the value of their content. Executives are seeking value out of content, whether it’s something their own company generates or that others produce about them, their competitors, or their sector. If you don’t offer services to identify, mobile-ize, social-ize, or otherwise render their content more intelligent and accessible to all customers – regardless of language and culture – business process outsourcers, system integrators, and consulting firms will step in to fill the gap.
CSA Research’s quantitative and qualitative research with global enterprises demonstrates an increasing awareness of the competitive advantage of their content. Whether buy-side localization manager or global content service provider, you face a compelling urgency to knock on the door of the CMO, CIO, or VP of Data to make the case for centralization of the content function under a CCO. Why? You have solutions to the challenges they face in creating value from all the data they generate in multiple languages, but you need a driver at the executive level who has the power to envision and execute content as a revenue driver and brand enhancer across all teams.

The responsibility of C-suite occupants is to build, nurture, support, and protect the brand. So they need to know immediately when their performance has fallen far short around the world – as in the case of United Airlines – or when competitors and customers are making fun of their latest service rollout via viral video, as happened with Amazon Go. Their ability to safeguard and enhance the value of their brand – in real time and intelligently – is handicapped without a CCO at the helm to guide them throughout their global content voyage.


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