The time-consuming, costly and demotivating challenge facing marketers

First, let’s consider why translating marketing materials is so important. Marketing translation involves the literal translation of text as well as the expression of the intended tone, whilst remaining mindful of the cultural preferences of the target audiences. An understanding of the financial services landscape, investment products, copywriting skills, and how the products should be promoted is essential. Now throw multiple jurisdictions, languages, regulatory requirements, and financial jargon into the mix and it's easy to ascertain why this field becomes a troublesome and resource-intensive one for marketing teams to navigate.

Our research shows that over 70% of marketing teams are still applying manual processes to manage the translation of marketing materials into various languages. It’s staggering that more automation is not taking place in this area, given the technology available to marketers and an industry-wide focus on digital transformation.

As previously highlighted, the management of the translation process for European marketing teams in particular is both time-consuming and costly. These issues are compounded by the fact that the work of translation partially eliminates the ability of local language marketing teams to add value through their marketing strategy and planning, as they’re constantly bogged down in the execution of translations. This can result in a resourcing bottleneck for CMOs. Further, the management of local translation agencies across multiple regions has the potential to only add to the workload of marketing teams.

We see some companies responding to this challenge by hiring a Head of Localisation/Translation at their firms. This dedicated role will focus on the translation process, technological requirements and vendors, and connecting these elements across business areas.

Other teams have a dedicated Translation Manager in their team who traffics all inbound and outbound requests involving translations agencies, before the output is reviewed by a native speaker.

How do you solve a problem like automation?

In short, it boils down to quality – translations created through automated tools are often of a low standard, requiring additional manual checking and corrections. Whilst repeatable materials such as monthly commentaries can be produced as standardised pieces through machine learning, others that rely on technical explanations and tone of voice modification – including thought leadership pieces, articles and campaign messaging – still require manual intervention.

Some marketing teams have been through the tedious process of onboarding automation systems, only to find that they simply do not work and are unable to meet their needs. Others appreciate that translations are not as automated as they would like, but are working through this process to find an optimal solution. This often involves the adoption of workflow tools in the short term, with a view to fully automate translations in the longer term as volumes increase.

Somewhere in the middle (where many groups sit) a more hybridised approach is being adopted, in which automation is in place for all languages but human oversight is required to root out errors in translation. This strategy sees the automated translation of content taking place first, followed by fine-tuning by a local marketer.

Current tools being used by asset managers to streamline this process include Global Link, Smartling, Technisys, Siesmic, Transperfect, Lion Bridge, Lingua and Sitecore.

Translation is not an easy nut to crack as there is no perfect solution and maintaining a high level of quality in all communications to clients is paramount. However, innovations in this area are ongoing and further breakthroughs may streamline what can currently be a complex and resource-intensive process.

Read the first episode of our Investment Marketing Scoop here: