Connecting Cultures: A Guide to Translating User-Generated Content for a Global Audience

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In the age of the internet, everything lives online. Product descriptions, customer feedback, mobile apps, and user-generated content – all at the touch of a finger. But if you’re letting your digital footprint exist in just one language instead of multiple languages, you’re missing a significant opportunity to use your existing audience to connect with a new one. One of the easiest ways to support your online presence for global audiences is by professionally translating your user-generated content.

What is User-Generated Content?

Hootsuite, one of the global leaders in social media management, defines user-generated content as “original, brand-specific content created by customers and published on social media or other [digital] channels.

User-generated content (or UGC for short) isn’t something brands thought much about before the digital age, outside of testimonials. But today, when you can reach your audience with a few keystrokes, it’s easier than ever to overcome language barriers, interact with your customers, and take advantage of the content they’re creating about you and your brand.

Types of User-Generated Content:

  • Testimonials
  • Product reviews
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Social media posts
  • Live streams
  • Blog posts
  • Emails
  • Comments

Benefits of User-Generated Content

Why does user-generated content matter? The more things change, the more they stay the same – people still trust word of mouth and other people more than they trust brands. Harnessing user-generated content allows you to use the power of word of mouth for international markets.

  • Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content versus brand-generated content.
  • UGC starts a conversation between you and your customers because it allows them to be a part of your growth and your brand
  • UGC opens the door to new audiences, namely the audiences of the content creator
  • UGC gets more engagement and interaction on social media
  • UGC creates trust between brands and potential consumers by relying on real experiences rather than marketing lingo
  • UGC helps your social media save time by repurposing existing content creation
  • Translating UGC helps overcome resistance built by language barriers by showcasing previous positive experiences

Why User-Generated Content Needs Translation Services

Consider this: the last time you searched for a new restaurant, what was one of the first things you looked at? Likely the reviews. Sometimes is difficult to have reviews in all languages, so human translation of User reviews is needed. So why is the translation service of reviews consequential?

66% of consumers say that reviews can significantly impact their buying choices. People still prefer to interact with and buy from brands that speak the same language. What better way to maximize the reach of good reviews than by making them available as multilingual content?
International audiences believe and trust other people more than brands – even if that person is from another country. Translating your user-generated content opens a new door of content possibilities that your team doesn’t have to create.

Word of mouth is the oldest form of marketing and is still important today. Digital posts are simply word of mouth in written words. From search engines to social media, accurate translation of UGC allows your audience to see the positive reviews and feedback of customers from across the globe – and what’s more compelling than other people’s happiness?

Of course, a high-quality translation is crucial for this. A human translator is essential for creating accurate translations. Even when IGC uses simplistic language, there is emotion and feeling behind the post that AI or machine translation tools can miss. Oftentimes, the translation process of user-generated content is not a word-for-word swap but a translation that encapsulates the emotion behind the post written in a way people in another culture and country can understand.

The translation services project of the reviews and spontaneous videos must stay true to the original content. The same philosophy applies to posts created for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn that must resonate with other audiences and languages.

Translation Services Projects for User-Generated Content:

People who are shopping online, particularly for clothes, makeup, and big-ticket purchases like mattresses, rely heavily on product reviews. If you have translated versions of your website available, but have not translated your customer reviews, for example, then there is still a large section of your website that is not available to anyone outside the source language (usually English.)

Other use cases for translation and localization services for UGC include:

  • Launching a new social media channel targeted to a new audience and language
  • Entering a new market with an existing product
  • Expanding your internal content and marketing plan to new audiences
  • Reach audiences of brand loyalists
  • Showcase the success of your team or a product
  • Increase the conversion of online shoppers
  • Launching a translated version of an e-commerce shop

AI versus Human Translation for UGC

There are tools that you can install that will automatically translate content like social media posts or testimonials for your audience that will add a “translate” button. These machine-assisted translation tools are quick and usually cost-effective. They have their uses, but fall short for larger translation projects.

Machine-assisted translations can appear formal, strangely worded, or odd overall. A linguistically accurate translation isn’t always the best way to connect with international audiences – sometimes, the emotion is more important than individual words. User-generated content has emotion behind it that computers can’t capture, which is human translations are still so meaningful.

Professional translators can take on all kinds of projects, from a web translation project to an entire UGC translation campaign. Some kinds of content, like reviews and comments, can be easily translated by a professional translator, while others, like video and podcast content would require a more in-depth translation project to create translated subtitles or record a voice-over in the target language. If you’re unsure where to start translating your user-generated content, a language service provider can help you form a plan.

A translation company has a team of professional translators to handle projects of every size and provide timely and accurate translations. These translators are language experts and native speakers of the languages in your target market. Working in their native language gives human translation an edge over AI, especially on social media, where slang terms, typos, and wrong-structured sentences are present.

Expanding into new markets is made easier with existing content, and easier still with a team of professional translators on your team. Additionally, these translators are subject matter experts in a number of fields, so you can find someone who already speaks your language – literally and figuratively.

Tips for sharing user-generated content

No matter the language, some best practices for brands sharing UGC exist.

  • Ask permission to use someone’s content. Just because content is shared with you doesn’t mean it’s yours to use. Most people are more than happy to share their content with brands – just ask first.
  • Credit the creator. Don’t try to pass off UGC as your own – it ruins the authenticity that UGC gives your brand.
  • Measure content engagement. Analytics are the best way to know what your audience likes, so keep a careful eye on how your posts with UGC perform.

Translating your user-generated content is an important piece of a marketing plan for any multi-national or international company. Working with a professional translation company makes the process simple, without adding any workload to your team. At JR Language Translation Services, we work with companies worldwide to provide excellent quality French translation services that exceed expectations at affordable prices. Contact us for a translation or interpretation services quote today— we’d love to hear from you.

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