Nataly Kelly of Smartling On The Problem With 70% Of U.S. Global Marketers Using English-Only Content


Early last month, Smartling announced the results of a new survey that polled 160 U.S.-based, senior-level content marketers working for emerging brands to determine how they are marketing to multilingual audiences around the world.

Nearly 63%  of respondents acknowledge that between six and 50% of their customer base is located outside the United States. Yet, survey data shows that translation budgets are nonexistent, forcing marketers to reach multilingual audiences using only English-language content.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 65% of respondents admit that less than 5% of their budget – if anything – is dedicated to reaching non-English-speaking customers in and outside the United States
  • Nearly 70% of respondents reveal that their companies market to other countries using only English-language content.
  • Nearly half (49%) of respondents admit they never translate English content into Spanish. Only 10% say they “frequently” translate marketing content into Spanish, and 41% say they sometimes do, when time and budget allow.
  • 65% of the marketing professionals surveyed did not know the number of native Spanish-language speakers in the U.S., incorrectly guessing 21 or 37 million. Only 35% selected the correct answer, 53 million.

The report can be read in its entirely here.

Nataly Kelly, VP of Marketing for Smartling took some time aside to talk about the report, its findings and can expand its global footprint.

Question: For content marketers who are looking to expand their audience to non-English speakers, what other languages should they be focusing their efforts on?

Nataly Kelly: Marketers who only target North America should focus on Spanish for the U.S. market and French for Canada. These are two languages that can make significant differences in conversion rates, if the content provided in these languages is high quality and culturally relevant.

Marketers with global traffic should look at their traffic to see which countries are most popular already. Are they seeing an increase in demand from a given market?  If so, adding the languages used in those countries can provide a competitive advantage and can boost conversions significantly.

Question: With budgeting always being an issue, what are some ways marketers can engage global consumers without breaking the bank?

Nataly Kelly: Start small, and be very focused. Lots of marketers start by localizing a mobile app, because it’s a small investment, but very easy to see quick return through increased downloads and customer engagement. Pick a project like this — most mobile apps cost very little to translate — and from there, you can expand into other areas.

Also, remember that even for big projects, like websites, you don’t necessarily have to translate everything — use the 80/20 rule and focus on just the critical content that really leads to conversions.

However, translation is not a place you want to skimp on with quality. Quality content is everything.

Question: How is Smarting setting the bar for global marketing campaigns?

Nataly Kelly: Marketers love Smartling because it’s a fast, easy way to launch a mobile app or website for international customers. These days, marketers need speed and agility, and the ability to reach customers in ways that are highly engaging. Smartling’s cloud-based translation management platform drastically reduces the time it takes to build, manage and execute a translation project.

Smartling empowers marketers to quickly and seamlessly engage their global customers with online and digital experiences.  It’s becoming the international layer of the marketing technology stack.


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