Grow Webinar Value With Multilingual Repurposing

 In BrightTALK Academy, Content Marketing, Uncategorized, Webinars

This is a guest post from Ken Molay, President of Webinar Success.

On June 21 I will be giving a presentation discussing ways to maximize returns from business webinars long after the live event is over. One of the things I will touch upon is the value that comes from making your information available to other geographies and cultures. I know I won’t have time to delve into all the fine points during my online session, so let’s discuss the details here!

Getting the obvious caveat out of the way up front, of course a multi-regional or multilingual approach may not be right for your business. If so, you can skip this post and pick up other tips in my webinar. But think of all the times when expanding the reach of your content makes sense… It is hard to think of a country that doesn’t have significant portions of the populace who speak secondary languages. In North America, you may want to reach English, French, and Spanish speakers. If you’re doing business in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, or Asia you’re open to a bewildering variety of languages.

Even if you aren’t ready to make direct sales to speakers of another language, building global awareness, name recognition, and goodwill by offering content value for larger populations has its own growth rewards.

What then can you do to make it easier to reach your “secondary” audiences? Start by examining your content. If your slides are text-heavy, you will have to spend a lot of time, effort, and most likely expense on translation, with more opportunities for error and misinterpretation to slip through. I try very hard to design slides that are primarily graphical, letting a simple title or short text phrase convey a single content point on each slide. Not only does this make for a more engaging presentation with more frequent visual updates, but it also makes for a fast and easy slide translation project. I don’t have to worry that the translator will mess up animations or change fonts, wrapping, and context of multiple lines of text.

The second thing to look for in your content is assumed cultural familiarity. If you feature a slide that says “Where’s The Beef?” you are not only making a reference solely to USA viewers, but ones of a certain age as well. It won’t translate well in a literal sense or in conveying the point you wanted to make to other cultures. I have a slide that features a big picture of a USA recruiting poster with Uncle Sam saying “I Want You.” When I structure the webinar for UK audiences, I change the picture to Lord Kitchener and “Your Country Needs You.” A little Google research can pay off in making your content more relevant for your audiences.

If your presentation isn’t being carried by text on the slides, it must come primarily from the speaker — as it should. How do you translate an entire webinar narration? This is easier than you might think:

  1. Save an audio-only recording of your webinar.
  2. Send the audio file to a transcription agency. They will return a written document.
  3. Send the written transcription to a translation agency. The cost to translate even a long document is less than you might imagine.
  4. Find a native speaker to record the translated transcription. I prefer to have each slide’s narration broken out as a separate recording or with a tone marker to indicate slide transition. This makes it easy to resynchronize the new narration with the translated slides.
  5. Produce the new recording with the translated slides and the new voice narration. The result is a full webinar recording waiting for new audiences and prospects!

I’m not going to recommend specific transcription, translation, and voice agencies, but there are plenty to choose from with a simple Google search.

Sound like too much work? Only you can determine whether the benefits outweigh the costs. You might want to take a less complete approach that at least acknowledges other languages. Stop after the transcription and translation steps. Those are fairly simple to accomplish with outside agencies and don’t have to involve any effort from your staff. Then copy some of the relevant images from your slides into the translated document and produce a secondary language handout as a white paper. It contains all the information and you don’t have to do the work of creating a new audio recording and online presentation. In many cases your audiences are delighted to be able to share in the value, even if they don’t get the same online experience.

Reaching alternate language audiences is only one of the topics I’ll be covering on June 21 in my BrightTALK Academy webinar. I hope you’ll join me to learn about the additional ways you can keep expanding value after your live webinars.