means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.I went looking for a broader definition, but this will do for the moment.
'Big content' is, obviously enough, content on a large scale.
Like many of the blogs, websites, ebooks and more previously mentioned in these pages, publications like 101 Things a Translator Needs to Know and A French-English Glossary of Naval Technology target smaller language service teams catering for "high-end" clients with small- to medium-scale needs. The solutions are good, but they lack the scalability to meet the needs of big content clients.
As far as I can determine, the movement is being led by language service providers targeting corporations with big content needs including new approaches source texts in English and translation, transcreation and localisation into several or even many languages at once.
The signs include: (i) Watch Your Tone!, Why Your Company's Tone of Voice Matters and How to Get it Right, (ii) Speak with One Voice, How to Gain Competitive Advantage in the Content Era (register here to download for free), (iii) the Acrolinx Content Optimization Platform and (iv) the Microsoft Manual of Style for technical communicators. (Hardly what you'd call a broad survey, but at least these are concrete examples.)
Although this is not my field — I like to consider myself a small-time supplier catering for a niche market defined by one language pair, one direction and a small cluster of technologies and clients that I believe I understand pretty well — I nevertheless want to record the following observations and comments:
- First, referring to items i and ii, it's always good to see good writing about good writing.
- Second, while high-end suppliers have long tried to work closely with their clients to improve the quality of both source- and target-language documents, I have not previously observed a success comparable to that revealed by the way the new Microsoft style guide has adopted the concept of 'voice'.
- If Microsoft can get in-house and contract communication teams to apply the English-language version of its new style guide, we can look forward to a radical improvement in the quality of Microsoft translations.
- Scalability remains the big challenge. All of the high-end language service teams I've worked with have consistently found it exceedingly difficult to recruit staff with the mother-tongue writing skills combined with subject knowledge and translation skills to meet big content challenges. It will be interesting to see if the new wave of trend leaders can do better.
- The challenge of selling the concept of voice as applied to target-language documents is many times larger than that of selling the concept for source-language content creation in English. The fact that Acrolinx has so far failed to reply to the question raised in Acrolinx #3 below suggests that they too may have underestimated the challenge.