The global pandemic has left a permanent mark on the economy and businesses worldwide, rapidly ushering in new trends and changing the way we work. COVID-19 changed the world we thought we lived in. While 2020 was a daunting time, the new way of conducting business—mostly remote and on video rather than in person—has also given way to innovation and transformation. As a result, 2021 became a year of transition, after coping with the pandemic and lockdowns, global businesses started to plan for the future in a new world. COVID-19 is still very much prevalent but, as always, businesses and populations adapt and seek new opportunities for moving forward.
As we look forward into 2022, it’s an exciting time with renewed hope and enthusiasm. Continued consumer confidence and stability will hopefully keep us bouncing back to fuel a brighter economic future.
Here’s a few things we predict will be on the radar of global brands and localization teams in 2022:
Changes in Consumer Habits
Everything has changed over the past two years. During the peak of the pandemic, when times were unsure (and still are, to a lesser extent), brands needed to show their value, understanding, and support. They needed to demonstrate they understood the daily issues their consumers were facing and combat them in their communications. People want brands to be nice and helpful across the whole buyer journey – from search to support.
Moving into 2022, online shopping is most likely to continue to dominate. With the model shifting to direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are more in control of the whole experience; this is a great opportunity to really build on brand connection and engagement. There is also likely going to be more scope for targeted global marketing campaigns. Generation Z (those born in the 90s and 00s) have serious spending power – over $140 billion globally – and demand a seamless, personalized buying journey that’s more about experience than sale.
Taking AI Global
The COVID-19 pandemic turbocharged the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) worldwide, even in industries that had previously demonstrated resistance.
Conversational AI agents (chatbots) are especially popular as virtual agents, particularly in sales and customer support. Their ability to quickly and inexpensively deliver anything from customer account balances to detailed instructions has assured their role in the future of automation. Especially as more customers show a desire to avoid personal human-to-human contact with customer service agents.
Unfortunately, AI is often EN-centric. But, as we live in a multilingual world, organizations need to consider how to use AI to reach international audiences. And more importantly, they need to consider how customers feel about AI in their brand experiences? It’s a strategic consideration that many global brands need to integrate to the business strategy.
AI adoption will increase as more organizations learn about its cost-saving benefit. As chatbots become more accurate, consistent, and human-like, their role in the customer experience will become universal for many industries.
For bots and virtual assistants to be able to help in multiple languages, they need to be trained with data. As machine learning continues to take off and become a reality, we’re looking at more structured datasets being developed to help train these AI applications.
Hear from the Women Shaping AI and Data in the Localization Industry in this joint Women in Localization and Welocalize webinar featuring Olga Beregovaya, Carrie Fischer, and Tiarne Hawkins.
Change in Measurement + Localization KPIs
For language service professionals, how we measure our performance and successes will continue to evolve. Time spent analyzing project turnaround, time, and cost per word will be refocused and localization will be linked to business outcomes and KPIs. To keep developing impactful global strategies, brands need to know how content is performing, whether through clicks or increased sales and revenue. They are moving away from a transactional model, where localization services are treated as a business expense and not directly tied to performance.
Some useful background reading here is Welocalize’s Localization Manager’s Guide to Measurement and KPIs and CSA Research Report, Align Your Localization and Enterprise KPIs.
Emerging Markets + Industries
With the influx of globalization efforts come new emerging markets ripe with localization opportunities. India, with a population of 1.3 billion-plus, a rapidly growing middle class, and a young tech-savvy customer base with rising disposable incomes, is one to watch.
In addition to Hindi and English, India has 21 regional languages. However, 60% of India’s Bengali speakers point to insufficient language support as a key barrier to internet usage. For more insights, read Partnering to Success in India with India Language Localization.
Africa also looks quite promising, especially as mobile usage takes off there. A recent Nimdzi study showed many African mobile users weren’t using the internet on their mobile devices due to a “lack of culturally and linguistically relevant content.”
Evolving Content Types
As generation Y becomes more influential with purchasing power, we’re seeing more and more brands using multimedia to engage and entertain their audiences. For example, there is more recorded video (who’s recorded a TikTok??) and animation used for branding, marketing, and learning purposes. For global audiences, captioning, subtitling, voice over, and multimedia innovation will help organizations reach customers and employees around the world.
Let’s All Work Together ?
Growing global businesses involves so many teams and stakeholders. It makes sense to keep collaborating in our work to develop powerful multilingual content to reach international audiences. Sharing goals, data, and ideas furthers better business outcomes, and it makes a happier working environment.
For more information on how global localization and translation teams can work better together, read,
If you want to prepare for global growth – take a look at Welocalize’s Let’s Go Global On-Demand sessions – Sign Up Here. Featuring great discussions and guest speakers sharing insights on all things localization and reaching international audiences with multilingual content.
About the Author
Louise Law manages global marketing activities for localization and artificial intelligence services at Welocalize. She has worked in the localization industry for over 10 years and has over 20 years’ experience working with innovation and emerging technologies. Keen trail runner, hiker, swimmer, and Mum.