Support content tends to have many pitfalls. Companies often get a product fully localized into a target language but forget to translate the online support pages. Difficulties also arise when the support content localizes, but the chatbot isn’t working in other languages. Additionally, when only English speakers work the phone lines. Or when multilingual emails flood in that a team has no idea how to process. 

These are all disasters companies can avoid. The first step is to understand the basic processes of setting up multilingual customer support. 

How to Provide Multilingual Customer Support 

The following steps are a basic how-to guide to help you get started setting up your multilingual customer support system: 

1. Decide on Multilingual Customer Support Tools

Customer support tools are the main drivers for ensuring customer satisfaction. Companies use them to handle queries, collect feedback, guide communication, and introduce self-service options. One of the initial steps of providing multilingual support is to decide what that support looks like for your customers. The tool options can include a live chat, team inbox, FAQ page, phone support, etc. It can also extend to your social media presence and direct messaging to answer customer support questions. 

2. Consider Native Speakers for Customer Support

Depending on the customer support tools you choose, those support avenues may require more conversation than other aspects of your company. Consider hiring native speakers to give consumers more confidence that concerns are being appropriately addressed and reduce the chances of miscommunication while maintaining brand integrity, 

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3. Localize Customer Support Pages for Easier Navigation

After deciding which customer support tools will be used, it’s essential to determine which languages you will be supporting and localize the auxiliary content. These days, consumers tend to use self-help options when available. Localizing your content and user interface is the best way to ensure customers can navigate the pages. 

These three steps, along with a few more helpful tips, can help you create a solid foundation to implement your multilingual customer support strategy. 

Six Crucial Multilingual Customer Support Tips 

The following tips will help you effectively localize your multilingual customer support content from start to finish and avoid the major pitfalls. But because support translation projects can be high-volume, complex, and costly, try to keep in mind the most important lesson of all: you don’t have to localize everything—not all at once anyway. And you certainly don’t have to do it all yourself.

1. Plan ahead for volume and budget

Many companies rush to start translating multilingual customer support content as soon as they finish the first major product build. What they don’t realize is that they may have half a million words in support content. Those per-word fees will add up fast if they go in blindly.

Take time now to plan and create a workable localization strategy for your support content. If you’re running a complex application or service with tons of existing support content, you’re better off starting with a limited scope of support that fits your budget. You can grow your efforts later once you have the bandwidth to expand into additional target languages. Set an appropriate budget for multilingual support localization, and then think about translating.

2. Integrate your content systems

Let’s say you already have localization technology in place for your primary software and a repository of support content located in Zendesk. Set up a pipeline between Zendesk and your localization platform so content can flow smoothly and automatically. 

This architectural step will save you countless hours and dollars in the long run. 100% API integration is the way to localize efficiently, so if your localization platform can’t support Zendesk integration, it’s time to partner with one that can.

3. Strategize to take advantage of automation tools

Good news! Not all of your multilingual customer support content needs to go through a complete localization engine. We advocate for localizing in the “sweet spots,” or areas where you’ll get the highest ROI for your efforts.

For example, identify which resources get the most clicks in English and send those for full localization by human translators. Medium-priority content can be machine-translated and then reviewed by editors on your team. Low-priority content can be machine-translated with minimal oversight. This last option is so cheap and easy it’s practically free. 

Be sure to take advantage of this and other ways to simplify your localization process so you can lower overall costs and keep pace with your markets.

4. Ensure tight terminology control

When your product and your helpdesk exist in a digital context, you must maintain tight terminology control over everything you translate. This process may seem obvious, but we’ve seen countless examples of support pages referring to different translated terms than those used in the product interface.

If your “SUBMIT” button reads as “ENVIAR” in the Spanish version of the interface, you’d better not be instructing users to “Click MANDAR” in your online forum.

Keep all of your key phrases locked in a termbase or glossary to avoid future mishaps. This step is one of the pivotal best practices of the localization industry and worth every hour you spend creating and maintaining these comprehensive resources. 


Giving translators access to your app will keep them mindful of these terms and their nuances in practice. You might even appoint them to run some quality assurance tests by reviewing their translations in context. This way, they can ensure that the right messages are coming across and that the adapted content preserves the product’s functionality.

5. Prepare your chatbot

If you have a chatbot in addition to an online support content repository, make sure to set up technology that can recognize and respond to multilingual users. Any vendor should be able to quickly let you know if they can support natural language processing.

At that point, it’s up to you to run all of the automated chatbot responses through your content localization management system for each of your target languages. This step is a relatively small localization project. Unfortunately, it often gets overlooked when companies go global, but it has a huge impact on user experience.

6. Consider how you’ll handle phone support

Companies that provide a complete help desk and a chatbot in another target language will likely consider offering multilingual phone support. If you have the funds and the infrastructure to handle phone support in each of your target languages, go for it.

If not, you need to be crystal clear in the localized version of your support site that there’s no phone support available. You might have to make a few design changes to the original content, so you’re not instructing visitors to “give us a call” in every target language.


Adapt this strategy for phone support to decide how your company will handle international email traffic as well.

*Bonus Tip: Manage your reputation abroad

Our final tip doesn’t have as much to do with localization, but it’s crucial for your company’s international success. We always encourage our clients to spend a little effort measuring how customers review them globally.

If you’re using sentiment analysis engines in English, do the same for your other target languages. Try to think about every aspect of your company’s customer support from a multilingual perspective. Your international users will thank you for paying attention.

Getting Support for Your Multilingual Content

From software to marketing collateral to multimedia assets, localization is an incredibly complex venture. Your internal team might not have the bandwidth to handle multilingual customer support content on top of everything else—especially since these localization projects tend to be high volume. If your company has numerous translation projects at this point, you might want to consider outsourcing the localization work to a partner you can trust. 

The best localization companies walk with you through the multilayered process of going global, offering valuable tips like these every step of the way. You’ll be able to scale up your localization process to cover all of your ongoing product development, marketing materials, support content, and beyond. Plus, you’ll have access to the most cutting-edge localization technology—tools that will make your life much easier today and in the future as your company expands into even more international markets.  

Don’t stress about multilingual customer support. With a healthy strategy in hand and a capable localization p at your back, you’ll be able to extend your reach and connect with users all over the world.

Bureau Works is a full-scale localization service offering consulting, technology, and back-end services for companies moving quickly into new markets. We localize multilingual customer support content for startups and global enterprises alike. Are you looking for an expert localization partner? Contact our team. We’re prepared to support you while you interact with millions of customers around the globe.

Published On: May 23rd, 2019 / Categories: Localization Strategy, Tips & Trends /

Gabriel Fairman

May 23, 2019

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