Just use \quotation and \quote, then you have the right settings for
many languages and can also be sure that quotes get closed and are
consistent over the whole document.

Thanks Hraban.

That won't work with my workflow. I edit in Markdown (plain text), transform to XML, then pass the XML to ConTeXt. When I edit the document, I want to use ' and " without tying the document to TeX. This gives me a complete separation of content from presentation logic.

Figured it might be helpful if others have the same workflow.