The Covid-19 pandemic may have dampened global business activity to some extent, but it certainly hasn’t dented the push to expand international business activity. The ready availability and widespread uptake of the internet worldwide means that almost any business can market itself and its products anywhere in the world. Pandemic restrictions haven’t destroyed the internet and international supply chains may have slowed down but certainly still operate.
So, if viruses, the internet and global trade routes can’t stop your business from planning on international expansion, what’s stopping you?
The Main Stumbling Block – Language!
The English language may be one of the world’s most important international languages, perhaps the most important, but it doesn’t mean every potential customer and business partner understands it well enough to attract them to your particular business. The smart solution is to use professional translation and localisation services to make your business communication and marketing ‘visible’ to international marketing.
Even if you are just thinking of selling products to another English speaking country, there is a certain advantage in ‘localising’ your marketing messages. Localisation is a fairly sophisticated technique in which specialists adapt your slogans, ads, website and any other aspect of your business marketing to suit a specific target market. For example, U.S. companies aiming to penetrate the Australasian market don’t have to worry about using translation services as the language is almost identical. But localisation is going to make their marketing messages more attractive as it will take into account a subtle difference in colloquialisms and other use of vocabulary as well as differences in culture and units.
In a situation where there is a language difference, both translation and localisation are almost indispensable tools to get your business off the ground and ‘visible’ elsewhere.
Why use Translation Services?
Effective translation has become an essential step when marketing your products in a location where the language is different. This can even have some advantage if your business is based in a bilingual or multilingual country. Research shows that most potential customers who browse the internet looking for products they can purchase online will prefer using websites in their own language. Smart businesses will adapt their website so that the pages can be switched to the main languages of their target markets. In the U.S., many businesses routinely have a Spanish language version, while in Canada, English and French are used interchangeably. Woe betide those businesses that don’t bother to get their websites and other marketing material translated as they are simply losing trade to smarter competitors.
The same applies to any business intending on marketing products internationally. Check Alibaba, for example, or Amazon. These hugely successful companies have worked out that the maximum market for a Chinese only website (Alibaba) or an English only website (Amazon) is far smaller than one that has been translated into multiple languages. Imagine Volkswagen only marketing its cars in German, Volvo in Swedish and Toyota or Sony in Japanese? These are all successful companies, not just because of their products, but because they have understood that the success of international marketing and international sales is dependent on communicating how good their products are.
A Word of Warning – don’t Cheapskate on Translation and Localisation Services!
Another common failing for businesses getting on to the international sales bandwagon is underestimating just how important it is to use professionals when ordering translation and localisation tasks. There is a seemingly cheap option to professional translation at the click of a mouse and that is the availability of internet-based translation tools. They seem an attractive option, especially if you haven’t a clue what the translation says in another language. These computer-generated tools should never be used for a commercial business as they are often too inaccurate or unprofessional for use. They are more likely to ruin your reputation as a serious business rather than help you gain a foothold on a new international market.