Go Global: Tips to Localizing Your Market for the Global Marketing

International Localization for Global Businesses

 

International Localization refers to the adaptation of a product, application or document content to meet the language, cultural and other requirements of a specific target market at a global level. No matter how prepared you are for a marketing campaign, failing to reach your target audience can lead to your demise. This ability to resonate starts with the translation of your message throughout your campaign. Whether it’s a difference in culture or language, it’s essential to provide content and services that translate internationally.

 

Avoid Getting Lost in Translation

International Localization means staying on target. Your online presence needs to translate correctly and efficiently. For example, you don’t want to face the embarrassing consequences of your slogan or pitch suffering in translation.  A little effort goes a long way to achieving your ideal results. It’s vital that you familiarize yourself with who you’re talking to. Make sure that your translation doesn’t turn your audience off by making a cultural misstep.

Set up shop locally where there is the opportunity or sell through e-markets. These are other options to localize your business within international markets. If you choose to be a vendor on different platforms, such as eBay and Etsy, the currency conversions will be done for you. However, make sure you don’t use the basic platform-translation features available.

Translating correctly is a very difficult skill that requires knowledge of local customs – especially for B2C foods, clothing, household goods, and other daily-use products — as well as a broad base of terminology. A mistake in a local translation can lead to more than just embarrassment. See some of the translation bloopers we have discovered.

You’re most likely focusing on specific regions around the globe because they have already shown interest in your product. By taking the necessary steps to set up localized marketing materials, you can quickly assimilate your business into the culture. This will help you to understand your target market on a more personal level and ensure your marketing is on point.

 

Familiarize Yourself with Trends 

When you set up shop abroad, take advantage of any local presence you have to analyze what is trending in that country. By knowing the particularities of your target region, you’ll have a better idea of what speaks to this audience.

After doing some research, you can shape your business and campaigns around the vibe and voice that your target market wants to hear. It’s crucial to understand your market by localization to achieve international marketing success.

 

International Localization: Getting Started

By implementing these factors we’ve covered and consulting with a professional, you’ll be able to better relate to your international target market and capitalize on the global marketplace.

Ready to get started? We’re here to help! Contact us today for a consultation regarding your next global marketing campaign.  

Auerbach International helps expand businesses into countries and cultures through global marketing strategies and professional translations into 80+ languages

World-Quest MarketingTMCountries. Strategies. Cultural Cues.
Translations-Express!TM 80 Languages. Always Fast. Culturally Correct. Always Accurate.

Key Issues in Marketing Globally

Global marketing ands Globalization used to be important to only large, multi-national companies. But with rapid advances in communication technologies, global marketing communications are relevant to many businesses around the world.

Whether you are in the beginning stages of expanding or an experienced expat, targeting a global audience is a nuanced and important aspect of Globalization marketing that deserves a dedicated staff to make sure it is done right.

The Importance of Translation Services for Global Marketing

Globalization has become an extremely controversial topic. While many companies and individuals benefit, some obviously lose out. But let’s focus on some advantages provided by the independent research firm, Common Sense Advisory:

  • Businesses that expanded their translation budgets were 1.5 times more likely than their Fortune 500 peers to report an increase in total revenue.
  • Companies that translated information to communicate with and retain their partners were 2.67 times more likely to experience revenue increases. There was also a 2.6 increase in the probability of generating improved profits.
  • Fortune 500 companies that translated to keep up with or to gain an edge over their competitors were 2.04 times more likely to have an increase in profits and 1.27 times more likely to generate augmented earnings per share.

It does not matter whether you are a Fortune 500 company or small enterprise. The same trends apply: Going Global increases companies’ revenue and profits.

Globalization contains many elements. Among these are understanding the competitive environment; knowing other countries’ HR, tax, investment and accounting laws; possible product reconfiguration and design; local pricing and funds collection; after-sales servicing; and product shipping and distribution.

While all this can seem daunting, it does not have to be if we take the process one step at a time. And among the first and most essential steps, even for Anglophone markets, is to translate or acculturate your content, because (also according to Common Sense Advisory):

  • 72.4% of global consumers prefer to use their native language when shopping online;
  • 55% only buy products from websites that provide information in their own language; and
  • 56.2% said that obtaining information in their own language is even more important than price.

Again, whether you are B2C or B2B, customers prefer to buy from companies that address them in their own language. Even if your target market speaks English excellently, the cultural connection of using the audiences’ primary language cannot be overstated.

Globalization With Marketing that Makes Sense

Before translating any content, it is essential to verify your company name, product names and tagline in key languages to ensure no gaffes.

  • Clairol, for example, introduced its Clairol Mist into Germany without first discovering that “Mist” is German slang for “manure,” not very appealing on ladies’ hair.
  • Entenmann’s and other US bakeries were bought by a Mexican conglomerate, Grupo Bimbo.  The parent company is now called Bimbo Bakeries.

Both examples present these firms comically instead of professionally. They are great additions to our Bloopers list but not to the firms’ credibility or reputations.

This element of global marketing communications is extremely cheap insurance before you invest huge sums in overseas selling and/or manufacturing. (Our firm will evaluate up to eight names in ten languages for $1500, including Chinese, which has its own complications. Please contact us to discuss.).

Website Localization

After verifying names, an easy way to start the global expansion process is simply to localize your business website. Then you can see where orders originate and plan further expansion accordingly. If localizing even part of your website proves difficult, simply do a one- to two-page summary of the company and products in various languages.

If your business is B2C or does online sales, you will also have to ensure that your website is provisioned to accept foreign currency.

In either case, you should localize your website meta tags and consider getting your URL translated and presented on the search engines of key language markets. After all, the point is for overseas prospects to find you. [Our firm can assist you inexpensively with these aspects as well].

The Language of Global Marketing

When expanding into new markets, there are a lot of variables to consider in your global marketing plan. With a professional language translation service, you can avoid potential cultural faux pas by translating into native languages.

In addition to providing the basis for global marketing communications, professional translation services can also help you connect to your global customers and executives working overseas:

  1. Your language agency can translate emails into English from your overseas contacts and can translate your responses written in English into your target languages, usually all within 24-48 hours.
  1. If an overseas prospect calls or you need to call abroad, you do not need to speak the local language or find an employee who does. [And if you do, how well can you evaluate whether the employee speaks some local dialect, educated speech, or with off-putting slang?] Instead, you can use our 24/7 telephonic interpreting service which connects you instantly – and only when needed — with a third-party interpreter in 240 languages. Please call us at (415) 592-0042 ext.107 to register.

Auerbach International can always assist with all these basic steps to get you optimized for global marketing communications. For the more advanced steps, please contact us for a free consultation to explore your needs.


The author Philip Auerbach is president of Auerbach International, a 26-year-old firm that translates any content into 80 languages, identifies countries to target and provides strategies to enter those markets. Please see www.auerbach-intl.com.

 


 

Culture Cues for German Business

This article from Auerbach International presents some Do’s and Don’ts to help expand your business.

German Business Culture and Language

There are many opportunities to expand your business into Germany. However, to succeed, you must know the differences in business culture between Germany and the US. You can fall into some definite traps if you do not appreciate those differences.

Cultural Differences

  • The German business culture and overall culture tends to be more formal than what we are used to in the United States. When people have an advanced degree such as a PhD, you address them by that title by calling the person “Dr.” followed by his or her last name.
  • You do not call people by their first name unless they offer it first. (They are not likely to offer that until much later in the process, if ever).
  • When you speak to people in English, you need to speak more slowly than usual because your German counterpart speaks English as the second language. He/she learned English (likely British English) in school some time ago. It is best not to use slang or highly idiomatic phrases.
  • When you want to do business in Germany, you must be well prepared. Chances are you would not even get the meeting unless the German company or organization has already done some homework on you. Now you need to show them that you really have what they need and expect. You have to undergo a thorough and somewhat time-consuming due diligence process. Expect that your German counterparts will subscribe to the principle of “uncertainty avoidance,” i.e., they want to be very sure that choosing you is the right choice and that the choice will not come back to haunt them later.
  • When you meet in person, make sure you give good eye contact, and a firm handshake. Also, make sure not to drag your feet because Germans may think it indicates you are lazy. When your nose is running, make sure to use a tissue promptly. These small issues can add up to your making a bad or good impression.
  • Communication is often dominated by giving precise, short answers, which is not considered rude but simply viewed as efficient.
  • Once you have survived the time-consuming, due-diligence process, are through the door and have impressed your German prospects, you are most likely going to enjoy doing business with them for a long time.

Need to translate?

  • Yes, many Germans read and speak some English. Yet, ask almost anyone whether he or she would rather consume your information in German – and whether it saves the person valuable time. Of course, the answer is Yes on both.
  • When translating your American website and/or offline marketing materials into German you must consider the cultural differences in the localization process.
  • You need to make sure the content on your website is researched well, factually correct and professionally presented. It does not serve you well to be too informal in your writing.
  • Research your target clients’ needs. They may be somewhat different that those of your American clients.
  • Become familiar with the right terms.

What about dialects?

Let us also talk about the different dialects you find in Germany. Different areas in Germany use different dialects in their spoken everyday language. But on web pages and marketing materials, it will not matter; those are written in “High German.” However, if you plan to do business in the German-speaking part of Switzerland (or Austria), some major differences in the language can occur.

All of the above illustrates that you really need a partner who can help you to expand your business into another country such as Germany. It is well worth doing, if and when you have a well thought-out marketing strategy and your product is needed in that market.

  • You must be clear on your intentions;
  • You must be well-prepared; and
  • You must have a partner who helps you look and sound your best.

With that in hand, you can create a business-expansion opportunity that likely will serve you well for many years to come.

About the Author

Dr. Stephie Althouse is the founder and CEO of Top-Notch CEO™ which guides talented companies and their people to greater productivity and profitability. With a PhD in chemistry and 20+ years’ experience in C-level leadership, she received the TR100 award as one of 100 “most promising young innovators under the age of 35” by MIT Technology Review magazine. She has also won two “Technology of the Year” awards; is a certified executive coach; and a member of the Institute of Coaching, affiliated with Harvard Medical School. For more details, see TopNotchCEO.com.

As a global outreach firm, Auerbach International is both a premier language agency and a world marketing consultancy (distributors, research, strategies, cultures and skills to penetrate overseas markets). Please see www.auerbach-intl.com and contact us at 415 592 0042 x 107.

 

Websites and Globalizing: Critical Facts

If your website has not been localized in other languages — or if you localized it using Google Translate — here is what you are missing:

According to Common Sense Advisory,

  • 72.4% of global consumers prefer to use their native language when shopping online.
  • 85% of all consumers will not purchase if information is not in their native language.
  • 56.2% of these consumers said obtaining information in their own language is even more important than price.

Whether you are marketing a product or a service, or focus on Asia instead of Europe, the trend is ultimately the same: People want to read about your offering in their own language.

In fact, even in the EU where many people are multi-lingual, only half of EU Internet users will bother with an English website — even when no other language is available.

So if you are serious about achieving global marketing success, you simply must localize your websites into your target countries’ languages.

And be sure to use professional linguists. While Google Translate and other programs can sometimes do well, relying on them is unwise since they often commit comical errors and mistakes that can damage your reputation for excellence. This can lead prospective customers to naturally wonder that if you are willing to settle for a cheap, second-rate presentation, how can you be trusted to provide first-rate products or services?

But localizing some or all of your website into other languages is only one step toward successful global expansion. Other issues to consider are:

1- Do you know what countries or world regions are most receptive to your product or service?

Demographic research will tell you.

2- Do you know how to enter those markets?

Don’t assume that what works here will also work there. You may need to employ different product configuring, packaging, soliciting, pricing and selling methods.

For example, if you make candy or shampoo, the developing world could be a prime market. But you may need to repackage your products in small packets of one or two pieces or individual sachets for one or two uses. Often, most people in these countries work at outdoor markets, small shops or as day laborers, earning cash daily or weekly. They can afford small quantities for small prices, earning you a much larger market share.

3- How formal or informal is your target country?

In informal countries such as the US, Australia and New Zealand, you can use methods such as cold calling, email blasting or postal ads to attract prospects. In formal countries, such as East Asia, India, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America, personal connections or relationships are seen as more trustworthy. If you are marketing there:

  • Do you have a network of personal connections?
  • How extensive is the network of your distributor or agent?

4- Do you know your target country’s retail methods?

Best Buy thought it did when it entered China. It simply replicated its successful model of the US in which many manufacturers’ electronics products are sold under one roof by category (all printers, all TVs, all CD players in their respective sections). But in China, that was a disaster because:

  • Customers there shop by manufacturer, not by product category. So to them, Best Buy’s layout was confusing and frustrating;
  • Chinese sales reps are loyal to and employed by their manufacturer (brand), not to the retailer at which they work; and finally
  • Best Buy emphasizes post-sale customer service. This adds to product prices, while most Chinese customers value cheaper prices more than post-sale service.

In short, languages — whether for brochures, user manuals, contracts or websites — are very important but are one part of the global marketing mix. Many other marketing elements are equally as vital.

We at Auerbach International are one of the very few firms that combine both first-class language services and state-of-the-art global marketing solutions under one roof. If you seek to expand your company’s global footprint, please contact us for a free quote or consultation.

Newsletter – April 2016

This Month’s Featured Video

ROLE OF NATIVE SPEAKERS IN TRANSLATION

 
 

 

SEE MORE
VIDEOS HERE

Many companies assume that they can rely on overseas distributors or in-house native speakers to translate documentation or localize website content. That can work if done correctly, but usually the process isn’t. People don’t appreciate how difficult translations can be and how long the process can take, particularly for anything technical. And when the home office does not control the message, lots of problems can happen: sentences get deleted, added or rewritten; unknown claims get added that you may be liable for; words get misused or misunderstood; the same term can get translated in many ways or incorrectly; and your branding gets inconsistent and garbled. The best-practices role for qualified native speakers is to act as reviewers of the translations and consultants about in-house terminology, not to do the process themselves.

For the last 26 years Auerbach International Inc. has been translating the technical and marketing collateral of your industry into over 80 languages, with accuracy and effective cultural sensitivity. Over that time we’ve worked with dozens of well-known firms — such as Google, Twitter, Roche, Colgate, Home Depot, and the NBA Golden State Warriors.


Advantages of Auerbach International:

 Global marketing perspective emphasizing cultural acceptance.
 Industry-specialized language teams.
 Full menu of supporting services, including product name evaluations, page layout, audio dubbing, telephonic interpretation, and more.
 Available, super-fast delivery times.
 Award-winning personal service and client satisfaction.

Success Stories:

The NBA champion Golden State Warriors were playing a series of exhibition games in China against the L.A. Lakers in October 2013. The Lakers already had their website in Chinese, and the Warriors needed their own done well and done quickly. They turned to Auerbach International localize their team name, players’ names and website content in Chinese. That allowed the Warriors to generate pre- and post-game publicity and sales, both in China and among Chinese in the US. Read More

Language Bloopers:

FAQs

Do computers / translations software do the translations?

Never! Computer translation programs do help professional translators. They can also be helpful where “lay” people just want to get the gist of a document. But a professional translation still needs to be reviewed by a speaker of that language. For example, a software–generated translation which we had to correct had rendered “a board meeting” into Chinese as “a collection of planks of wood.” An accurate rendering but not quite conveying the correct meaning. At Auerbach International, we use only skilled, native speakers in the translation and editing process to ensure top quality translation. Computers simply cannot get the nuances that a human native speaker can. Please see Machine Translation. Read More

 

Chinese: Why you can’t translate into Mandarin

Understanding How Politics Divides the Chinese Markets

Why You Can’t Translate into Mandarin

Unlike alphabetic languages whose letters represent distinct sounds, Chinese is written in characters. Foreigners must learn the writing, the meaning and the pronunciation of each character individually.

Mandarin, Cantonese, Fukienese, Shanghaiese and hundreds of other dialects are spoken pronunciations of individual characters. Each dialect can sound like a distinct language, and when interpreting – rendering spoken communication — the requested dialect, not just “Chinese”, must be specified.

Before and after World War II, China was wracked by many years of civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists.

  • The Communists won the civil war on the Mainland and declared the People’s Republic on October 1st 1949.
  • The Nationalists fled to the offshore island of Taiwan, ostensibly to regroup and re-invade. They have remained there as a separate government ever since.

In the 1950s, the Mainland Communists started to simplify many complex written characters to improve literacy. Therefore, these Simplified characters are used for translating, which is written communication, for Mainland markets (and Singapore).

Outside of China, Traditional characters are commonly used in Taiwan, Hong Kong (which, as a “special region” of China is now transitioning to Simplified usage), and among Chinese in the US. Traditional also has its own distinct grammar and vocabulary.

Documentation and websites for all Chinese markets must therefore be written in both Simplified and Traditional characters to avoid offending either government and to ensure readability.