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.

 

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

 

Blooper #8

Whether you have been with Auerbach International for many years or are recently joining us, we are pleased to present another of our Biweekly Bloopers.

As you can tell, the slight misuse of a word – even by people who profess to know English well – can have a very unintended meaning. This is another example of why it is best to rely on professionally trained linguists instead of on software, an office immigrant “who comes from there,” overseas agents or distributors. If you do choose to rely on them, it is best to ask your professional language service to back-translate their work into English, just to ensure that your firm is conveying no unintended (and comical) messages that can damage your image.

Additional Recent and Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to translate my website?

Quick answer: It depends.

First, the proper term for converting websites into other languages is Localization. That’s because translation is just one of the phases. Others could include laying out charts and graphics, internationalizing the text and engineering the code.

To obtain a quote for your website, we will need to know:

  1. which languages and/or countries you are targeting;
  2. your budget range, if available. We have various pricing options and will present one or two that come close.
  3. which links you do or don’t want localized. For example…
  • How many years of news or PR stories should we evaluate?
  • Should we include your product PDF brochures or website videos?
  • If so, all or just some?

Before we quote, we may need to have a five- to ten-minute phone conversation with you to clarify or discuss options. These can involve:

  1. Whether you want the full site, an abridged site or a summary site done.
  2. Payment methods from overseas on e-commerce or similar sites. The common methods here may not work from there.
  3. Whether you want us to use professionally trained translators (highest quality and for technical text) or qualified and tested translators (for simple sites and non-technical text).

The localization process (view video) itself can go very quickly: a few days for a simple site, around a week or two for a very complex site.

The biggest and first challenge is to determine with you or from your side what parts you want done.

If I localize my website, how will I understand the incoming responses? I don’t speak other languages.

Quick answer: No problem. We do, and we can empower you to also.

  1. For incoming written email responses, just send them to us. We will translate them into English, and translate your English replies into the target language.
  2. If you want to speak to your prospect, you can through our Instant telephonic Interpreting service 24/7. You simply call a provided toll-free number, enter your assigned access and PIN codes, and chose from a menu of 150 languages. Within seconds you will be connected to a telephonic interpreter through whom you can have a three-way conversation with your non-English prospect in another country … or in your office.

Use this service to make a sale, seal a deal or cultivate relationships. Please contact me to get set up, with no obligation to use it.

Localization…What Do You Really Mean?

Localization…What do You Really Mean?

Q: “Can you localize our manuals for Korea and our website for Brazil?”

A. “Yes, definitely. Now what do you mean?”

“Localization” is the most misused, confused and abused word in the language business, a profession that is supposed to be about rendering clear communication across languages. The reason for this confusion is that “localization” has different definitions for different people. And if your meaning differs from the listener’s understanding, what you have is a failure to communicate.

1.  Localization = Translation

To some people, localization is another word for translation, as in the request, “Can you localize my manuals for Germany?” Generally, the inquirer means, “Can you translate my manuals into German?”

2.  Localization = Acculturation

This meaning is the most implied but not stated outright, as in “Can you localize our brochures for Mexico?” In the case, the requester is asking whether we can translate her brochures into Spanish and make sure they are culturally appropriate for Mexico.

In the language business, some agencies have invented the term “transcreation”. Personally, that term seems ridiculous because it defines nothing and requires a translation itself. Instead, our agency uses a term from sociology called “acculturation”.

In essence, all these terms mean the same concept:  culturally adapting a home-country piece to host-country norms. Both “transcreation” and “acculturation” are used mostly in the context of marketing or promotion. (By contrast, technical manuals usually translate quite easily into other languages because technical professions use industry-specific terminology that all members understand).

To some extent this can involve internationalizing, which is explained below. But in most cases, proper acculturation means a thorough review and rewrite, if needed, to ensure that your stated benefits and features are appropriate. For example, a US marketing promotion often emphasizes value for money or cost savings. But when selling to Japan, the theme should be how your product or service is very reliable, of the highest quality, and has excellent back-up support.

A professional language agency can translate the concepts of an American marketing piece into Japanese. But the promotion itself — and all your investment — is likely to fail. No matter how wonderful your product or service may be, the English original often needs to be rewritten first to demonstrate benefits that appeal to the target culture. Only then should it be translated.

3.  Localization = Internationalization

Clients sometimes ask, “Can you localize our catalogue for Taiwan?” In this case, full internationalization may be required. This involves:

  • Graphics, images and colors: Do yours have any negative connotations in the target country? Are you advertising shampoo in Thailand with a blonde woman on the label?
  • Numbers: Are these written for the target country? Example: Should they be 5,234 or 5.234 or 5 234?
  • Currency: How does the target culture write this? Example: Quebec writes 12 592.74 $ (with a space instead of a comma and a space before the $) vs. $12,592.74 in the US.
  • Payment methods: Are you asking for payment by credit card when your target country uses cash or mobile-phone transfers instead? Does your target country use other credit cards not used at home?
  • Currency conversion: Are you asking for payment in dollars when overseas customers prefer to pay in their own currency? (A full-service global outreach firm can recommend solutions to this).
  • Does your text contain slang or references that simply don’t work in other countries?
    • Is a man “on the job?” If so, in Britain it means he’s having sex with his secretary.
    • Are you promoting pink products where pink can have a negative connotation?
    • Are you speaking about “creating your own destiny” to Arab countries, where for orthodox Muslims, only God, not people, can create?
    • Are you promoting price reductions where national laws restrict these only to one week in the summer or just after Christmas?
  • Concept disconnect:
    • Is your manual or website teaching cold calling to cultures where sales are mainly done through personal relationships and referrals?
    • Does your survey give rewards to participants in a country where professionals by law may not accept gifts?

For added confusion, some people consider internationalization to be part of acculturation. And vice versa.

4.  Localization = Website conversion

In the language business, this is actually the correct and traditional meaning of the word (in a tradition that extends about 15 years). Many people ask about “translating” their websites. Any professional language agency should be able to translate a website. But translation (converting the words and concepts) is only one part of rendering a website into another language. Other phases can involve:

  • acculturating your message (no. 2 above);
  • rewriting unclear or home-country references;
  • internationalizing your order page, concepts, images, etc. (no. 3 above);
  • laying out the graphics within the source files;
  • engineering the code to accommodate Asian or non-Latin scripts;
  • subtitling or dubbing any videos or spoken Flash automations;
  • testing all the links;
  • and more.

Website localization considers all of these steps to the exclusion of none. And only the highest-level, full-service, professional language agencies have the skills, expertise, staff and knowledge to localize a website properly.

SUMMARY

When you ask whether your language service can “localize”, it is best to explain what you mean or use an alternative word. And if your language agency does not ask what you mean (assuming it’s not clear from the context), you should seek another that does.

Very few full-service language agencies understand international marketing concepts. And since your success in overseas or ethnic markets can hinge on that knowledge, it is best to rely solely on language agencies that combine global marketing expertise as well.