The one-size-fits-all approach rarely works in business and this applies too to your foreign communications. A truly successful global business will demand effective translation at a local level – after all, what works in China won’t be the same for Brazil, and it will be different again say for Spain or Germany.
But it’s not just about adapting your strategy for each country; there will also be regional variations to consider within your target markets, along with different rules of engagement. The localisation process is a crucial, if not complex, element to any effective global business plan.
So, how best to approach it?
Learn from your new business environment
Take the time to learn about your new local business environment and understand the way your foreign market works – what role does social media play? How about consumer style in your region? And what is the national take on marketing, for example? Don’t forget too to consider the legal and political environment within which you’re wanting to establish business. The more fraught and complex the situation, the more informed you should be.
Make sure your translation is localisation-ready
You may have heard of the term ‘native-quality work’ – translated content that reads as though it was originally written in your target language – but does your translation pass the test? At some level, this relies on the skills, experience and expertise of your translator, but it’s equally dependent on how well you adapt your content to fit your local market before it even enters the translation process. A professional linguist will be able to help here too, advising on cultural differences and subtleties that exist across regions.
Satisfy your international customers
Your foreign customers don’t just want to see accurately-translated content, they expect it. In our fast-paced digital world, your target audience won’t stick around if you’re not communicating to them in the right way. It’s why getting your content and global strategy right is so important – customers are savvier, and they’re looking to invest in brands that can show they know who they’re talking to. Making accurate translation a priority will put you in the best possible position to succeed in the long term.
Reflect the local culture
When doing business in foreign countries you need to reflect an understanding of, and engagement to, the local culture. And before you reach for the nearest search engine, a basic google search just won’t cut it – there are so many elements at play when working within foreign markets, from currency to time differences, politics to legal framework, social media trends to history. Working with a native expert that can advise on what works – and importantly, what doesn’t – in your foreign market is invaluable…and you’ll get taken more seriously by customers and competitors alike.
Consider every reaction
However you choose to present your product and services, you’ll want to consider the reaction it will have from your target market. The way your brand is perceived will likely differ from place to place, so you should adjust your business and marketing materials to reflect this. Photos, nuances, grammar and cultural references will all promote different reactions in people, depending on the market you are working in – do your homework and make sure you get it right first time! Or risk offending, embarrassing or damaging your business through costly mistakes.
Don’t forget to localise your website!
Demonstrate you are fully invested in your foreign customers by adapting your website to meet their needs. It’s all too easy to expect every digital visitor to understand and navigate their way through your web content – but a successfully localised website could mean the difference between your visitors moving on within seconds, and choosing to stick around to find out more. It’s not just about increasing sales – your multilingual website is a valuable tool for testing new markets and can be a simple way to make you stand out from the competition.
Getting your international communications right first time is crucial to your success – if you’re in need of extra help and guidance from experienced professionals, feel free to talk to us here at Sally Walker, we’d be very happy to assist.