Localization to another market isn’t very easy, and if done improperly, can be dangerous to your bottom line. This is especially true for translation. SDL International found that “eight out of 10 international businesses lose revenue, delay product launches or pay fines for non-compliance because of translation errors.” We’re guessing that’s a majority you don’t want to be a part of.
The Challenges of Going Global
There are many obstacles standing between your business and international success. Here are three of the trickiest:
- Cultural Differences: People’s beliefs and preferences differ widely from culture to culture. For example, some societies prefer online shopping and others dislike buying anything without face-to-face contact. Payment method preferences also vary widely. While Japan feels safer making use of credit cards online, Germans often opt for bank wire transfers and direct debit. Before entering a new market, take time to research all the nuances of the people within it.
- Differences in Communication Styles: The issues of communicating with international customers go far beyond language differences. Things like displaying dates, body languages, and color preferences also play a part in making a product launch successful. Learn everything you can about a country’s communication style before launching that advertising campaign.
- The Complexity of Law and Logistics: Tariffs, duties, shipping prices, and tax laws can make stark difference to your firm’s finances. Not learning about them beforehand can also leave your company on the wrong side of an orange jumpsuit. Consult with a legal professional in your target market before finalizing any expansion plans.
Not handling these challenges effectively can land your company in a pot of hot water.
Ten Tips for Making Your Localization Efforts a Roaring Success:
Knowing the nature of the localization beast better equips you to combat it. Here are seven things you can do to make globalization easier:
- Capitalize on Your Diverse Staff: Your staff all come from diverse cultures and unique backgrounds. Make use of that. Get their input on your internationalization plans. See how they feel about your ideas, translations, and localization efforts. You might be able to stop a PR disaster before it starts.
- Find a Translation Partner That Knows Your Product: If you manufacture children’s toys, you need to find a translator who knows about the toy industry. This not only ensures you won’t run afoul of any obscure laws, but also gives you a partner who understands your product’s needs and target market.
- Be Picky About Your Translator: Don’t just go for whoever is cheapest. And, for heaven’s sake, do not rely on free software like Google Translate! Your words are often the first thing a customer sees. Pay for a great translator and ensure that your first impression is a good one.
- Make Sure Your Global Plan Is Solid: Globalization should never be approached half-heartedly. Take the time you need to ensure your localization plan covers all your bases. Not doing so is just asking for a PR disaster.
- Use Emotion to Transcend Cultural Lines: Happiness and sadness transcend artificial borders. If you’re having a tough time getting your message across, try bringing some emotion into your marketing.
- Don’t Let Your Home Market Limit Your Creativity: Translation doesn’t have to be word for word, and your advertisements shouldn’t be cheap knock-offs of the originals. Always customize your marketing to meet the preferences of your target markets.
- Familiarize Yourself with Local Laws: Failure to account for tariffs in shipping costs, can quickly derail your expansion plans. Always consult with an export professional before getting too far in your globalization efforts.
Otherwise, your firm might end up on the wrong side of the law.
Any business looking to grow in this day and age must venture beyond their home markets. While not impossible, international expansion is never a task to be taken lightly. Keeping the tips above in mind, however, should make it a little bit easier.
If you are a company looking to make your mark on the Swedish market, you can contact Tess Whitty at Swedish Translation Services for your translation and localization needs.