You are now ready to take your company to an international level, but where can I start with this mammoth task? How can I effectively connect with other cultures and markets and achieve success for my brand? It all starts with a culturally adapted translation and a solid localisation strategy.
So what exactly is localisation?
The simplest way to define it is the following: localisation is the process of adapting a product to a specific local market with a cultural adaptation in translation of the contents around the product. When starting the process, you will need a thorough localisation strategy. This is more than just translating text.
Though the concepts are frequently used interchangeably, translation is simply one of many components involved in a localisation process. A proper localisation strategy utilises a variety of techniques—one of them being translation—to guarantee that you can effectively target a new audience. From cultural nuances to pricing considerations, there are many factors to be taken into account:
First of all, carry out some research
More companies than you can imagine make the mistake of launching into a new region without knowing if their firm has the potential to succeed there. This is extremely important and this is precisely why competitive analysis and market research must come first. Is there a consumer need for the service or product that you offer? What other alternatives are there in the market? What are the sales channels that can work best? Very frequently, the competitive positioning you have successfully used in one country won’t work in another. Take a thorough look at the industry numbers, pain points and your competitors before going ahead.
Translation seems simple. Simply converting words from one language into another. But here’s the catch… a lot more goes into it when we are putting efforts to authentically connect with a culturally different audience. Your customers will have their own expectations, and if you fail to meet these expectations, your efforts will simply fall flat. Therefore, what are the options here? Translation agencies and integral management branding agencies offer options like human and post-edited machine translation; crowd sourced linguists; or multilingual staff.
- Professional translation agencies: If you are actually launching internationally with contents that are nuanced like specific marketing materials, partnering with a translation or branding agency is one of the recommended solution. Usually, international launches involve at least 3 or 4 languages, making quality assurance and project management, a real challenge. Using a translation service provider opens up the options of human translation and machine translation, also with a human post-editing. This is a hybrid solution suitable for less nuanced pieces of content that delivers important cost savings and faster turnaround times.
- Crowd sourced alternatives: When targeting one single language and working with a restricted budget, crowd sourced translations might be your answer. If you pick this route, make sure to collaborate within the right user group for your project.
- Multilingual in-house staff: Perhaps you only need your contents to be localised every now and then. For such one-off projects, it might be smarter to just tap the talent of one of your in-house multilingual staff members. These employees can offer you a useful alternative thus keeping costs down. But always keep in mind that this alternative might put the quality of the translations into question and jeopardise and entire campaign.
The Translation Process
You are probably not going to become your firm’s localisation specialist but having some knowledge about the translation process will definitely help you prepare for what is needed before launching. A thorough translation process needs to include the following:
- Assessment of your goals and resources
- Review of imagery and contents
- Create a style guide and glossary
- Preparing the files for the translation
- Translating and editing the contents
With the help of specialised linguists and long-term investment in your reputation, the above steps will open the door to new languages and markets and provide you with a competitive advantage.
The best part of working with a reliable translation agency is knowing you will be getting quality results in the end. Translation quality is obviously key to the way consumers perceive your brand in foreign markets. From the project setup to your choice of translation professionals to testing, you can actually achieve higher standards by simply:
- Picking qualified translator professionals
- Updating your style guide, and sharing this knowledge with every person involved in the process
- Training your colleagues on the translation process and their role in it
- Conducting periodic in-country reviews and testing
The above tips give you just a general idea of the complexity that comes with expanding your company into foreign cultures and markets. Partner with a specialist localisation and branding agency, and you will find yourself having fewer headaches throughout the process.