With a change coming in the way the UK trades, many leading organisations such as the Institute of Export & International Trade recommend localising your business content so that your website, goods and/or services speak the language of the foreign market you want to target or already working in.
What is localisation?
Localisation is the adaptation of a business product or service into the culture and language of the market or audience you want to reach. A well-localised text goes far beyond what a straight translation might achieve, and takes into account differences between language variants and cultural sensitivities, as well as the specificities of the country where you want to be present.
But everyone understands English, don't they?
The process of localisation is likely to increase your chance of gaining that critical foothold in important new markets and leapfrog the competition. While the world may understand English to some degree, independent research firm Common Sense Advisory found that you could be missing out on 60% of customers if you don’t localise your content to match your target market.
And it’s never too late: when it comes to post-sales customer care, both B2B and B2C buyers prefer localised content – increasing your chances of repeat sales.
Now is the right time to get localising
As illustrated by the recent Business West Local Business Survey, with domestic business confidence at its lowest since the depths of the 2009 recession, now is the perfect time to start thinking about expanding into different markets – especially given the recent signs of increasing confidence in global markets that you can capitalise on, such as the German market which is projected to increase its exports by 5%.
How to get localising
As a business you might already know which goods or services you want to sell abroad, and have chosen your route to market either via a distributor/representative or going direct via the Internet. The next step is to get a professional translator who can help you. As fellow BW member Andre Ofomah points out in his article 'Thinking differently about growing your business', while doing business abroad might sound daunting, it needn’t be overwhelming – especially with a translator by your side. Working with a translator who has experience of living or working in the country you're targeting ensures your translated content uses the right tone and form of language. We all laugh at poorly translated content on the web but think of the damage you could cause to your reputation and future sales if you were to fall into the same trap. To avoid doing just that, why don’t you work with a professional translator who can help out with your business?
To better understand what support a translator can offer when localising, here are some FAQs:
- Do I need an in-country translator?
You can offer your services internationally from the comfort of your office without necessarily having to establish a presence in an international market. You work locally and sell globally – and you can work in the same way with professional translators based here in your own backyard, who are either native speakers or have lived in the target market. It delivers a more personal service, especially knowing that they are just down the road and are just as interested in your success as you.
- I need to get my translation back asap
Professional translators are renowned for their punctuality, and for their flexibility in meeting those last-minute requests. That said, it’s much better, and ultimately cost-saving, to involve translators early on in the copywriting process by sharing your plans with them and allowing them sufficient time to research and localise your content. You’ve invested time in creating your content, so will your translator – a win-win for everyone. Delivery timescales depend on a variety of factors, including: How much text is involved, the complexity of the text, research requirements and whether you need it checked by a proofreader
- What about my sector-specific terminology?
Every sector is unique, both in terms of its offering and its language (not to mention the acronyms). With translators specialising in specific sectors, you can rest assured that the translator will speak ‘your’ industry specific language – and be better able to convey your offering so it achieves maximum impact in the target market. It’ll save you time and money in the long run.
- Which file formats do you handle?
You produce content in a variety of formats – from HTML, Word, PDF, PowerPoint and InDesign to tweets and social-media content.
To best support you, translators can work in these formats directly – saving you the hassle of copying, pasting and reformatting content, and getting your message to market much faster. Your translator will be happy to advise. So, go on: reach out and get translators involved. The same goes for when you need to follow up on your activities or deal with customer inquiries in a language other than your own: your translator will be able to assist here too or direct you to a colleague. All that remains now is to wish you all the best with your global expansion!
About the ITIWRG
The Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) is the UK's specialist professional association for translators and interpreters. Its Western Regional Group (WRG) was set up in 1988 and now has members drawn mainly from Bristol, Bath and the surrounding region. Our members cover a wide range of languages, specialisms and services. Our web site allows clients to search our member database of professional linguists and contact them directly for commissioning work.