Taking Your Business Global? Find a Language Partner to Leverage Localization to Increase International Revenue

April 27, 2018 |

For businesses successful in their domestic market, the temptation to expand overseas looms large. However, trying to duplicate that success internationally can be daunting. Fortunately, the right language partner can walk you through the process of using localization to increase international revenue.

localization to increase international revenue

Many questions surface for business owners considering making the leap to becoming a global name:

  • Do I need to create all new marketing materials?
  • What changes must I make to product development?
  • Is the risk really worth the investment when I’m doing so well in my home country?
  • Can’t my new customers rely on Google Translate to navigate my current website?
  • Where do I even begin?

These questions and many others are valid. Successfully using localization to increase international revenue requires special expertise. But as long as you go into the work with your eyes wide open and research the best way to introduce your business to your target country, there’s no need to fear the risks. Let’s start with the basics.

What is the Difference Between Translation and Localization?

People often confuse localization with translation, but localization actually involves more than simply translating text word-for-word. Localization refers to the process of doing whatever is necessary to make a product, website, or other content relevant to a foreign market.

Website localization includes combining efforts of different specialists to achieve more results than just having a website in a different language. Some words have different meanings in countries that speak the same language, so linguists design a strategy to overcome this, such as using a neutral version of the text or creating different versions for each country or region.

This aspect of localization is also important for SEO professionals, as the content will affect the results shown by web search engines for different versions of your website. So if different words are used for the same result in two or more countries, many users will not get the expected results.

Also, keep in mind that while many countries share the same language, the cultural context could be entirely different. So defining your target audience is essential to create the desired impact on the reader and in some cases avoid offending them.

There are some things that literally get lost in translation when localizing an online business. They may be small, but getting these details right, can make a huge difference in international customer satisfaction.

Here are four small things to take into account when localizing your website:

  1. What languages are spoken there?
  2. How do they like to pay?
  3. Does the language follow a different reading format?
  4. What currency is used?

Regardless of the size of your business, localization to increase international revenue should be a top priority when you’re going global.

How to Introduce Your Business to Foreign Markets

Introducing your business to new foreign markets takes time and research. Many businesses that decide to enter a foreign market for the first time make the mistake of following their gut instincts, rather than doing the necessary research. They may simply send their marketing materials to a language service provider requesting a literal translation.

In most cases, this is not a successful strategy. If your marketing isn’t sensitive to cultural norms, even the most technically accurate translation won’t resonate with your new audience. And your efforts will be wasted. But a trusted team of experts can show you how to leverage localization to increase international revenue.

1. Get to Know Your Target Market.

One of the key aspects of using localization to increase international revenue is the target audience. Even though many people can read in more than one language, most people prefer to browse the web in their mother tongue, rather than a secondary one. They also feel more comfortable buying if the content of the website they are visiting is in what they identify as their own language.

When you understand the cultural traditions and customs that your prospective customers practice before making any marketing decisions, you can better tailor your strategy to be successful.

There are no shortcuts when it comes to globalization. While this might seem obvious for marketing teams in the U.S. considering moving into non-English speaking markets, it can be equally important for moving into other English-speaking markets. Slogans, logos, and imagery that work perfectly in the U.S. may fall flat or even be perceived of as offensive in places like England, Australia, and Canada.

A good case to study of a company that didn’t do its research before branching out overseas is Walmart, which tried to find success in Japan back in 2005. However, one of Walmart’s slogans, “Every Day Low Prices,” was more than off-putting for Japanese customers, who come from a culture that believes cheap things are not good quality.

Any U.S.-based business looking to expand overseas can take a lesson from Walmart’s localization fail.

2. Familiarize Yourself with the Legal System and Business Regulations.

You have probably already done some homework on the economic situation in your target market if you’re seriously considering expanding business in that country. But this is really the tip of the iceberg. You also need to understand the legal system, relevant regulations, and how changes to tariffs both in the U.S. and in your target country could affect sales.

That’s right, even the political landscape will play a role in how certain marketing campaigns will be received in a foreign market. Simply consider the current US-China dispute over trade and how that has rattled the steel and pork industries among others.

Are you ready to weather similar political storms in your industry?

3. Find a Reliable Translation Agency.

Once you have embarked on your globalization journey, there are a few things you should make sure to do right away. These include: Contacting a translation agency that will serve as your linguistic and cultural guide. A good translation agency will know exactly what to do in terms of content, formatting, and style to ensure your marketing campaign is a hit.

Translation, however, is a big task. Start by translating your website and other content into the language of your target market. According to one survey of over 3,000 global consumers, 75% of people prefer to buy from a website that is in their native language and from a shopping cart that has not been translated by Google translate with distorted text and formatting. Make sure the translation team you decide to work with is experienced in website translation and localization.

It All Comes Down to Brand Management

A strong brand is the key to sparking interest in a new locale and in driving customer loyalty. How do you adapt a brand for a foreign market without destroying its essence? There are lots of good examples of companies that have successfully expanded and used localization to increase international revenue.

McDonald’s is perhaps the best example. When you think about the billion-dollar burger company’s overall brand image, you think about the colors, the silly clown, and the fun. But besides that, you think about what Americans uniquely value about taking the family to McDonald’s: the cheap, quick meal for busy people on the go.

McDonald’s brand identity is how it makes us feel—in other words, the ambiance. Now, if you’ve ever been to a McDonald’s in a foreign country, you might have noticed it’s a bit more upscale. In a lot of emerging markets McDonald’s is a common place for a first date. But the ambiance is similar: McDonald’s is known worldwide for convenience and for selling quality food at a reasonable price.

So, McDonald’s in Dubai keeps the colors and the clown. They also offer core products like Coca-Cola and American-style French fries. Through localization, they have established what aspect of the brand to keep to support their core brand essence. But they have also successfully adapted a lot of their product offerings to the local market.

To make sure you don’t end up botching a campaign due to a lack of adequate research, remember one thing: Get to know the cultural traditions and customs that your prospective customers practice before making any marketing decisions.

All of that is simply a longwinded way to say, localization to increase international revenue boils down to “know your customer.” Keep that as your main credo and you will catch any problems before they even become problems.

Contact us today and let’s discuss how to increase international revenue for your business!

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Category: Translation Services