The role of translation in all types of businesses’ global expansion plans simply cannot be overstated. It’s a vital piece in the puzzle in any successful international development strategy, but all too often translation gets a highly restricted budget that fails to reflect the crucial importance of this service.
When a company embarks on a process of global development, it means their intention is to expand and conquer new markets. To achieve that, however, it’s important for businesses to adapt their products or services to a different audience than the one they were originally devised for.
What better way to win a slice of a new market than by speaking its language?
Opting for the most common languages (such as English) is a great place to start, but it’s vital to speak to potential customers in their native language if you truly want to establish yourself in a foreign country. That’s the only way to overcome the inevitable initial scepticism to an unknown company and win the trust of customers.
Many businesses end up improvising when it comes to translation, but that’s no recipe for success. Instead, companies should entrust their translation requirements to specialist professionals.
The role of specialist translators
Specialist translators play an important role whenever a company embarks on a process of international expansion.
The crux of the task is to transpose all of the company’s communications into the target language, choosing the most effective words each time. Translation isn’t about rendering the original message or brand identity in another country’s words – it’s about adapting it to the new context to ensure that it fits with the linguistic and cultural expectations of the target country.
In this area, the aim of translation is to make the target market feel like the product/service was created specifically for them. But how do you go about achieving that?
First of all, you need to use the correct terminology.
Grammatical errors or spelling mistakes can have serious repercussions for the image and professionalism of a company, so it’s vital that you work with native-speaker professionals who have a deep understanding of the target language.
In addition to ensuring correct terminology, the translator must also take cultural considerations into account – and these can be found in every single word and phrase. If you want your international development strategy to be a success, it’s vital that you understand and show respect for the culture in your target market. As such, it’s important to use appropriate expressions and cultural references that enable to company to begin building a relationship of trust with potential customers.
The main steps
Global expansion is a complex process for any company, and involves a series of delicate stages.
The first step is market research, a process that allows the company to check that the right conditions are there for them to sell their product or service in the intended country.
Once this analysis has been completed, a company will be able to build up a general idea of the type of literature and materials to be translated in the target language. In addition to product packaging and accompanying documentation, it’s also important to pay close attention to online communication, not least the website.
This is one of the key reasons it is essential for companies to work with specialist translators.
If companies don’t have an internal team member capable of taking care of this service – and if they don’t want to train one – the best solution is to work with a specialist translation agency. They’ll be able to localize all the various materials in the target language, ensuring consistency and quality throughout.
This brings us to the subject of localization, the word used to refer to the process of culturally adapting information, communication and content.
Sayings, dates, currencies and images are just a few of the elements that can vary drastically from one country to another.
Finally, another key part of any international expansion strategy is participation in business events and trade fairs overseas.
Taking part in these events is a great way to explore new markets, raise your profile and launch lucrative partnerships. To ensure you seize these opportunities, it’s vital to make sure the communication flows well and is respectful of the target culture. And there’s no better way of ensuring this than having a native-speaker interpreter at your side.
Way2Global is ready and waiting to support any company wishing to take that next step and expand into new markets. With our large team of native-speaker translators and interpreters, we support our clients’ expansion strategies wherever they might be targeted, from China to the US, the UK and even the United Arab Emirates.
Looking for support for your international expansion plans? Get in touch!