Going global is a big moment for any company. The day they cross borders and expand their products and services to new audiences introduces a whole new world of possibilities. It also introduces a whole new world of language challenges. The efforts required to bring a product or service to a new market goes far past simply translating the text in software, packaging, manuals, marketing campaigns, and other important assets. Culture, current events, and local idiosyncrasies also play a role. This brings us to localization.
In order to successfully go global, you need to take a local approach to each market, taking into account the culture and the language variants. This requires research to confirm that the product or service will resonate with that target market. It also requires adapting the language you will present to customers in a meaningful way. Localization prioritizes making text both linguistically and culturally accurate to the region it will be distributed in. Localization goes a step further than a direct translation as that is often not enough to connect with a new audience.
Follow these tips for going global successfully!
1. Research and Personalize
First things first, a high level of research is necessary when building out a product or service to bring to a market and when it comes time for the localization process. All markets have different language needs. For example, your company’s name may mean something totally different in the language of a target market than it does at home. In some cases that translation may be offensive or confusing. The same thing can happen with slogans, product names, and other key copy details. Just like you wouldn’t launch a product in your home market without doing your research, you should do the same due diligence when launching in a new market.
2. Meet Local Peculiarities
When determining a localization strategy, doing in-depth research on the region and markets you plan to enter can make all the difference. Research what values a culture has, what their history is, and what their local dialect is like compared to the overarching language they speak. Major companies have spent millions crafting global campaigns to only find out that their slogans or campaign copy translate to something offensive or ridiculous.
3. Build the Right Team
Who is on your localization team will make all the difference when it comes time to make a splash in a new market. Your team will need the right skill sets and talents to launch in your specific chosen market. Hiring native translators who have the ability to transcreate is often necessary as they can understand local slang and vocabulary. A native translator will also be able to capture the tone and voice of your intended audience better. Transcreating steps away from direct translations and involves adapting and recreating marketing and other creative content by preserviving the original message, context, emotion, and tone. The right translators for your team will have not just a strong linguistic knowledge of your target market, but a deep cultural understanding as well.