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8 Questions To Ask To Diagnose Your Translation Needs

8 Questions To Ask To Diagnose Your Translation Needs

To scale or not to scale? That is not the question for people who run their own businesses. Any ambitious entrepreneur wants his company to grow and to operate internationally. The problem is that the majority of companies — no matter it’s a start up or a giant with a long history —don’t know or slightly understand their translation needs. Moreover, even though some big companies understand their needs for translation services, they might be doing wrong since business doesn’t draw new customers, displays low conversion or doesn’t bring a desired outcome.
Unfortunately, such bad experience makes entrepreneurs think ‘translation services’ are not what they need. However, breaking the language barrier is still the most important step to grow internationally. How to understand your company needs it? Ask the right questions.

1. Your Company Vision

Because a good beginning gives a good ending, here is the first question to ask: What is your dream-company? What do you want your company to look like? No matter you’d take Yahoo! or Toyota, Berlitz or Prada, all of these companies were born in different parts of the world, but were all born with an ambition for growth and leadership. If you too have that ambition, it means that you need to bring as much useful services to as many people as possible, and you cannot do so if you cannot speak their language. Professional translation services as part of a strong content strategy are priceless assets that can empower your growth and  make your dreams true.

2. Your Company Size

If you run a big company with international branches, then you are in need to address your target audience with personalized content in their native language. The question “to translate or not to translate” is not relevant here since translation services will surely bring expected customer response and, as a result, ROI. Are you running a small or medium company? If you wish to “go big”, chances are you need to consider translating and adapting your content as part of a comprehensive international marketing strategy. Believe it or not, investing into translation services is just a drop in the sea which will bring amazing results only if it is completed properly and professionally.

3. Your Budget

While a big majority of companies assume a shy attitude towards their business translation needs, others allocate a very small budget to it, or even worse — don’t provide any budget at all and use free machine translation services, if not asking a native employee on premises to “translate this and that”. No need to explain, companies commit a huge mistake saving on translation services since they miss a major requirement here which is quality and suitability to the target audience, along with the major opportunity of raising customer loyalty; it’s better to avoid translation at all than provide a low-quality translation with numerous mistakes. Saving on translation services could not only seriously impact conversion, adoption and company reputation, it can even cause harm to lives, and it’s definitely not what one is looking for.

4. Your Product Category

According to Menning (2001), more than 67% of goods sold online could be shipped worldwide. Is not it a primary and a big reason to expand your business? No matter you make consumer devices to sell online, develop and sell software or construct heavy medical equipment: if a product can be shipped worldwide, it means it could be sold worldwide. The tip here is to go through your product nomenclature and analyze which of them could be shipped within a given market or worldwide. If the results show more than 50%, then you may want to take the next step and study more in depth your target market’s potential, opportunities, regulations, etc.

5. Your Sales Strategy

Companies adopt a variety of different approaches when it comes to selling their products. While the biggest companies, for example heavy medical or industrial equipment manufacturers, prefer to use sales representatives in the various markets they are selling in, it might be easier for the smaller ones who sell small gadgets or even those who sell software to go for e-commerce. In any case, selling in a culturally and linguistically different market brings unmistakable challenges, and the language is only one of them. Regional sales representatives usually have to deal with local customers who might be speaking a different language. In this case, giving the customer a pre-sales pitch, a product brochure or a user manual in English would simply be useless. Customers need to know about a product and make a buying decision, only to be able to use it at the end. An expensive medical device which the customer cannot use due to unfriendly materials or significant hidden costs in terms of training, is wasted money.

6. Your Quality Standards

Are there any industry-specific requirements or policies that you need to comply with to sell in foreign markets? For instance, according to the Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, section, 9.2 “Manufacturers and distributors of infant formula should ensure that each container has a clear, conspicuous, and easily readable and understandable message printed on it, or on a label which cannot readily become separated from it, in an appropriate language”. This example highlights the importance of an accurate translation, and any formula manufacturer who stands for compliance would undoubtedly take that requirement into account. Each industry has both local and international standards, regulations and limitations which have to be observed, and this is where a professional translation can be a key asset to your product compliance.

7. Your Target Audience Language

Every schoolboy knows the official language in France is French, Ukrainian in Ukraine, Spanish in Spain, etc. However, only a few companies pay attention to dialects, native languages, bilingual people or regional properties. For example, France has more than 6 dialects (depending on region), the majority of Ukrainians speak Russian since historically it’s their native language and more than 8 million people in Spain speak both Spanish and Catalan. If you want to cover as many customers as possible, you must pay more attention and be very careful when choosing language for your audience. According to linguist Anna Pavlenko (2008), more than 54% people speak two and more languages. Thus, the language pattern of your target market could also be decisive in your customer’s buying decision.

8. Your Target Audience Education

Even though companies spend much money to know their target audience, sometimes we still have a vague portrait of an end customer. You might be serving specialized and highly educated people, customers who can even speak 2+ languages or freely read scientific materials in English. On the other hand, others only know their mother tongue or have very limited understanding of your home language. If you are in the first case, offering translated content would be perceived as a positive measure towards promoting technology and knowledge. To put it into a nutshell, no matter your content is being read by a researcher or a high-school student, it should be catchy and easy to understand. If, however, your customers only speak their native language, and knowing that the language learning curve could be very long, the translation challenge should be avoided at any price.

Posted in: Healthcare Professionals

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Successful Business Expansion: Why Language Is So Important

Successful Business Expansion:  Why Language Is So Important

When it comes to successful business expansion, the majority of entrepreneurs struggle to reach customers beyond country borders. Even though some of them seem to be acquainted with multilingual marketing, they take it as ‘translation services’. Unfortunately, this approach guarantees neither new customers nor enough content conversion. The point is multilingual marketing is not only about translation. First and foremost, this marketing strategy is about “speaking the language of the customers”, which implies actual languages (French, Italian, etc.) and taking into account cultural background and lifestyle of your target audience (for example, French art de vivre or famous Russian hospitality) as well as actual information which will captivate people and catch attention at least for a few seconds. Thus, delivering relevant content in the language of one’s target audience provides inevitable success on foreign markets.

According to Maria Johnsen who is ranked #6 Most Influential Digital Marketing Expert, more than 74 % of English-speaking entrepreneurs assume English is international language — skipping the translation step is totally acceptable. Moreover, only some companies pay attention that there are millions of people on the Earth who speak French (app. 280 million), Spanish (app. 437 million), Russian (app. 145 million) and other languages differ from English. Through the analysis of customer behavior, without any exaggeration, foreign language annoys and builds additional boundaries for clients. Customers are simply obliged to translate everything from A to Z before enjoying surfing a website. To summarize, business owners should understand it’s better to avoid “first translate, then purchase” challenge for customers.

As modern consumers, everybody knows what stands behind clip-on thinking. Nowadays, digital content is coming from all angles and speaking about online shopping, customers want it to be quick and easy as planned at the first setout. A judgment “to read or skip” or “to buy or not to buy” is being made with a lightning speed. Usually it takes a customer maximum of 15 seconds to decide if this content deserves attention or not. That is why any borders between products/services and customers are unacceptable; products and services available on the website should be presented in several languages native to target audience. It does not cost a fortune to translate a website copy properly taking into account customers’ background and tastes. However, it will bring excellent results and business will have competitive advantages.  Multilingual marketing is quintessence of marketing strategy and language mastery in order to reach mutual understanding between business and customers raising customers’ loyalty and content conversion.

When entrepreneurs create their English marketing content for international audience, usually they do not cover even 50% of it! The message remains clear for English-speaking target audience, but the whole website is silence for French-speaking or Spanish-speaking people. Even though there’s no tool that tracks customers who quit website because they can’t translate product descriptions or article, it’s better to prevent risks than find a solution for consequences. According to Harvard Business Review, more than 72% of Internet users prefer to spend most of their time in their own language and more than 50% claimed that the ability to get information in their native language is more important than price.

The trend of multilingual content marketing will not be slowing down because it’s a big path to raising conversion and cover any market in the world, no matter one sells medical equipment or involved in engineering industry. According to ContentMarketingInstitute, at least 6 out of 10 companies are intended to generate more original content in 2017-2018. There are two strong advantages multilingual strategy is the new black in the world of marketing:

  • The first and foremost benefit of multilingual marketing, a product is being introduced to an entirely new audience. Quality multilingual content which takes into account country/region’s background, lifestyle and mentality makes even less competition to sell.
  • Adding more relevant, wide-spread, popular languages to websites equals raising presence in search engines. A company that boasts of three website language versions (for example, English, French and Spanish) shows there is customer care and it pays attention welcoming customers from all over the world.

Using client’s native language is the easiest way to draw their attention. It is not the law of marketing; it is the law of nature.

Multilingual marketing is a dive necessity for any international business since the need to provide content in French, Spanish, Italian meets customers’ expectations; it’s a pass to the world of international business. According to NetLang, only a half of the most visited websites in the Internet are in English. Moreover, in a study conducted by European Commission by The Gallup Organization, more than 90% Internet users from Europe claimed that, given a choice of French, Italian or other language, they always switched to the needed one and surf website in their primary language.

Even though nowadays multilingual marketing is up-to-date and very relevant, not all entrepreneurs use it. Do not miss a fortune and setup your multilingual marketing strategy if you don’t already have one to see the first benefits in the nearest time — go internationally properly talking to customers in their own language.

Translation4Life provides language consultancy and translation services by its owner, Nadia, and aims at helping you get the most out of your content to speak to French customers. To learn more about what is offered, please visit the About Me page.

Posted in: Healthcare Professionals

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