Using translation and localization to establish your brand overseas

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The midst of the COVID-19 outbreak might not seem like the ideal time to launch a brand overseas, but it’s certainly a great opportunity to use your time at home to plan such an expansion. If you’ve set your sights on international growth, you’ll need the help of localization and translation services to help you succeed. Here’s how.

What are the reasons that companies go international?

There are plenty of reasons that a brand would seek to grow overseas. What is an international brand? It’s a brand that operates across international borders. Going international can increase your customer base and your sales volume. A strong international presence can also do wonders for your brand’s reputation, serving to cement your global position quickly and comprehensively.

In order to go international, your business will need a solid translation and localization plan. What is localization and translation? It’s the process of translating not just the copy that you use to connect with overseas customers, but the essence of the messages that you’re aiming to deliver. The right strategy can shoot you onto the international scene rapidly and effectively, lining up your born global brand to enjoy almost immediate success.

What are localization services?

If you’re not familiar with the concept of localization, we’ll give you a quick rundown. While translation converts text from one language to another, localization reworks it subtly to ensure that it really speaks to the new audience.

Why is localization important? Localization is important because it takes translation to the next level. It shapes the copy so that it suits the culture of the audience in question, taking account of everything from religious considerations to politics. Doing so means that the copy won’t inadvertently cause offence or unintended hilarity, damaging the brand’s chances before it’s even got off the ground.

What is localization strategy? Localization strategy is the process that your translation company will use to plan the localization of your entire suite of documentation, from your website to your marketing brochure.

Establishing a reputation through translation and localization

If you’re just sitting down to map out your translation and localization strategy, start by thinking big. How do you want prospective customers to feel when they first come across your brand? What emotions do you want to evoke?

Identifying these factors will impact the whole way that you approach translating and localizing your documentation. When you work with professional translators and localization experts, they will need to understand the overall impact that you are seeking to achieve. Before they translate a single word, they’ll need to understand who the audience is and how you want to connect with them.

Then it’s a matter of mapping out which of your documents you need to translate and localize. It’s not just marketing materials and your website that you need to think about, but everything from your packaging to your product information and health and safety leaflets. You’ll need to list all of this and anything else that local audiences are likely to encounter.

In addition to evergreen content such as your website and packaging, you’ll also need to think about the translation of social media content. It’s important not to rely on the machine translation offered by social media sites in order to connect with potential customers when you launch your brand. Machine translation can work very well when you need to quickly understand what a word means, but the quality isn’t reliable enough for business use. Using human translation services is a far better approach.

The importance of website localization

The translation and localization of your company website will likely be the cornerstone of your strategy. Your website is likely to be the first point of contact that your future customers have with your brand (or second, if they get there from social media). That’s why it’s essential that the translation and localization are absolutely spot on.

This means no cutting corners. You will need to work closely with your chosen localization agency in order to ensure that every element of the site is perfectly adapted to the intended audience. They will take care of everything from practical details to subtle cultural nuances, all of which is absolutely essential.

What are the differences between global and localization strategies?

If you’re working on a localization strategy for the first time, it’s worth exploring the concept of globalization before you do. Globalization means that you can launch your brand on the global stage – and localization is how you can achieve that.

The way that you approach it will depend on how many countries you are planning to launch in at once. If you’re going after a single audience, then a pure localization exercise is the obvious way forward. If, however, you’re planning to launch in multiple countries at once, it might be worth undertaking an internationalization exercise first.

What is internationalization in business? In the context of translation services, it is the production of a document (let’s say a website) that is as stripped back as possible when it comes to cultural references. The idea is to produce a version of your site that can act as a template for multiple local versions. The localization process then uses the internationalized version of the site as its base. 

There is an immense array of factors that can influence a brand’s internationalization process. If this is an area that you plan to explore further, it’s worth sitting down to map out your thinking with your localization company. Using the professionals’ years of expertise will help to focus your planning effectively.

The way that you approach translation and localization will have a huge impact on your brand’s international success. If you want to hit the ground running and achieve rapid internationalization, rising up the ranks of born global businesses, the advice of your chosen language professionals will be invaluable. Seek out their views, act on them and make them an integral part of your translation and localization strategy. Therein lies the future success of your brand.