“The Greatest Obstacle to International Understanding is the Barrier of Language” – Christopher Dawson
Increasing globalization has converted our planet into “one big village” that has provided every single person access to the whole world. Increased globalization has boosted business and provided organizations with new landscapes and horizons to achieve. With the whole world now a prospective market everyone wants to expand their business range far beyond national barriers.
As smooth and as opportunistic it may seem, actually reaching out to the world is quite a difficult task and doing it comes with particular challenges and problems. One of the main problems is language. The majority of the world’s population resides in countries like China, India, the United States, Brazil, Indonesia and the various countries of Europe. All these nations speak different languages like Mandarin, Spanish, English, French, Hindi, Arabic and Portuguese making targeting large populations a difficult task because of the diverse and distinct use of languages.
Businesses that are in the race to overcome this problem often hire localization services that can help them, but to use these services effectively and efficiently it is essential to understand the aspects of localization on offer, as well as understand your own needs, such as whether you require Translation, Transcreation or Localization services.
To hire the right services for business expansion it is important to know what localization services include and what you need. Many businesses never bother with this and just hire services blindly, and ultimately often fail in achieving their goals. Translation is a process of changing words, texts and sentences from one language to another, Transcreation means adapting and interpreting the message from one language to another while maintaining its intent and style. And Localization means interpreting and developing a message in a controlled manner to make it adopt the local sense of a targeted place, people or community. Once you’ve understood the types of services on offer, the work gets easier because you can hire the services you need from the best providers.
Here are some common challenges and obstacles that a business can face when they don’t hire or don’t hire the best localization services for their business expansion.
- Local Language:
The main problem that any business faces when they are planning to increase their business sales and business reach internationally is language. The majority of the world resides in countries like China, India, United States, Brazil and Bangladesh, and all these populations speak different languages, such as Chinese, English, Hindi, Spanish and Portuguese. All languages have their distinct nature of usage and meaning.
Words and gestures might mean something in the United States and something else abroad; for example, thumbs up in the US means that “all is good” while in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries a raised thumb is regarded as an insult. Such small mistakes while communicating or interpreting in a language can completely change the sense of the message and the way it is being delivered.
Such mistakes can even lead to full closure and failure of the promotion campaign in a prospective market. For example, “It won’t stain your pocket and embarrass you” was the slogan of a famous pen-making company, meaning that their pens don’t leak. However, in Spanish, the slogan meant “it won’t stain your pocket and make you “embarrassed” meaning, “get you pregnant.” The slogan never did any good to the company’s image or reputation. This is why hiring experienced Localization services is essential.
- Unfamiliar cultures
One of the main problems that a business without Localization services faces is a lack of knowledge concerning local culture. The world is a thriving place made of millions of communities, and every community has their own beliefs, mindsets, things they like and things they don’t.
Starting a business expansion campaign in any respective area without any homework or detailed research can backfire easily. For example every country has their own set of colors that represents good, health, peace and prosperity, and other sets of colors that represent evil or bad omens. Such small details in the coloring scheme of your website or posters or flyers could really make a difference and give business the boost it needs, or it can attract repulsion from the prospective population. This highlights the importance of proper market research and excellent Localization services.
Here’s an example: an Italian car company, trying to enter the new prospective market of China, chose the famous actor Richard Gere to endorse their car. Unfortunately, what they didn’t know was that Richard Gere was an outspoken supporter of Tibet and the Dalai Lama, and consequently, the campaign attracted a lot of revulsion from the people of China towards the car. Another example of why hiring Localization services is regarded as an essential element of business expansion.
- Communication style
Every country has their way and manner of communicating and addressing people, and this is one of the most common minefields that a business must cross while trying to promote and attract customers from the new prospective market.
For example, in some countries, the best way to promote business is by getting a celebrity to endorse that business rather than using posters or banners because it attracts more customers and reaps better results. Another critical factor that decides the success of a campaign is using the appropriate slang and language used by the locals. Using slang appropriately can win over the locals easily; using it badly can make them boycott the company or the products that the company is trying to promote.
- Adapting Documents and Contents According to Country & Culture.
One of the most important challenges that every business has to face while trying to expand is to adapt their business, documents, websites and all things that serve as first point of contact between the business and the customers.
Adapting and modifying documents or websites for the new market or country involves a lot more than just translating it from one language to another. Various things must be taken care of, like – color scheme, language and slang, images and poster, website content, business logo, business branding, etc.
Localization services are essential while working on client-facing materials such as the website content, the business logo, the name of the company and the brand as they are the face of your business and missing out the slightest detail from any of these tasks can lead to big business setbacks.
An American airlines used the tagline “Fly-In Leather,” to promote their premium leather airline seating. But the tagline directly translated into Mexican Spanish encouraged their passengers to fly naked!
These humorous and embarrassing localization services errors always cause big setbacks to business that can take years to recover from. That is why we always recommended to every business owner to hire the best Localization services and never try to cut corners. It’s worth the investment when you get a successful global marketing and promotional campaign.
- Ensuring Visibility
Whenever a company plans to expand itself in new markets, it’s important that the company brings visibility with it into that market. Business visibility is directly linked to business progress and the sales that business will incur, and so to build good brand visibility, it is important to invest in business promotions such as SEO and SMO services in targeted native language, because every country has its own way of searching and its own specific keywords.
Promoting Business can also include various other services like Localization services, translation services, online promotions and banners, but this all must be in the local language since that is what can give business the boost it needs.
According to an Oracle insight report – to target or to tap into 80% of the world’s population a business needs to deliver services in 12 languages, whereas to focus on 90% of the world’s population a business needs communication capabilities in 21 languages, which for any business is possible only with proper localization partners. If you are looking for a localization partner who is best in class, contact us at Braahmam. Braahmam has more than 150 satisfied international customers and delivers proficiency in over 70 languages. Our experienced team delivers the best Professional Translation Services, Global Translation Services, Language Translation Services and Localization Services, and can design, develop and localize content and transform your ideas into exceptional outcomes.
Visit BRAAHMAM at: http://www.braahmam.net/