Developing Marketing Strategies For Entering Foreign Markets

Businesses that decided to enter foreign markets often discover that their products and strategies require a certain degree of customization. Changes to the products and promotional strategies are often needed to address a wide variety of issues that that are present in foreign markets and that might not be present in domestic markets. Therefore, a winning strategy requires careful research and planning to ensure that the needs of the market will be addressed from the offset. Upfront planning can help ensure success and avert costly cross cultural, political, legal and regulatory, and competitive mishaps.

Sociocultural Forces

Certified translators frequently hear stories about companies that made the mistake of ignoring cultural, social and linguistic differences when entering foreign markets. An essential requirement of an effective global marketing strategy is the ability to accurately define and identify significant sociocultural and sociolinguistic deviations. In Hong Kong, for example, McDonald’s offers a number of items that appeal to local tastes such as the Green Tea & Red Bean Ice Cream Sundae. In Thailand, McDonald’s offers the Samurai Pork Burger, which happens to be marketed as the Shogun Burger in China. In India, McDonald’s caters to local tastes with a menu that is spicier and includes chicken instead of beef.

Cultural and linguistic difference and preferences can be difficult to identify and integrate into strategies. As many Portuguese translators are aware, while Portuguese is spoken in Portugal, Brazil and Angola, there are significant differences and advertising and other promotional content must be translated into other languages. Therefore, a proper localization strategy requires the use of translators who are fluent in the local dialect. Localization must also account for any logos, symbols or trademarks that could have a cultural meaning. Gerber made the mistake of selling its baby food in low literacy countries. In the countries, products packaging includes a picture of the food item. However, Gerber products include a picture of a baby which confused illiterate consumers. It was widely reported that some shoppers thought that Gerber was selling baby meat.

Localization Concerns: Planning Ahead Isn’t Difficult

Every company aims to achieve more in the coming year than the previous year. As new year is just round the corner, you must set some new targets and goals for your company. As far as your localization plans are concerned, if your translation vendor didn’t come up to your expectations last year, then start with a new translation service company. How about giving The Marketing Analysts Translation Services Company an opportunity to serve you? If you have some new localization goals, you need to partner with a good translation provider.

The second most important thing you will need while planning to achieve future goals, is accurate data concerning your previous year’s localization projects. Let’s one by one discuss all those aspects which will need an analysis.

Your use of translation memory in the previous year

Getting an estimate of the total amount spent on translation projects will be helpful. Similarly keep a record of your return investment from the international markets which you explored the previous year.

Keeping a record of how much you spent, how much you saved by using translation memory and how much of the content was translated in your specific budget will be helpful in ascertaining your future localization goals.

Need improvement in your translation memory?

Creating an estimate at the end of the year regarding your translation memory use will help you determine whether your translation memory saved you money. If the reuse of translated data isn’t much, and your translation costs were more than you expected, then you need to take certain initiatives for the coming year. You don’t want to make the same mistake again, right?

Check if there is any room for improvement in your translation memory. Ask your translation service company about the reason your translation memory failed to cut translation costs. If you feel that your service provider is not equipped with the means to cater to the needs of your organization, come to The Marketing Analysts Translation Services Company. We can help you utilize your translation memory software to the fullest.

A French translator in Kansas City says that companies having hired their services are planning to get their websites localized in more languages. He further added that their clients have decided to include more languages in their localization plans for the next year by witnessing considerable cost saving through translation memory and pseudo localization.

Use your past projects as guidelines to start on new ones

If you entered new international markets in the past year, collect data for each. It will be helpful for you to know how much content you got translated in each target language and the resultant revenue generated through your target market.

This data will be helpful in your future business decisions. It is also extremely helpful to know which of your target markets earned you the most revenue. Translating more content for the same regions will strengthen your company further in those markets.

Collecting all this data will create a realistic picture in your mind, helping you plan accordingly for the next year.

Writing Creatively For Global Markets

Writing creatively for global markets isn’t a piece of cake. The content must be original and has to be appealing to the target audience. Whether you are responsible for creating advertisements or promotional material, your message should drive home to the target audience. But when it comes to the localization of your content for the target market, the ball is not in your court! So how can you make sure that the content you have produced will have the same effect on your target audience as you wanted it to be?

Following are some ways which can be adopted to write creatively for foreign markets, at the same time ensuring that your legal translators don’t find it very difficult and challenging to translate your content into other languages. When writing for global markets just keep the following things in your mind.

Keep it simple!

Your content must be unique, amusing and witty to a certain degree. But incorporating idioms, riddles or jokes isn’t a good idea when writing for global markets. Your purpose is to attract the attention of your target audience and to promote your product in an effective way. Keeping your language simple and to-the-point will not only make things easy for your linguists but will also remove the possibility of the content being misunderstood by your target audience.

It is difficult to translate jokes and idioms into other languages. Some jokes will not translate well into other languages, leaving your audience baffled and confused. Same goes with idioms as you will not find an equivalent of all idioms in other languages. So keep your content simple and easy.

Limit the use of specific terminology

It becomes tricky to write for foreign markets due to the myriads of cultural differences which you have to keep in mind while writing. A French translator working for the Chicago translation services of The Marketing Analysts Translation Service Company told us that it becomes highly difficult for the linguist to translate content loaded with specific terminology. All companies want to use a unique language to make their brand stand out among others. But while using special jargon, you must use as little corporate language as possible for the benefit of your customers. Moreover, making stylized glossaries with the aid of your translation company can definitely help in keeping your message consistent through all languages.

Avoid mentioning things which vary from culture to culture

Every country has its own system for measurements, educational grades, currency etc. Localizing such content can become difficult for your translator. Avoid using such examples and stick to the stuff which is common between your country and the target market. Sometimes it might become necessary to use numbers in your creative content. Work with your translation vendor at that point to ensure that they are translated correctly.

The key to write for international markets is simplicity. Keep your content simple and to-the-point and it won’t be difficult for your translation vendor to prune and alter it to suit your target market.

Common Problems Faced When Purchasing Translation Services

misguided-tanslationsOften when a translated document is received by clients, it does not fulfill their expectations. This happens because the client fails to choose the right kind of translation services for their specific needs. Even a layman needs to have some know-how of translation services, so that he could benefit from the best option available, remarked a Chinese translator working for The Marketing Analysts Translation Services company based in Houston.

At present, machine translation which has not minimized the need for professional language translators. At best machine translation can give you a rough idea regarding the general meaning of a passage or a sentence. But often machine translation provides unreliable and inaccurate translations.. That only leaves hiring a certified translator working for a reputed translation services company or a freelance translator claiming to provide you with an impeccable translation. Sometimes getting things translated from a bilingual coworker might seam ideal, but in the end the quality is often subpar and more expensive than hiring a professional translation company.

In order to determine which kind of translation would be suitable for you, you need to keep in mind a few things. First, it’s important to consider the target audience. The term “localization” is used for a translation carried out to serve audiences in a specific region. In localization, a particular dialect of a region is used when translating. Localization of a document or a website requires a professional certified translator who is familiar with the dialect like his own mother tongue. Lastly, the client needs to consider the intended use of the translation. A  legal document translation asked for by the immigration authorities of a country would command absolute accuracy and precision of language. In such cases the best bet is to hire a certified translator from a well-known translation service company, stated an Italian translator with a ten year long career with The marketing analysts translation service company based in Chicago.

There are four types of translation; Machine translation, literal translation, professional translation and trans-creation. Machine translation is the most recent technology and the final outcome is of the lowest quality with this type of translation. This translation cannot be relied upon without being proofread and reviewed. Even then, machine translation will not work for any document which needs contextual and not literal translation. Machine translation provides faulty sentence structures and grammatical flaws, therefore it is unreliable. Translations done by a  non-professional translator or a layman who happens to be bilingual, cannot also be regarded as high-quality products, remarked a Japanese translator working with Washington D.C. translation services. Such translations are often not contextual but are word to word and literal, failing to convey the exact meaning of the text. The highest quality translations are professional translations which experienced, qualified translators can do who are usually working with translation companies. Trans-creation is sometimes useful when the underlying message is more important than the sentence itself. Through trans-creation a linguistic equivalent of the sentence is provided, which will be easily understood by the local populace. As in the case of proverbs, we have entirely different equivalents for different proverbs in different languages, which apparently have no syntactical resemblance with each other but convey the same meaning. This kind of translation requires the language translator to have native level fluency in the target language.

Why Your Business Website Needs to Be Translated

languageIt is no secret that the more markets you reach, the bigger your business becomes; and the more targeted your marketing efforts are, the bigger your impact is on your target audience. Today, because more and more businesses are realizing the value of social media, they recognize that they cannot survive without a website.

A virtual representation of your company is a necessity: people look for you in search engines more than in the malls or on signboards while driving around town. Furthermore, a website and social media can be easier to manage and maintain than conventional advertising tools.  Without question, today’s generation of young people are comfortable and skilled with web tools and expect nothing less than instant information.

Though many people may take it for granted or assume automatically that everyone can understand English, the fact is that most of the people in the world are still more comfortable browsing the net in their native language. If you plan to reach a global audience and expand your market to as many people around the world as possible, you need to get your website translated. But do not make it a word-for-word or literal translation the way some automated programs on the Internet do. Instead, you should make it as targeted as you can, specific to the context of the country you are trying to get your message across to.

Make the marketing messages, the ads, the photo captions, and even the videos palatable to their tastes and traditions. Because specific words have their own cultural connotations, the direct translation from English to Portuguese, for example, may strike a different chord from the intended effect. Instead, find the right word to convey the same message to the culturally different listener or reader. This is a skill that a person from a professional translation service has because he is expert enough in both languages to avoid unfortunate language choices that may offend potential customers.

The process of localization—adjusting the look and feel of a product so that it appeals to the target audience—is an important part of going global. Imagine that you want to use a particular advertising feature in a new foreign market that perfectly projects your message and suits your needs, but you resort to a  mechanical translation that offends or insults your potential customers or presents your product in an unfortunate or inaccurate manner.  Manish Bhargava, Product Manager at Google, gave a good example of such a case. When Google provided the Swedish translation for Google Maps, the icon “Get Directions” was translated to a Swedish word that meant “Instructions.”

As is common with mechanical translations, this word isn’t entirely incorrect, but it didn’t serve the purpose or convey the exact meaning it was supposed to. A native English speaker would understand why “Instructions” is not as accurate as “Get Directions” in a situation when you resort to Google Maps. As an indication why precise, culturally-specific language is essential to profitable business, Google theorizes that this translation resulted in the Swedes not using Google Maps as much as Google projected.

Bhargava also focuses on how much of the market you may miss if you do not globalize or if you think that the English-speaking market is adequate for growth in today’s world. In fact, Bhargava estimates that missed sales opportunities may mount as high as 86%. Furthermore, as illustrated in the example above, if you are careless or sloppy in translation, you will waste your time and fail to achieve your business goals. Thus accurate, nuanced translation is essential.  Employing a professional translation service for your website can give you the value that you demand and the market shares that you initially just dream about.

Translators Warn About Overdoing Localization

Though the benefits of embracing and developing a localization strategy to a foreign lifestyle are clear, it can be overdone. A firm should realize that there are actually boundaries that a localization strategy should not step outside in order to accommodate a foreign market.

Base on the opinions of a few some Chicago Russian Translation professionals in localization organizations, there are good reasons to avoid localization tactics all together. For one thing, it is imperative that you recognize that when a country is prepared for change, an alternative way of life could very well be desirable. This is easiest to see in the formerly Soviet Union. Russians want real Americans, not tailored editions. They can undertake the adaptation on their own and count on the “genuine thing.” The politically ordered adjustments in these countries have worn away the old norms and have established new ways. Here, seeking to conform will be an error, because the market wants a product from a profitable international culture. Thus, it is important that the strategic planning team manager to understand the historical and human perspective in which the organization’s promotional transactions are taking place.

Yet Houston French Translation workers suggest that in many cases, localization and adaptation strategies for other cultures can easily seem shallow and lack substance and sincerity. Essentially, it creates the same effect as flattery, by being vulnerable to misinterpretation and suspicion. Conversely, a business that wants to be successful in foreign must present a genuine appearance. Yet, companies that become too concerned with localization can often find it hard to be transparent, trustworthy, and spontaneous. For these companies, it becomes simple lose their bearings.

In the long run, adaptation to the customer’s culture, while a fine touch, should never interfere with the innate merits of the proposition. The thought that one should let personal likes and dislikes influence a business partnership, so popular in the very first discussions of European, Japanese, and even American trade, has been deemed inefficient in the open competition in international markets.

Using Translation Services To Understand Buyer Behavior In Foreign Markets

Buyer behavior differs among countries and often among different market segments within each nation.  Therefore, corporate product planners and language translation professionals should carefully study each market before implementing a market entry, product launch strategy or other promotional campaign.  In marketing corn flakes and other ready-to-eat breakfast cereals in France, Kellogg Company working in conjunction with their language translation agency used advertising and packaging instructions to overcome certain ingrained consumer habits.  The localization research conducted for Kellogg’s by their certified translation agency showed that French breakfast eaters preferred a croissant but about one-third of the adult population skipped breakfast entirely.  Only a small percentage of French adults eat cereal and of those, 40 percent pour warm milk over it.  To persuade the French to try an American-style, cold-cereal breakfast, the Chicago French translation agency encouraged Kellogg’s to include step-by-step instructions on packages that explain how to prepare a bowl of cereal and stress the use of cold milk.  Furthermore, television commercials were aired to reinforce the idea of using cold milk.  They showed milk being poured from a transparent glass pitcher, which the French customarily use for cold milk, rather than the opaque porcelain jug from which the French pour hot milk into their morning cup of café au lait.

Companies planning to enter foreign markets must also be careful to make their marketing strategies comply with local customs, tastes and living conditions.  In some case, even the product itself must be modified.  Several years ago, Remington Products, Inc., a manufacturer of electric shavers consulted with a Washington D.C. Translation Services and Localization consulting company about the potential to offer different styles of its products for overseas markets.   In Great Britain, where few bathrooms have electric outlets, Remington marketed a battery-powered shaver.  For Japanese consumers, Remington had redesigned its product to accommodate smaller hands.

Different buying patterns mean that brand planning executives should do considerable localization research before entering a foreign market.  Sometimes, the research can be done by the marketer’s own organization or a U.S. based research firm.  In other cases, a foreign-based language translation and localization research firm is needed.

Subcultures, Localization, Language Translation and Marketing Communication

Cultures are not homogeneous entities with universal values.  Within each culture are numerous subcultures-subgroups within their own distinct modes of behavior.  Any culture as heterogeneous as that of the United States is composed of significant subcultures based on such factors as language, race, nationality, age, and geographical distribution.

Inhabitants of the southwestern United States display lifestyle emphasizing casual dress, outdoor entertaining, water sports and strong evangelical and Baptist values.  Of course, Mormons refrain from buying alcohol and tobacco.  Orthodox Jews purchase kosher and other traditional foods.  As Denver Portuguese Translation consultants point out, understanding that differences like these occur in subcultures that exist in many other countries can result in better translation and localization of products, services and other communication pieces.  Insensitivity to cultural nuances has the opposite outcome.  For example, the state of Maryland had to pull an advertising campaign including television commercials, brochures and posters that featured photos of Al Capone, a gangster who was imprisoned for federal tax evasion.  According to New York Italian Translation workers, the advertising was intended to publicize the state’s tax amnesty program and used Capone to show tax evaders what happens to those who get caught.  But leaders of the Italian-American community protested that the campaign was an ethnic slur and that it perpetuated the false stereotype of Italian-Americans as mobsters.  I believe that you can see how something like this could easily happen in other countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Germany and France that also have diverse populations.

Language Translation and Localization in Marketing

Marketing strategies that employed translation localization efforts that were proven successful in one country often cannot be applied directly in other foreign markets because of cultural differences.  Consider the strategy of an American manufacturer that tried to sell jars of baby food in an African country.  According to our Chicago French Translation workers, the jar labels gave product information and showed a picture of a smiling baby.  But most of the potential customers were illiterate.  They were unable to read the print on the label and assumed that what was on the outside of the jars was what was on the inside—babies.

U.S. based international marketers face competition from firms in Germany, France, Russia, Japan and a host of other countries, as well as from firm in the host nation.  Therefore, they must become familiar with all aspects of the local population, including its cultural heritage.  This can be accomplished by treating each country as an additional market segment that must be thoroughly analyzed before developing a translation and localization strategy.

International Marketing, Localization and Translation Services

The international marketer must decide to what extent it should adjust its domestic marketing for each foreign market.  The multinational also must determine to what extent marketing variations necessitate marketing adjustments.  Sometimes, translation firms who are skilled in localization are called upon to recommend adjustments in communication materials as well as the look, appearance and functionality of specific products and services.

According to one Seattle Translation Services company that consults with corporations on localization, the general approach many companies seem to take is the maintenance of a corporate strategy on a worldwide basis with tactical adjustments where local conditions warrant.  If there were no strategic continuity of approach, the company would not gain a solid and cohesive worldwide identity.  Instead, its identity would consist of the fragmented efforts and pieces put together in its various markets.  There is value to coordinating and centralizing the strategic planning worldwide.

But this can be carried too far.  Adjustments must be made for local conditions.  In the past, U.S. automobile companies were criticized because they did not adapt to Japanese desires.  Japanese drive on the left side of the road and most Japanese and most Japanese prefer to have their steering wheel on the right.  Therefore, it was advisable for the U.S. manufacturers to adjust the strategic decisions in terms of specific tactics used to implement strategic plans in each market.  The costs of adjusting the strategy must be weighed against estimates of sales potentials.