In the recent years, a rapidly growing number of companies and organisations, both – Large and from the SME sector, realise the true importance and impact the translation services can have on the business sector and their revenues. Many claim that the ‘one-for-all’ approach to new markets is outdated and with inevitable globalisation, businesses must approach potential clients in a more tailored and custom manner, and this involves communicating with them in their native language and working with professional translation agencies specialising in business translation services.
Nonetheless, being able to speak with customers in their preferred language is much easier said than done. There are a number of factors which must be taken into the account when preparing a tailored campaign, and quite frankly, the only solution to prepare a professional campaign is to work with translation agencies specialising in business translations.
Even only 10 years ago, majority of businesses and business owners were leaning towards the ‘one-for-all’ approach which focused on targeting all new expansion markets with a single, unified message. This included not only the same language, but also in many cases products, services and marketing messages throughout different markets. This approach although much cheaper and easier to plan and execute, comes with a number of setbacks.
One of the most well-known and somewhat infamous examples of a ‘one-for-all’ approaches, which led to brand image damages and long-term money losses is the case of Ikea from 1974. By 1974 Ikea was present in 4 European markets and Japan was their first market to target outside of Europe. Since their previous ‘one-for-all’ efforts worked well, the company assumed that no deep consumer insight is necessary before penetrating the Japanese market and therefore opened a relatively small shop in Tokyo without changing their product range and applying the same strategy such as “Assemble Yourself” as in Europe.
As you can imagine, Japanese consumers are completely different in comparison to Europeans. From customs, living spaces and the way of life in itself, Japanese consumers expected a service tailored to their needs. Ikea failed to understand this very specific market and consequently had to withdraw from the market entirely as a result. You can read more about this case by clicking here.
A tailored Approach
A tailored approach focuses on expanding to different markets and targeting them with custom products, services and messages, including communicating with consumers in their native language. When Ikea entered the Japanese market again in 2006, they have spent over 5 years conducting an in-depth research into understanding their potential customers. Not only the company changed their products rage, but also prepared a tailored marketing messages crafted especially for their new customers:
In order for a company to fully understand their target market and prepare a tailored message, it is essential to involve a professional translation agency which specialises in providing business translation and localisation services.
People prefer to shop in their native language
For a French customer, if he sees an ad in another language other than his own, he might want it to auf französisch übersetzen (translate to French) instead of just reading it plainly and not understanding the emotion. If you assume that customers speak your language well enough to skip the translation step, you are wrong. In reality, there is an undeniably strong association between in-language content and a consumer’s likelihood of making a purchase. A study conducted by the Common Sense Advisory shows that a vast majority of people within Europe prefers to shop online on websites which provide information about the products and services in their native language. The study found that:
- 72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language.
- 72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language.
- 56.2% of consumers said that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.
- Nine out of 10 Internet users said that, when given a choice of languages, they always visited a website in their own language.
- Nearly one in five Europeans (19%) said they never browse in a language other than their own.
- 42% said they never purchase products and services in other languages.
Benefits of translations
As you can see by the above statistics, in order to reach your company’s full digital potential and increase revenues, translation services are not optional, but quite simply, essential. As almost half of the respondents claim to never purchase goods from shops which do not provide information in their native language and 19% not browsing websites in a language other than their own at all, the potential business gap is great. By accurately translating your content, you’ll be able to attract more customers and perhaps sway them from your competitors, not only increasing your sales, but also establishing a professional and customer- friendly brand image.
Translation industry – growth
In the recent years, as more businesses come to appreciate the importance of professional translations, the translation industry itself noticed a sharp growth. With the global yearly growth rate just below 6%, translations are a big business. According to recent study, the industry was worth an astonishing 30 Billion with predicted worth of 35 Billion by 2020.
- The size of the overall global language industry in 2016 is estimated at $40 Billion (USD), with estimates of up to $45 Billion by 2020
- The projected growth rate is 6.5-7.5% annually through 2018
- The size of the language technology industry is estimated at €29 Billion
More in-depth information about the translation service providers and the translation industry itself is available here.
Translate smart and work with a translation agency
Many business owners find translation process stressful and time consuming, especially if they do not have any previous experience with similar assignments. Not only the translation process itself can be quite challenging, but also deciding which material to translate in the first place in order to minimise costs and maximise revenues can be a difficult decision. Consequently, it is essential that a professional translation agency is involved in the process as such company will not only guarantee accuracy, but in many cases can also advise you which content you should translate in order to reach your company’s full potential. There are however three main parts which translation of is key in the process of international expansion and which you can mention to your translation agency beforehand:
- Marketing translation services cover conveying material such as brochures, leaflets or product descriptions into the native language of the market you wish to address. As previously shown by data, majority of customers prefers to read the information in their mother tongue and feels more inclined to purchasing when product/service description is available in their language, therefore ensuring that your marketing material is fully understood by them is necessary.
- Translating your legal documents is vital when approaching international markets and targeting new consumers abroad. Whether it’s contracts, patents or simple terms and conditions, such documents often have legal power and therefore ensuring that your customers are able to understand them is key, from both – the business and legal point of view.
- Although translating your website can be considered an integral part of marketing translations, it is so significant, it deserves a separate mention. In majority of cases, especially when approaching new, foreign markets for the first time, your website will be the first point of contact between your business and your potential customer. If the content and information about your products/services and company isn’t available in the visitor’s native language, he or she may simply leave the website and find your competitor. As 42% of consumers never purchase goods in language other than their native, the potential risk of losing clients is great. This is a scenario, which any business owner wants to avoid.
Translating and localising your website is important not only from the business point of view, but it is also extremely significant for branding and company image. A company which offers their website in several languages comes across more user-friendly and professional, which can be very beneficial when approaching new, foreign markets and trying to establish its position abroad.
As you can see, translation services should be an integral part of any successful business in today’s environment. With the growth of globalisation and technology, allowing your customers to read about your brand and your products in their native language should not be considered a something extra, but as something that is ordinary.