Author Archives: accessibletranslatio

Three Things to Consider Before Exporting Your Product to Another Country

Thinking about launching a new product overseas? There are certain factors you should consider before you do. While it can be very lucrative for your company to expand to other markets, it can also be detrimental if you overlook some key considerations. So how do you make the call for your business? These three points can help you decide if your business is ready to launch a new product overseas.

1. Create a marketing strategy. Consider who your ideal client is in the target countries so that you are able to market to them effectively. Where do they hang out? What social media platforms do they use? Don’t assume that Facebook and Twitter are the perfect platforms to reach your ideal client just because they are in the U.S. For example, in China you’ll find that Instagram is more popular than Twitter at almost double the rate. According to social media strategist Vincenzo Cosenza, Japan is the only country where Twitter is the most popular social media platform. And Facebook-owned Instagram is consistently more popular than Facebook itself in several African countries, Iran and Indonesia.

 

2. Localize your brand and products for a specific country/market. You will almost certainly need to localize your product packaging, advertising, package inserts, assembly instructions and manuals to ensure you successfully reach your target demographic. What works for your domestic market is not guaranteed to have the same effect internationally. You will need to think about the language you use, of course, but this also includes your brand name, images associated with your brand and those used in your ads, as well as colors, marketing and technical communications, etc.

Take the story of IKEA’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad. The Swedes are known for modern home design with simple forms and clean lines. Kamprad drew on his knowledge of the Swedish people and culture, and he intentionally designed furniture that was attractive and affordable. In fact, as many people in Sweden’s larger cities do not own cars, he designed many pieces that could ideally fit under one’s arm and be carried home on a bicycle.

3. Understand safety standards abroad. Check into local product regulations and safety standards where you plan to export. If you want to break into countries within the European Union, for example, you may need to go through a conformity assessment process so that you can attach the CE mark to your product (a mark ensuring customer safety that is required on many products sold in the EU).

Bonus Tip! Pay attention to language variants. It is important to understand that while certain countries may be known to speak certain languages, variants among languages are not to be dismissed. Languages are continuously changing. Chinese in Mainland China— Mandarin with Simplified Chinese as the written form— differs greatly from the Chinese spoken in Hong Kong: Cantonese with Traditional Chinese as the written form. Ignoring variants that affect things like spelling, word and character usage and other fine details could be roadblocks to your brand’s success.

If your business has successfully launched a product in another country, what tips would you share for others looking to do the same?

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Filed under Global Markets, Localization, Marketing, Translation Services

Back to School! What Content to Translate for Parents Who Don’t Speak English

The back-to-school season is officially in full swing! As an educator or provider of educational materials, you already know how important it can be to understand the needs of your students both inside and outside of the classroom. You may also already be familiar with some of the difficulties that present themselves if a student’s parents speak a language other than English. It’s hard to know whether or not these parents fully understand some of the important papers, documents and materials distributed to their children. In fact, you might not even receive some of the information back that needs to be signed/returned. To best serve your students, parents, and teachers alike, we’ve compiled a list of items you may want to have translated in order to help ensure clear communication between the school and parents.

  • guides to help parents assist their children with reading/homework;
  • official school documents (i.e. handbooks, dress code guidelines, admissions packets, emergency and safety procedures);
  • your website (or the parts most pertinent to what parents may need to review);
  • parent surveys or other notices sent home, especially those that require a parent signature;
  • report cards and progress reports;
  • athletic events or forms;
  • email newsletters directed toward parents

If you send your students’ parents information in their preferred language, you will increase the likelihood of parent involvement and communications throughout the school year, which will, in turn, help set your students up for success. And we already know what you’re thinking… “If I send out information in the parents’ primary language, how can I communicate with them if they call or show up with questions?” To that, we say, “Don’t worry!” We have a set of solutions to help you communicate verbally with parents (and kids!) as well.

Knowing where to begin can be difficult, especially if you have a diverse population of students! First, it is key to know the demographics of your school district or those consuming your educational materials. This will help tremendously. We recommend choosing one or two of the languages most commonly spoken and building your translated material offerings from there. If you have any questions about the process of having these things translated by a professional team, we are always here to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!

If you found this information helpful, you may also like:

Translating and Localizing your Website on a Budget: Where to Begin

What Information Does ATS Consider When Providing My Free Quote?

Solutions for Part-time Interpreting Needs

What If I Just Use the Google Translate Button on My Website?

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Filed under Translation Services

The Value of Hiring Multilingual Employees

With ever-increasing globalization in the marketplace, having multilingual employees in your workplace can be of great benefit. According to recent Census reports, the population of non-English speakers in the United States has continued to rise over the past 20-30 years. Having one or multiple employees who speak a language other than English can give your business a definite edge in a competitive atmosphere.

Here are the Top Three Benefits of Hiring Multilingual Employees:

  1. If you are looking to expand your business to new markets, multilingual employees can be a great asset. Building a multilingual customer service department, for example, means drawing in a customer base who feels confident in their ability to do business with you. They know that if they have questions or concerns, they will be able to address these things seamlessly in their native language. When customers feel comfortable, they are more likely to return.
  2. A professional translation agency is key to handling translation and interpreting services, since it already employs translators and interpreters with the proper experience, education and training for these skill sets. It is dangerous to assume a multilingual employee is as comfortable in writing as in speaking. The two skills are quite different, and when your brand is on the line, it’s vital to ensure a professional translation. However, if you receive an email or mail correspondence in another language and need a quick understanding of the gist of the message, or if you wish to set aside time for an employee to review translated content through the eyes of your customers, multilingual employees are quite effective and can double as in-house reviewers for you.
  3. The benefits are not simply linguistic in nature. Studies from the National Institutes of Health and Northwestern University have shown that individuals who speak multiple languages typically have a stronger ability for both multitasking and processing information more quickly and efficiently than monolingual individuals.

What has your experience been like with your multilingual employees? We would love to hear about benefits you’ve encountered that we may not have mentioned. Feel free to leave a comment below!

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Filed under Customer Service, Global Markets, Translation Services

How Societal Values and Customs Can Make or Break Your International Deal

If your company is based in the United States, you are likely familiar with business etiquette here in North America. It would be normal, expected even, for you to arrive on time (or better… early!) and shake someone’s hand when you greet them during a business meeting, for example, or even to invite fellow associates out for dinner to both discuss a potential deal and socialize with your colleagues.

If you’ve ever given thought to expanding your business to an international market, it is essential to consider how business etiquette may differ in other countries and how adapting to these differences could vastly impact your ability to perform well in a global market.

Translating and/or localizing your product and services are great steps toward entering the global market. However, these aren’t the only things to consider in moving your business forward in a foreign culture. It’s probable that you will need to work directly with other business associates in that country for a successful launch, so learning a little about proper business etiquette there can really go a long way. Your meetings could be face-to-face, via email, video chat, or over the phone. If you are trying to launch your brand in multiple countries, it is essential to familiarize yourself with etiquette for each form of communication. Of course, it is not necessary to learn each and every custom for every location, but if you have a basic understanding of how business etiquette works in each one, the likelihood of success is greater.

Believe it or not, business etiquette stems from one area that people often overlook when preparing for a business trip abroad or a meeting with foreign counterparts. Societal values and customs. You may be thinking, “What do people’s values and customs have to do with business etiquette?” Well, you’d be surprised. Take, for example, a U.S. company that wants to do business in China. A group of American and Chinese executives gather in a meeting room in order to talk about a potential partnership or collaboration. During the discussion, one of the U.S. executives asks what it would take to go ahead and “make a deal.” As this is only their first meeting, the Chinese executives are offended by his seemingly direct and abrupt manner.  That’s because, in China, it can be inappropriate to begin your meeting by discussing the deal you want to close in such a direct manner. It can be considered rude, and you may return home without any deal. Instead, it is more appropriate to develop a relationship with your business partner and avoid interrupting him or her at all costs!

When handing your business card to someone in China, or receiving one from a potential business partner, do so with both hands. This is considered a sign of respect. If you are holding a business meeting in Mexico, for instance, it would not be uncommon for the meeting to begin a little late and for your colleagues to engage in an embrace as a greeting, instead of a handshake, once a perceived friendship is established. Conversely, if you are conducting business in Germany, arriving late is considered rude and business meetings are very formal (always shake hands and greet someone as Herr [Mister] last name even when you know them well).

We recently had a client request the translation of his business card into Japanese. This is also a sign of respect for the Japanese speaker who receives the card. The fact that our client took the time to translate the card for his foreign counterparts shows that he took the time to make their interaction more personable and smooth. We did remind the client that he should add the country code to the beginning of his direct telephone line and to avoid using the extra toll-free 800 number, as it would not be functional outside of the United States. Remember, try to make it easy for your potential clients to reach you!

Since there is no global standard of business etiquette, we recommend always researching the societal values and norms of those with whom you wish to do business. This step ensures that you you will abide by that country’s customs and not come across poorly in the interaction. It also shows respect for your business associates abroad and makes a good first impression on them. Being prepared with more than just your service  or product offerings shows that you are dedicated to doing business in that area and will greatly improve your chance of success when launching your localized product or service.

If you found this article useful, you may also enjoy:

The Benefits of Translating Your Newsletter

Top Tips For Communicating While Traveling Abroad

Translating and Localizing Your Website On a Budget

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Filed under Global Markets, Localization, Marketing, Translation Services

How Social media in Spanish can boost your ROI

Social media has quickly become one of the top ways that businesses market their products and services. Many are also seeing the benefit of marketing to their customers in Spanish. And these days, companies are combining the two: social media in Spanish. Why? Check out these numbers…

As of 2016, Hispanic buying power had soared to $1.4 trillion. This is up from just $495 billion in 2000. Of the 54 million U.S. Hispanics, 26 million are on Facebook, 12 million on Twitter and 9.6 million on Instagram. Prefer a visual? This infographic from Univision further shows the current usage trends of social media by Latinos, and why marketing to them can seriously benefit your brand!

So, what can your business do to make strides in marketing to Latinos? The answer depends on what social media networks you utilize to reach your customers. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blogs are outstanding resources for Latinos looking for information on products and services. Many will want to have more information before making an informed decision about a purchase, and preferably, in their primary language. Therefore, the first step is to know where your target customers hang out.

Second, once you have an idea of the platforms you’ll utilize to reach this population, consider the ways in which you’ll market your business to Latinos or other ethnic populations. Trivia, giveaways, reviews by bloggers and consistent outreach via social media platforms will allow you to begin to form a strong relationship between you and your customers. Language is the first step, and it’s vital to getting it right. Proper translation of your materials is critical to making sure your message is received in a positive way. Along with translation or transcreation of your materials, knowledge of trends and culture will take you even further.

Finally, a key for future growth is tracking the return on investment (ROI). Are you noticing a positive response on your Spanish–language Facebook page or Twitter feed? Do you have more followers on Instagram due to publishing images that capture the attention of a Latino audience? Which posts or images are most engaging among your target audience? Once you evaluate what works for your business, keep doing it! Consistency and relationship building is key in reaching consumers in their own native language.

Still need more information? Check out our 4 Translation Mistakes to Avoid in Marketing in a Foreign Language or listen to our Interview with an Expert with Natasha Pongonis of Nativa (formerly Social Media Spanish and DK Web Consulting). Natasha mentions the types of social media marketing campaigns most requested by clients, as well as 3 tips for companies to reach Latino consumers. We work with Natasha and her team on client projects, so if you have any questions for us, please send them our way!

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Filed under Customer Service, Global Markets, Marketing, Translation Services