Corporate Translation: A Checklist for Going Global

Category: International Business, Marketing Translation, Translation Services

Expansion to a global market requires more than just capital and desire. It requires truly connecting with  your local markets, in order to efficiently and competently do business there and to convince locals to buy your product or use your service. Both of these objectives depend on effective communication. For your business to communicate fluently in another language market, you will need to employ enterprise translation across many different aspects of your business.

Marketing & Sales Projects: Communicating Your Brand Effectively

Marketing projects often require the greatest amount of time and creativity to translate. Rather than translating them directly, it is often preferable to use “transcreation” or “creative adaptation.” This involves allowing your translation provider to suggest words, images, and metaphors that will best convey the original message in the target languages, even if the exact phrasing or imagery is different from the original campaign. This way, you can ensure that your message is adapted appropriately while maintaining its intent, style, tone, and context.

First and foremost, if you are expanding, you’ll need to translate and transcreate all or most of your general company content, like slogans, mission statements, and product names. You’ll also need to translate your website content, including the web pages as well as downloadable content like eBooks and whitepapers, and ensure it is easily navigable for your local target audience. Once you’ve taken care of these flagship marketing materials, you must consider your international and cross-cultural marketing strategies.

Your marketing team should work closely with your translation partners to understand how to best translate and localize your marketing strategies and content. It is most efficient and effective to work together as a team through the entire process of developing and planning your content marketing, inbound marketing, traditional outbound marketing, and digital marketing. This helps ensure consistency across your branding, allows your marketing to better resonate with local audiences, and helps you stay within budgetary and timeline concerns.

You must also consider the sales material in catalogs and in online product placement portals. Some products lend themselves easily to direct translation, e.g., “Hex bolt fasteners, 3/4 diameter, 2” length.” Others may require more creative transcreation. Consider how detailed you want your sales copy to be in light of how much time and money it may cost to translate effectively.

Product Translations

In order to sell your products in a new market, you will also have to consider translating your packaging and labeling. Confusing or unclear packaging can undo your substantial efforts to market your products. This may also require transcreation or creative adaptation. For example, when Proctor & Gamble began selling Pampers diapers in Japan, it used its original, successful imagery of a stork carrying a baby on the packaging. After an underwhelming response, research revealed that consumers found it cute but confusing, since their culture has no comparable traditional stories of babies being brought by storks. Choosing another package image that resonated with the local culture could have improved brand performance in the market.

You may also have to spend significant time on software localization, including internationalization (i18n), which enables your software to handle the language and conventions of your target market, data entry localization (L10n), and localized software testing.

Corporate Documents

Moving into a new market will also require significant administrative and overhead translation. Legal documents like:

  • Leases
  • Trademark application and registration documents
  • Intellectual property issues like non-competition and trade secret agreements
  • Site surveys
  • Technical reports
  • Local administrative and government paperwork

will all have to be translated so they can be reviewed by management. This kind of work will require direct translation rather than transcreation. It is essential that it is done by a team that not only fully understands both the source language and the target language but also the nuances of legal and corporate terms in both locations. This helps ensure that words or phrases that are “terms of art” in the local legal or regulatory lexicon are not confused or misinterpreted. Mistakes or confusion in translating these essential documents can be devastating to your business expansion and business as a whole.

going global blog photo

Local Workforce Projects: Expanding Your Realm

Many businesses expand globally by establishing new operations centers and distribution and field sales centers. Training and managing new, local employees requires careful translation of documents as well as a deep understanding of local systems and customs. Translation will be necessary for human resources (HR) documents and a wide variety of employee agreements, including employment contracts, handbooks, benefits agreements, and more. Onboarding and training materials,  multimedia, resources, and curricula, both for eLearning and in-person training, will need to be translated. Getting local workers paid will require translation of financial documents related to payroll issues, administrative regulations, tax payment and withholding, and more. Workplace health and safety documents, operational instructions, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and other employee notices will also have to be translated. A translation team that understands your industry and local business regulations and requirements is invaluable through this process.

Customer-Facing Projects: Support

Once you’ve set up your company for business in a new market, set up your new workforce to produce your product or provide your services, and translated your marketing materials, you will hopefully have potential customers in your new market. You must be able to communicate effectively with these prospects through each stage of the buyer’s journey, from researching your product to placing an order. You must ensure that online materials and mobile apps are able to reliably convey the information your customers may need and that your customer service team is able to communicate in person, in writing, or telephonically with your clients. Using an over-the-phone interpretation service (OPI) is one option that allows you to instantly connect customers with existing, knowledgeable customer service and sales representatives using an interpreter rather than having to train entirely new local support teams. This way, you can use your existing customer support workforce to branch into new markets.

Other customer support materials for product usage, training, and operations can be made available through your website, including videos, product manuals, and written answers to frequently asked questions. Ensuring that you provide your new customers with a variety of options to contact you will help you build brand loyalty, recognition, and credibility in your new market.

While challenging, the opportunity to go global has the potential for massive expansion and growth. With the right multinational localization and translation strategies, you’ll be cornering global markets in no time! Acclaro specializes in expertly adapting brands, products, and services to new language markets. We provide translation, localization, and interpretation services for markets across the globe. If you are looking for your brand to succeed across cultures, please contact us to find out how our team of seasoned experts can help.