Going Global Product Translation

Selling Globally? Translate Your Product to Look Its Best

Category: International Business, Marketing Translation, Translation Services

One of the best ways to cater to customers in a global market is to offer your product or service in their native languages. If you do not skillfully translate your product’s packaging and labeling, you run the risk of your product being overlooked or misunderstood by local consumers. When you are dedicating your time and effort to expand your business into new global markets, protect your investment by making sure your product is visually appealing and understandable to each local audience.

Effective Translation of Packaging

In order to sell your products in a new market, unless you are an iconic, global brand, you will likely need to translate and localize your packaging. A product’s appearance is often the first impression it makes on a consumer, which can instantly and indelibly form their opinion of its desirability. Confusing or unclear packaging can undo your substantial efforts to market your products. Packaging that feels approachable, familiar, and understandable to the local audience will be more successful.

Translating labelsEffective translation of a product’s packaging may require transcreation or creative adaptation rather than direct translation. Skilled translators can alter the language to preserve the intent and “feeling” of the original copy. They can also identify whether the translation of any material might provoke copyright issues in the new market by being impermissibly similar to an existing product or company.

Brand and product names, even those that are “made up” or meaningless words in their original language, can mean something different in another language (or even just sound like other meaningful words) when translated. Countless occurrences of poorly translated product packaging have resulted in accidentally suggestive, humorous, or nonsensical product names as well as content that merely falls flat with local audiences.

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.

Labeling for Clarity and Compliance

Product labeling requirements vary greatly from country to country. If you are selling a food product, for example, you’ll need to consider local regulations for disclosing nutritional information as well as ingredients like allergens or processes like radiation or genetic crop modification (GMO). Some locations require disclosure on the labeling or packaging of the origin location of the product and/or its components. Many countries use standardized symbols and designations to indicate compliance with these various requirements. A translation team that is experienced in your local market can help ensure that your product labeling is not only translated correctly but also contains all the information it needs to comply with local regulations, using commonly understood phrasing, wording, and symbolism.

In addition to regulatory issues, localizing your product labeling can also involve making customer-focused changes like converting measuring units (e.g., pounds to kilos or gallons to liters), localizing date and time formats (e.g., ordering the day before the month or using a 24-hour clock designation), changing a signature font to improve readability, and making other typographic changes to improve clarity and familiarity.

Engaging a Knowledgeable Translation Team is Vital

Translating and localizing product  related content requires a thorough understanding of your new language market(s).  Acclaro understands local requirements and customer expectations and works with you to  successfully  and seamlessly transition your packaging and labeling to over 60 languages worldwide. Learn more about Acclaro’s start-to-finish multilingual translation approach at www.acclaro.com.