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Accelerating Global Market Acceptance with Technical Marketing Localization
Keep culture in mind when translating brand materials.
Posted Dec 6, 2013
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Studies show that people are more likely to buy a product or service if they can read about it in their own language. However, technical marketing translation requires a special blend of art and science—to capture the nuance of the brand and local culture, as well as the precision detail of the product. Because brand managers and product managers often have different needs, companies need translators that understand technology as well as marketing to meet the needs of both and deliver a localized marketing message that maintains brand consistency.

Translate packaging, data sheets, Web copy, and multimedia to increase multicultural market customer loyalty.

According to Common Sense Advisory, 72.4 percent of consumers say they would be more likely to buy a product that featured information in their own language. In fact, 56.2 percent of consumers say that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price. Further, 72.1 percent of consumers spend most or all of their time on sites in their own language. However, 433 of the top 1,000 global Web sites address a single market in a single language, with no attempt to address the needs of geolingual visitors.

Successful companies understand that there is an established order to doing business in other countries. For example, in Japan, the most essential concept to grasp is that of the overwhelming importance of personal relationships within the sales cycle. Webtrends took this aspect to heart when it announced the opening of its new office in Tokyo, as well as a Japanese version of one of its core analytics offerings (Insight), by providing complete localization of the product interface and documentation. Webtrends also provided localized online sales information and product training customized to solve potential and existing customers' top 10 requirements, delivering on the company's commitments and helping customers quickly integrate its services into their systems.

Send translated messages that speak with your brand's voice and with localized meaning.

Behind every language is a unique culture that must be taken into consideration if your message is to be positively received by that market. Truly effective translation is more than simply exchanging the words and grammar of one language for those of another. For example, technical marketing translation requires a blend of art and science to capture the nuance of the brand and local culture, as well as the precision detail of the product. Therefore, you need an optimized team for translating technical content, comprised of a blend of subject matter linguists and native copy editors to deliver a localized marketing message that maintains brand consistency.

According to Common Sense Advisory, "The two most important elements of translation quality—technical accuracy and a vendor's willingness to implement feedback—are even more important to buyers than [formal] linguistic quality." A popular and often cited example that conveys the importance of this statement was provided by one of Pepsi's early marketing attempts, where the tagline "Come Alive! You're the Pepsi Generation!" was translated in Chinese as "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead." While it is possibly an accurate translation, it is most definitely not the intended meaning and was almost definitely not true.

Adapt products to meet the needs of the global customer base.

Translating your English Web text into the language of your audience alone does not make your site local. Your Web site contents must be culturally suitable. Besides translating and localizing the Web text, it is also essential to examine Web elements such as navigation system, colors, and images. In addition, you need to make sure that international customers have the ability to use their own credit cards and/or currency on your site.

Cultural factors have a significant impact on the success or failure of a localized Web site and marketing materials. Remember that you are essentially creating a virtual relationship with your international customers, so the more localized your Web marketing materials are, the more apt they are to purchase your products and services. Use the Web to create a push-pull dialogue. Once you have engaged your global audience, ensure you can respond, react, and interact with your newfound market. Careful planning with your Web infrastructure and architecture can ensure lower total cost and faster turnaround time of translated materials as you seek to not just establish but also grow and nurture your global marketplace.


Nic McMahon is chief operating officer of VIA, which helps companies create, culturally align, and monitor global content across people, channels, and geographies, delivering activities such as elearning, translation, and community insights under one umbrella. He has more than 15 years of experience helping organizations succeed globally through localization, learning, and global resourcing initiatives.


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