Tag Archives: foreign markets

Translation guide for businesses

 

Clients are often asking us what the translation process involves, particularly if it is the first time they have had to work with other languages. The answer to this question can vary from client to client and is very much dependent on how you intend to use the results.

 

Some clients see translation as a low-cost means of increasing sales. With the advent of tools such as Google Translate, this notion of a straightforward push-button solution seems to be increasingly prevalent.

 

Naturally, it is in our interest to underline the limitations of free tools like these and to recommend the use of professional translation services instead. The truth is that these free tools can perform well, but only if you correctly set your expectations in terms of what you hope they will achieve.

 

New customers

Equally, a high-level, professional-quality translation may be far beyond the scope of your requirements and may therefore represent an overly expensive option with very little ROI.

What are your exact requirements?

So, you have decided you want to make your products or services available in overseas markets. If you can reach a wider audience, you can reasonably expect to increase your sales. So, what should you do? Well, you first need to identify precisely what it is you want to achieve by having your product or service translated.

Many companies go for the bottom line first, i.e. the cheapest quote wins. This approach will ensure a cheap translation, often with a quick turnaround, and the vast majority of translation companies will handle this with varying degrees of success. You might get lucky and end up with an accurate translation, or the final product might only give you a rough idea of the source content.

 

However, it may be worth considering an alternative. Think about how long it took you to prepare your product for your ‘home’ market. If you spent hundreds of pounds, and months preparing the source copy, and a few weeks adjusting the design and layout, why would expect your translation to be delivered in a week for the lowest possible cost?

More to translation than meets the eye

Translation is not merely a case of exchanging English words for their foreign counterparts or vice versa; in fact, there are many factors at play, including context, cultural understanding, language structure and, in some cases, specialist terminology.

 

Unless you define your precise requirements right from the outset, you may find you are unhappy with the end result, and may even miss out altogether on the potential customers you were trying to gain. Be sure to structure your ‘translation brief’ with clear and precise instructions, and outline your expectations in detail.

 

If you would like more information about our professional business translation services click here to learn more or email hello@surreytranslation.co.uk to get in touch with us.

 

Written by Jayne Martin

 

Export marketing – Developing a plan that won’t get “lost in translation”

No matter where you stand in the great British Brexit debate, there is one thing we can all agree on: the pound is taking a real hammering in the currency markets.

 

This isn’t necessarily great news for everyone. A family holiday in Dubai currently costs around 25–30% more than it would have a few years ago and, if you’re an importer, the chances are your costs have significantly increased, whether buying in from the EU or elsewhere in the world.

 

As the saying goes, however, ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ and in this case the good news is that we have become a cheaper prospect for those abroad – cheaper to buy from, cheaper to visit and cheaper to do business with. This means EXPORT.

 

Now is without question the right time to invest time and energy into exploring some of those hugely lucrative foreign markets; not only to take advantage of the low pound, but also to help secure an international future in whatever post-Brexit trade landscape we are left with.

 

Doing business abroad can go wrong all too easily. That’s why it is important to develop a plan that takes into account the inherent differences involved; differences in language, people, politics, world views, geography, and myriad other factors that can impact a business venture when it’s removed from its cultural comfort zone.

 

Marketing yourself to potential foreign clients will be an important aspect in your success. So, here are some quick tips on how to ensure your message doesn’t get lost in translation.

 

1. Invest time in research

 

Research
Would you throw yourself off a diving board without knowing there was some water below? No? So why do the same when throwing yourself into export? There is a market for you out there somewhere; the trick is to locate the best market for you, i.e. the most profitable, the quickest to market or the easiest to set up. This understanding only comes with proper research. Spend time familiarising yourself with potential markets, their practical challenges, marketing practices. Learn as much as you can about the people, politics, economy, media and current affairs in the region.

2. Analyse the competition

Competition

 

An excellent way to better understand a new potential market is to watch what your competition is doing, whether domestic or international. If there are domestic players in your market, analyse their route to market and how they promote themselves. Examine their goods/services, and get a sense of any potential gaps in their offering. Similarly, if you have seen other foreign companies break into a new market, scrutinise how they did it and what made them successful. Learn from others, adjust and improve; always keep an eye on your own USP and how best to convey it.

3. Respect cultural differences

 

Export
There is much more to culture than whether to shake someone’s hand or bow. Cultural differences can cause havoc when exporting if not given due consideration. Values, buying habits, marketing channels, colours, logos, and even how your product or service functions, can and will differ when operating in a foreign market. Carry out a full cultural audit of your offering before jumping into any market to avoid potentially costly mistakes.

4. Localise your language

 

Languages
It is well documented that consumers are much more comfortable buying something sold to them in their own language. Language creates trust; it is therefore crucial to make sure that the language you use is tailored specifically for your target audience, i.e. localised. All marketing collateral should be translated and localised by a professional who is familiar with the target market and sector to ensure that your company, service or product is positioned correctly.

 

5. Look at local marketing channels

 

Social media
Just because Facebook and PPC advertising works in your domestic market, there is no guarantee that it will in your export market. Marketing channels differ from country to country. In one country, search engines and SEO may be the quickest way to market; another may rely on printed catalogues and mailing lists; others may rely on newspaper advertising. Be flexible and open minded when it comes to how you market yourself.

6. Prepare your sales team

sales team

One of the biggest mistakes many exporters make when entering new markets is to plough all their time, money and energy into breaking into the market. They tend to forget about dealing with actual customers and processing sales. If you export to China how will your team deal with that first email or phone call in Mandarin? If your sales team are not trained, prepared and equipped to deal with the market there is little point.

7. Travel and build relationships

 

Travel

 

If you think you will be able to sell to a new market successfully without visiting it, think again. Much of the business world outside of the West tends to prefer dealing with people face-to-face; trust and personal relationships are very important. Accordingly, it’s worth investing time in travelling to the country to meet potential clients and the competition, and attend trade fairs, etc. The more time you spend in and with your market the more insight you will have; the more insight you have the greater your chance of success.

 

This is a guest blog by Neil Payne.  

 

Bio: Neil Payne spent 10+ years working in translation and localisation before setting up Commisceo Global, a training company specialising in cross-cultural training and consultancy which helps clients gain access to and work in the global marketplace.

Language variants – why your translation should be localised

When requesting a translation, knowing what languages you want to translate into is sometimes straightforward. For a marketing campaign in Italy, you’ll choose Italian and for a technical manual for use in Russia, you’ll choose Russian. However, what happens when the country of your target audience speak and write more than one language? Or a language is spoken and written in multiple countries and there are different variants of the language? This post will explain the importance of language localisation – adapting your content to a country or region where the vocabulary and grammar used can be considerably different. It should also help you to identify which language variant is right for your document.

 

A map of the world showing language localisation

 

Chinese

At Surrey Translation Bureau, we get many requests for Chinese translations but what does it mean when you request a translation into Chinese?

There are two main variants of written Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Traditional ChineseSimplified Chinese is used by most individuals from mainland China and Singapore; its spoken form is Mandarin. According to a linguistic study, approximately 95% of the Chinese population use Simplified Chinese (Potowski, 2010).

The second major written variant is Traditional Chinese. This is used by people living in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. The spoken version of Traditional Chinese is Cantonese.

Selecting which form of written Chinese is most appropriate for your translation, therefore, depends on which part of China you are aiming to connect with. We are always happy to advise you on issues of localisation if you are unsure.

 

French

A country’s history often means that a language is not confined to its physical boundaries. For example, French is the official language of France, which has a population of approximately 66 million. It is also an official language in 29 other countries, from Cameroon to Luxemburg.

In Belgium, French is one of the official languages alongside Dutch (whose Belgian variant is Flemish) and German.

We have translators who translate standard French and those specialised in Belgian French translation, which has some differences from standard French. French is predominantly spoken in the southern Walloon region of Belgium as well as in the capital, Brussels, whose two official languages are French and Flemish. Other varieties of French include Québécois (Canadian) French and Swiss French.

 

Flemish and Dutch

Flemish is spoken in Belgium, mainly in the Flanders region in the north of the country. Dutch on the other hand, is spoken in the Netherlands. Although there are similarities between Flemish and Dutch, there are many differences in the vocabulary. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you choose the correct language for translations reaching clients in Belgium or the Netherlands.

 

German

All Germans write using a standardised form of German, Hochdeutsch. Austrian German and particularly Swiss German deviate from Hochdeutsch both in terms of grammar and vocabulary. Whilst standard written German is comprehensible to Swiss and Austrian German speakers, it is often necessary to localise the linguistic content (choosing different words, spellings and grammar) to make sure it is appropriate for the target market.

 

Spanish and Portuguese

Spanish is spoken not only in Spain but across much of South America. There are various grammatical and terminological differences between Latin American Spanish and Castilian Spanish (spoken in mainland Spain). To effectively communicate with your target market, it’s essential to use the language form that is standard to them. If you use words or grammatical structures that are unfamiliar or unrecognisable to existing or potential clients, your translations are unlikely to generate effective business results.

Likewise, Portuguese is spoken in Portugal as well as Brazil among other countries. When ordering a translation, ensure your translation service provider knows where the target market is for your translation.

 

When we localise your translation, we take many other factors into account. These include cultural sensitivities, date and address forms and even country-specific statistics. This ensures that your translation makes the right impression and does not alienate your target market.

 

UK and US English

English might not immediately spring to mind when contemplating localisation, but English also varies from country to country. If you are targeting the US market, it is important to adapt your content using US spellings. This is a service Surrey Translation Bureau offers.

 

In order to conduct business effectively, it is important to address individuals appropriately. Doing business with people from different countries and cultures can hugely grow your business and profit. However, you should make an informed decision about the right language variant with the help of your translation service provider. Hopefully, this will be us! This will ensure your translation demonstrates to potential clients how important they are to you.

 

If you have any queries regarding language variants comment below, or if you would like advice on localisation please email us at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk or call us on 01252 733 999 to discuss your translation project requirements.

Going Global – from the UK to the rest of the world

 

A picture of a globe, ready for going global

 

This December, Surrey Translation Bureau exhibited at Going Global 2015. Hosted by London Olympia, it was perfect for companies looking to expand internationally, export products or set up overseas operations.

This is one of the first exhibitions we have exhibited at as a company, especially on such a large scale. We prepared carefully in the months leading up to Going Global. Although we didn’t know exactly what to expect, we thoroughly enjoyed meeting new potential clients and talking to the other exhibitors.

Going Global took place alongside three other exhibitions; The Business Show, Business Startup and Techpreneur, in the impressive building that is London Olympia. The four exhibitions showcased a host of interesting businesses from start-ups who had designed innovative apps to larger companies such KPMG and Hewlett-Packard. It was great to have such large brands exhibiting alongside SMEs. Everyone was very friendly and keen to talk about their brand. It was the perfect atmosphere to network and meet new contacts!

The show was attended by about 33,000 visitors, which made for two extremely busy days. At the STB stand, we met many interesting contacts from wine exporters to logistics companies through to tech companies. Many visitors complemented our stand, which we’d decorated with the word ‘hello’ in multiple different languages. They were impressed to hear that we translate into most world languages. We thoroughly enjoyed talking to companies who were taking the first steps in expanding internationally. It was great to explain how they would go about requesting translations with us to help their business grow.

Over the two days, we ran a competition which gave our contacts the chance to win £200 worth of translations for their first order with Surrey Translation Bureau after exchanging business cards with us. This opportunity was taken up by many and was just about as popular as the purple STB-coloured chocolate éclairs we offered to visitors! Coming back with a stack of cards, we drew the winner earlier in the week. Airport2lodge was the name out of the hat – we look forward to delivering their first translation.

​As well as a vast array of exhibitors, there were some informative seminars. These were targeted at helping companies, particularly SMEs, to lay the foundations for expanding their business internationally. Speakers offered advice on entering markets such as Eastern Europe and BRICS (Brazil, China, India, Russia, South Africa). There were also talks on the importance of social media in helping customers to recognise your brand. It’s important to have the resources to maintain these networks, to answer customers’ questions and update clients on your company’s developments.

If you needed a reminder that the world is becoming ever more connected, Going Global was the perfect illustration. As many more companies enter international markets and businesses step up the number of countries they are operating in, the need to communicate with clients in their own language is increasing dramatically. We took a lot of requests for website translation when talking to visitors during the exhibition. A great way to reach clients is identifying certain countries where there is potential growth for your company.

After two very successful days at London Olympia, we packed up our stand and headed back to Farnham, delighted to have met so many businesses keen to expand internationally. We’re looking forward to quoting and preparing translation proposals for some of these new and diverse contacts.

Do you want to follow in the footsteps of the clients we met at the exhibition to help your company go global with translations? Contact hello@surreytranslation.co.uk today to request a no-obligation quote.