The internationalisation of the business world means that we have access to a much larger pool of potential clients than we had in the past. But successfully globalising your business isn’t as simple as shipping overseas. If you’re launching a product or brand in a foreign market that speaks another language, then you need to consider language localisation across your business.
From the content on your website to the packaging on your products, your internationalisation strategy must include language localisation if you want to successfully reach and connect with your target market.
And if the concept of language localisation is new to you, no need to panic. Here’s everything you need to know about localisation, and how you can use it to ensure your business’ success in your international ventures.
What is Localisation?
Localisation is the process of adapting content, a product, or service to a specific location or market. In the context of language, we mean written, audio and visual content that needs to be both translated and localised so that it is accessible and makes sense to the target audience.
Localisation vs Translation
Localisation and translation may appear similar, but the two practices are actually quite different.
When we consider how simplistic translation can be, we can look at mistakes that even huge international corporations like KFC have made in the past. The literal translation of their famous slogan, ‘Finger-lickin good’, in the Chinese market translated to ‘Eat your fingers off’. Not only did this not make sense to the Chinese market, but it also exposed the fast food giant’s lazy globalisation strategy. Their failure to adapt their content, and go one step further than simply translating, left a bad first impression on Chinese consumers.
Well localised content, on the other hand, is content that native speakers in your target market don’t even know has been localised from another language. Localisation needs to be undetectable, and seamlessly integrated into your content so that it reads naturally. This means that it’s vital to choose a language localisation provider that understands both your target market and language.
What Content You Need to Localise
The localisation of language can include a wide variety of practices, including website localisation, adapting product packaging, localising marketing content, and more. You’ll need to localise all of the content that your target audience will come into contact with to create a consistent and reliable brand personality throughout all of your interactions with customers.
Localisation services can make the necessary adjustments to your content with website localisation, and localised translation services across other mediums such as social media, mobile apps and marketing content.
Why Language Localisation is Important
The question of ‘Why is language localisation important?’ has many answers. Language localisation is essential for any business launching in new markets and languages because of the impact it will have on not just your sales, but the longevity of your international venture.
Localisation is an investment into your long term success.
It Caters Content to the Individual Needs of Your Target Market
Firstly, just because a country speaks a certain language does not mean that a one-size-fits-all approach can be taken. Language localisation takes into account different dialects across countries.
An example of this can be found in the Spanish language, one of the most widely spoken in the world. However, launching in Spain as opposed to somewhere in Latin America are two completely different notions. This is due to the diversity of the Spanish language – its grammar, slang and idiosyncrasies vary hugely depending on location. Localisation recognises this, so a localised translation would be needed in this circumstance.
Catering your content around the needs of your audience is vital in establishing a positive relationship with them, which we will visit later in this post.
It Shows Your Audience You Understand Them
By using language localisation services to adapt your content and brand messaging, you have the opportunity to show your audience that you understand them, and the idiosyncrasies of their language and culture. Proving to your target market that you understand them directly affects how they feel about your brand, and therefore, how likely they are to purchase from you.
It Helps You Build Relationships with Them
Ultimately, language localisation helps you to build a relationship with your target audience. This is paramount when thinking about internationalisation, because building an engaged and loyal relationship with your target audience is the thing that will determine the success of your international move.
Mistranslations and the incorrect use of words or phrases creates distance between you and your target audience, and the lack of consistency and understanding will only plant seeds of distrust in their minds. Something as simple as language localisation doesn’t seem crucial to customer relationships, but showing your target audience that you understand them and have made the effort to cater to their needs will create the first impression you want.
Advantages of Localisation
We’ve already covered why language localisation is an essential practice in terms of creating positive and authentic relationships with new customers. But it’s also a big part of determining long-term success for your internationalisation strategy.
It Builds Credibility in Your Target Market
Localisation establishes your brand as an authentic, credible player in your market. Showing that you have a deep understanding and knowledge of your target audience and market is vital if you are to be trusted by customers and taken seriously by competitors. And with 70% of international ventures failing due to cultural differences, localising your content and products has never been more crucial for business success.
People buy from companies that they trust, so investing in localisation services is directly building your credibility and boosting your chances of success.
It Leads to Sustainable Business Growth
Building positive relationships with your customers should be a priority for all businesses, because of the sustainable business growth it can produce. Not only is retaining customers 5 to 25 times cheaper than attracting new ones, but positive customer relationships increase sales, boost your brand’s reputation, and ultimately bring more success to your company. And language localisation builds the foundations upon which you can cultivate this relationship. Without it, you risk failing at the first hurdle and alienating your target market.
Language localisation helps your new launch land on its feet, setting you up for success and longevity in your new market. To find out about how we can help you localise anything, from your website to software, simply get in touch today with the Global Lingo team.