Guest post from Mark Schwerin of LinguaLinx
You’re trying to talk to new customers in new territories. You’re trying to let them know that you understand their needs, their pain points, their frustrations, their wants…that you “get” them basically. So, you have to speak to them in their language. Otherwise, what you’re really saying is “we’ve done a lot of research on you (or our marketing company has) and we sort of care (if you buy from us), but not enough that we care about your language or culture.”
A good message? Yes, about as good as telling a vegetarian… “yeah, but it’s only chicken.”
Language Services Providers (LSPs) deal with clients from a wide range of industries and help them communicate in different languages and localize into other territories, communities and cultures. We know that you have to do more than just speak the language of the country you’re heading into.
We know it’s not easy, but it’s why LSPs work with clients to get them to see the big picture. In this article we’ll look at a few of the key reasons why it’s imperative that you speak the language of your new customers, the real nuanced language, and not just what Google Translate tells you to say.
Just Not Goo(d)gle Enough
Ironically, if you Google “Google Translate Fails” you’ll get a plethora of examples why Google Translate just doesn’t work when it comes to localizing your content into other languages. It’s incredibly impersonal and has no consideration of cultural sensitivities, nuances or slang.
For example, there’s the Bangkok dry cleaners that had their English sign say, “Drop your trousers here for best results.” Or the hotel elevator in Paris that stated, “Leave your values at the front desk.”
But Google Is Important – SEO
If your website is translated into the local language, with care, it’ll rank higher when it comes to SEO. This is vitally important, because not many people go past the first page or two of a Google search and if you’re not there, you’re not seen.
A Picture Says A Thousand Words
Don’t get your pictures wrong. People forget that taking your business into a new territory means stepping forward with your modern-day shop front – your website. Websites are becoming more visual all the time and that dynamic content also needs to be taken into consideration.
If you’re moving into a traditional Islamic market, like Dubai, you’re going to want to adapt any visual content you use to reflect their views. This might mean changing imagery, so that less skin is exposed and making sure other cultural norms – for that culture – are obeyed.
This Is Your Brand
Everything you do affects your brand, and your reputation. This new market could lead to other markets if you treat it right. You gain further credibility with your current customers when they see you’re expanding into new areas and languages.
Because You Have To – Regulations And Laws
Some countries require translated options in order to operate in them. In the province of Quebec in Canada, a bilingual country, The Charter of the French Language states that if you’re selling goods and services you must have a French option for consumers. There are also industries – particularly in medical and financial services – that require you to operate in the native language of the country you’re entering.
It’s Not Complicated
Translating your website into another language isn’t complicated, you just need to focus on what is exactly the right language. Is your target market Spanish? Ok, but which of the eight types of Spanish do they speak? It just requires a little research. And let’s face it, if you’re investing time and resource into cracking a new market, you’ve probably done that research.
Have any questions, or need help translating your website? Give us a shout, we’d love to talk.