Localisation: A holistic approach to reaching overseas markets

If you are looking to export your products or services for the first time, you might be coming across the term localisation. Whereas translation only deals with the process of turning your content from one language to another, localisation takes a holistic approach and encompasses all areas of your business that will be affected by ‘going international’, including financial and technical aspects of your business, as well as your marketing collateral and your customer service.

Translating your brand

When it comes to marketing materials, a simple like for like translation is often not enough to really captivate your overseas audience. Remember all the effort that has gone into carefully crafting your English marketing copy? Eye-catching page titles, melodic slogans, enticing story telling – all this needs to be translated in a way that is engaging and meaningful for your overseas audience. We are big believers in working very closely with our customers’ marketing team, because translators need to really get under the skin of your brand, understand the key messaging and translate this in a way that strikes a cord with your potential overseas customers.

Creating a seamless customer journey

Beyond your translated website , app or packaging, how well have you adjusted the other touch points where potential and existing customers interact with your company? For example, are your images culturally relevant for the respective overseas audience? Is the right currency displayed in the right country? Can visitors interact on social media in their own language? If visitors sign up to your newsletter, do they receive it in their own language or only in English? And if they decide to buy, are your support emails translated? Can they speak to someone in customer services in their language? Creating that seamless customer journey is hugely important to ensure that potential customers don’t drop out of your sales pipeline and to retain your existing customers.

Calculating the cost and the return on investment

The main reason for expanding into new markets is to reach a larger pool of potential customers, increase turnover/revenue, grow the brand and ultimately increase profits. Companies entering the international arena for the first time often fall into the trap of underestimating the cost involved in localisation. The translation cost is only one piece of the puzzle. Think of the time your marketing team will spend on creating offline collateral for international customers. Think of your IT and web teams setting up new pages, payment gateways and landing pages. Think of your legal department checking local legislation regarding your products and services. Defining a clear localisation strategy which details all the parts of your business that will be involved in the localisation effort will help you get a clearer picture of the costs involved and the likely timescales for implementation. This, in turn, can help to stagger the localisation costs over time to avoid potential cash flow pinch points. And of course it gives you a much better idea of how many new customers you need to attract in order to get your investment back and make localisation profitable, or even viable, in the long run.

Finally, it is important to note that localisation is not a one off project, it’s an ongoing commitment to your overseas customers to provide an excellent service and to keep your content fresh and engaging. After the initial localisation costs an annual budget should be set aside to allow for this.

If you would like to find out more about localisation, translation, copywriting or transcreation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Image credit: Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash