By Sebastian Bof
When introducing a product in a new country or region, you have one chance to get it right. If you miss the mark, your business may lose its opportunity to break into the market.
Language and culture have a major impact on people’s perceptions, motivations, and decision making as consumers. You need an organized, methodical strategy that accounts for those influences, using smart localization and language quality review.
Let’s look at some essential practices that will help you avoid mistakes in this critical moment of your expansion.
- Ensure your product is ready to go global
Before making a big investment, verify that your product has global sales potential and high growth potential in your new target market. It helps to understand the local market and what competitors you will face there. Otherwise, you may end up spending resources on a venture that has little chance of success.
The next key step is internationalization. Your product and any related content (such as websites or sales materials) need to follow guidelines that will allow them to be easily localized for markets in other languages. That will save you time, money, and trouble later on.
- Plan your localization strategy with care
A localization strategy is vital to understanding how to adapt your products, messages, and online content to new target markets. At a minimum, your strategy needs to consider:
- Your qualitative and quantitative goals for localization
- Your target markets and languages
- Analysis of your target market—both its potential and its challenges
- Local laws, tax rules, and any customs duties
Start planning for localization as early as possible—ideally during product development, although existing products can also be localized for new markets.
- Solidify your knowledge of the culture
From the beginning, your company needs to understand and respect the local culture. This principle should guide your marketing and advertising strategies, so you can build a strong connection with your target customers—and avoid missteps that could harm your product’s reception.
In particular, be sure to understand:
- The habits, preferences, and values of your local target customers
- Local laws and regulations that could affect your business
- Topics, words, images, or other cultural elements that may offend or disturb local audiences
Cultural knowledge is about more than just avoiding obvious translation errors. For example, be careful about idioms and wordplay in your marketing, as these are hard to translate into another language without compromising their meaning or power.
- Build strong partnerships
Don’t go it alone, especially if this is your first time launching a product on foreign terrain. The right strategic partnerships will provide you with shortcuts to success.
For successful localization, consider partnering with both a localization agency and a third-party language quality review service. In addition, you’ll also want to seek out:
- A local marketing agency
- A local logistics or sales partner
- Local distributors to sell your products
If your budget is large enough, you may want to hire in-country staff to handle legal issues, HR, and sales. Otherwise, local contractors can do the job (although they might not be as committed to your company’s success as permanent employees may be). Your localization agency may be able to help you find the right in-country personnel.
- Take care in setting your priorities
When you’re ready to begin localization, give careful thought to what you need to localize first. Decide on a long-term strategy and figure out your priorities, so you can allocate your resources effectively.
Your website should typically be at or near the top of your list of localization priorities. Consumers want online experiences in their native language, and your website is the first place they will go to learn about your product. Without a localized website, you may find it difficult (if not impossible) to get your product off the ground.
Beyond that, your approach to localization will vary with the product and your specific strategy. Consider all the different types of content you may need to meet your goals, from game and software content to sales and marketing materials and user documentation.
- Test before you launch
A thorough round of local testing can save you from big problems later, as it’s easier and cheaper to fix any issues before your product hits the market.
Testing is especially vital for apps, software, and websites, given the importance of the user experience. Use local native-language users to test all interfaces, while also verifying the product’s underlying functionality. In addition, make sure to test how your marketing materials are performing with local target consumers.
- Invest in third-party language quality review
No matter how skilled the translators, linguistic errors and cultural miscues can creep into their work. All localized content needs to undergo an expert review for language quality issues before your product goes live.
A third-party language quality management provider can help ensure your success by providing objective quality assessments and feedback on language quality. If you skip this step or fail to employ independent experts, you could run into costly slowdowns, flawed user experiences, and failure to connect with your target customers.
Ready, Set… Launch!
Success is never guaranteed when you enter a new market. However, you’ll have a better chance of reaching your goal if you follow the best practices outlined above. Quality control can make all the difference—so be sure to set aside adequate resources for the final steps in the process.
How can third-party language quality review help your product thrive in a new market? For more information, contact the language quality experts at Beyont.