Hello world – what you should know before you enter a foreign market

Last Updated May 27, 2019

Companies representing various industries expand their businesses abroad and in many cases they are very successful. The most important thing is to plan such expansion well and take into account all possible areas of activity.

It is not enough to offer a good product or service that can be in demand in a given country. In the era of such huge competition in each sector, you have to stand out. And this can be achieved primarily through a properly developed communication strategy.

Translate this for me – business translations

Preparation for expansion into foreign markets, i.e. “going global”, is a process based largely on translation. But mere translation is not enough. Everything you want to use in new markets has to be translated into the target language. Documents that you will have to translate must be the same as the original ones, which requires appropriate terminology to be used. A professional translation agency which prepares translations with the use of CAT tools will ensure their best possible quality. Such tools allow many translators to work together on the same project and use consistent terminology in translations for the same company. This is extremely important when it comes to translation of acts of law or legal texts such as contracts, etc. In such cases consistent terminology is indispensable.

Your task as an entrepreneur will involve selection of relevant documentation and other materials that should be adapted to operation in the new market. It is important that you prepare a specific communication strategy for each country in which you want to do business. This will help you realize what the translation agency with which you choose to cooperate should do. So do think what you want to be translated and why.

Marketing communication, i.e. content localization

Besides translation, going global requires also localization. What makes the two differ is that while the former accounts for the content only, the latter takes into account also the cultural context. Preparing to enter a new market, you need to be aware of a great number of differences. In the process of winning customers from a different cultural group you must adapt each message to the way they perceive the world. Such localization is of particular importance if the target population has traditions, customs and habits that are completely different than those prevailing in your country.

In extreme cases not only the content of your message needs to be changed, but also the name of the company. Such localization should have been done in Poland in the case of Osram – a German lighting manufacturer. In Polish the name of this company means to defecate, hence it sounds very vulgar and overly controversial.

You will not be able to make all these decisions alone if you do not know the realities of the target region. This is why international communication specialists and translators working in translation agencies are the ones who will make you aware of any pitfalls and will help you avoid them.

Remember that literal translation may spoil what works great in your country. Websites, leaflets, offer content and even graphics that you use in your marketing communication must be localized. It may seem labor-intensive, maybe even unnecessary, but cultural differences between your country and the target one can be huge, and it is really difficult to make a once spoilt image good, especially in a foreign country.

Translation and localization relates also to people

Doing business abroad may sometimes require employing foreign staff. In this case you will have to get used to a different type of relationships with employees. There are no two countries with the same culture, approach to work and management system. To be successful in the new role you have to do thorough research in this respect and make sure that you localize all materials regarding both recruitment and cooperation with a foreign team.


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