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INFORMATION


Translating your business into overseas markets


When engaging with new markets in the EU and beyond, effective communication is key, and it’s not enough to simply translate your marketing material into your chosen language. Helen Provart (pictured), managing director of Whaley Bridge-based translation services company Peak Translations, suggests six things to consider in market entry planning.


1. Market demand Is the size of territory large enough to justify your market entry cost? Is your type of product in demand, or do you need to sell the concept as much as the product? If so, that time lag needs to be factored into your sales projections. Consider too what funding might be available or whether there are favourable trade deals in place with that country.


2. Translating your product or service to other markets Is your product or service aimed at the same market across borders? If not, how might this affect your marketing? Take the example of horse feed. Purchasers in the UK may well be riding schools but in the US, horse riding is as much a working way of life as it is a leisure


activity. This impacts not only messaging and imagery but, at a more practical level, volume sizes – which in turn impacts the size of bags and shipping.


3. Translating your online presence Alongside direct engagement through exhibitions or agents and distributors, it’s likely you’ll need an online presence. It may not be necessary, in the early stages of market entry at least, to translate your entire website. Translating one page only has two key benefits. Firstly, it keeps costs to a minimum while you assess market potential. Secondly, and unlike using


Google Translate, the page is permanent. So, providing your keywords are included in the right parts of your pages your website


will be crawled by search engines and will appear in enquirers’ search results.


4. Impact of your target language on marketing material The wealth and scale of markets in Asia and the Middle East make them attractive, but additional attention is needed when translating into languages so structurally different to English. Arabic in particular, which reads


right to left, impacts websites and typesetting across entire documents.


5. Practicalities of fulfilling sales While the same consumer rights may apply across the EU, have you factored in different buyer behaviour? The German market, for example, returns more goods


bought online than any other EU market. UK suppliers therefore need to factor this into their stock, finances and logistics.


6. Translating your brand name Some letters in the modern English alphabet can be difficult to pronounce. Product names beginning with the letter ‘c’ can cause confusion in the Arabic language where they are pronounced either as a ‘s’ or ‘k’. In French, there is no ‘th’ sound and ‘v’ is pronounced as ‘b’ in Spanish. Finally, don’t forget to research


whether your product name has any negative connotations in your target language. Clairol’s German launch of its Mist Stick hair curler didn’t take into account that “mist” in German happens to be slang for manure…


business network December 2020/January 2021 95


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