One of my lovely coworkers sent me an article, published by Seattle Business Magazine, which highlights one of the most important reasons for translation and localization: the increasing rate at which companies are doing international business. According to the article, the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area has been named by the International Trade Administration as the sixth largest exporter in the United States.
Why does this matter to us? Because we help companies prepare their documents, manuals, communications and marketing materials for foreign markets. There are many important steps to take before the translation process even begins!
If you’ve been thinking about expanding your business internationally, consider the following:
The importance of research can’t be emphasized enough. Any market research that has been done in the U.S. needs to be duplicated for the countries in which you plan to sell your goods and services. Research will ensure that your exports are well received and not offensive to your target market. With the proper research, you may avoid offending or confusing your target market like these companies.
When exporting merchandise, it’s also important to research restrictions and requirements for product labeling. Do you need the care labels translated into multiple languages? Which parts of the packaging must be translated? Do your measurements need to be converted to the metric system? Doing all this research beforehand will reduce the number of road bumps you may encounter when entering new markets.
And most importantly: be available for questions. When your products and materials have been sent to translation, your involvement is crucial. What we normally ask our clients is simply to stay close to emails. Translators often work against tight deadlines, and if any questions about terminology or context come up, having you on hand to answer questions is extremely important. Together with a project manager, you can help prevent errors early on in the process, making a final product of the highest quality.