Competition among manufacturers in the global marketplace is fierce. To be successful, manufacturers must gain the trust of international customers; and support a wide variety of people who are involved in getting their products to market. The success of a global manufacturer will depend in part on its ability to communicate effectively with all of these people in their own language.
Communicating with Customers
Customers are at the end of a manufacturer’s efforts, but they’re critical. If customers don’t buy a product, it doesn’t matter how great it is. If customers can’t understand the language used by the manufacturer to describe the product (and how to use it), the odds are low that they will make a purchase. Manufacturers must address several issues in relation to communicating with customers.
Marketing and Sales
Marketing and sales are where transcreation services are critically important. Transcreation describes a translation-style process that focuses on understanding the culture of a country and translating brands in a way that maintain the intent, style and meaning of marketing materials while tailoring it to a new audience.
Transcreation can make an important difference to a company’s bottom line. For example, Mitsubishi Motors makes a sports utility vehicle called the Pajeros. It was named after a wild cat known as the Leopardus pajeros, or the Pampas Cat. Sales of the car went well in many countries, but failed to make one sale when they introduced the car in Spain. The problem? In Spanish, the word Pajeros refers to something not mentioned in polite company. Mitsubishi changed the name to Montero and vehicle sales in Spain rose to normal levels.
McDonald’s changed one of its taglines in the Chinese market. They went from “I’m loving it” to “I just like it.” Why? In Chinese culture, it’s offensive to use the word love in public.
Support and Service
Support documents such as user manuals and service documents, such as parts manuals, are also critical for creating satisfied customers. For example, many English-speaking people believe that user manuals, even those written by English-speaking writers, make no sense. It’s obvious, then, that this material needs to be translated very carefully. In fact, translation that improves content, not just recreates it, is the gold standard.
An excellent example of the need for accurate translation comes from Siemens, a global organization providing electronics and electrical engineering products for power generation and transmission. The challenge Siemens faces in terms of communicating to people in countries all over the world is daunting.
The company developed an Industry Online Support website that allows them to provide information and advice at any time of the day or night for their customers. Not only does this capability differentiate them from others in their marketplace, but it also helps Siemens benefit from users around the globe who contribute to their knowledge base.
Communicating with Global Manufacturing Operations
If a manufacturing firm has manufacturing operations in other countries, it’s critical that those operations run smoothly and produce the product with the same level of quality as when it is produced in the home country.
Accurate translations are needed for health and safety policies, regulations, training materials, operating instructions, operating reports and much more.
Communicating with Suppliers and Vendors
A global manufacturing firm will undoubtedly have suppliers and vendors in foreign countries. Those relationships are established and managed with a variety of documents that have legal implications. Translation requirements in this sector include supplier agreements, rental or lease agreements and support documentation.
Really, It’s Not Just Communication
The challenge faced by global manufacturers isn’t just about plain talk – it's about developing content that is clear and unambiguous in all languages. Longevity requires establishing strong long-term relationships. Manufacturers can use transcreation, translation, localization and cultural sensitivity to help them meet that goal.