Our third and final article in this series of articles about the importance of languages in the internationalization of a company is not an interview, but our own view about the role of translation and localization in this process.
In this blog you have read articles about website localization, software localization, the localization process, localization of keywords. Translation and localization are very important tasks both on the marketing and manufacturing side of a company. In our first article, Adriana Bollón, already named a few of them, but now we will deal with them in more detail.
The most important translation decision for a company that opens a branch in a target country is regarding the company name, the brand name or even the tagline. Sometimes it will be strong and universal enough to work in any country, but on other occasions it may have to be changed, if it has a negative or sexual connotation in the target country or language. Recently we heard of a marketing and communication company that wanted to open an office in Morocco.
This company was managed by women only, and its company name was very similar to the most famous brothel in Morocco. So, they had to change it in order to avoid being related to that local business.
When opening a business in a new country, you will have to deal with the local and/or national administrations. They will probably ask you to provide with personal and company certifications in the target language. For this you will need sworn translations, as these translations will have the same legal value as your originals in your mother tongue.
You will sign contracts with distributors, suppliers, sales agents and, of course, also with the staff you hire. These contracts will have to be in the language of the people who need to sign them, so that they understand each and every detail of the business relationship you establish with them. Most of these contracts will also have to be presented at the local administration, so you will have to provide them in the target language.
Your branch in the target country will follow the same rules and procedures as your headquarters’. Therefore, you need to provide your staff in the target country with the information in their language. However, culture and local regulations also play an important role. For example, you may need to adapt customer service hours to working days (in many Arabic countries, Friday is a holiday, while Sunday is a working day). Information about company policy, values, procedures and use of certain tools or machinery will also have to be in the language of your employees, so that they perform their work in the most efficient way.
As explained in Part 1, sometimes a product needs to be adapted. Not only the product you are selling in that country, but also the tools used by your staff. If you use your own ERP system, for example, it may be wise to localize it for your new office in the target country, so that the staff can do their job more efficiently.
If you are selling the products, you may need to adapt the packaging, the ingredients (as explained in our article Localization and gastronomy), or even the product name. We all know about the Mitsubishi Pajero, which was lately changed to Mitsubishi Montero.
As with your brand or company name, make sure that your product name does not have any negative or sexual connotation in the target country.
Apart from the product itself, you will have to translate the documents that go with that product. It is common sense, if you want your customers to use your products, you need to make sure they know how to use them, what the main troubleshooting tips are or what damages the warranty covers. Instruction manuals, user guides and warranty statements are some of the most frequently translated product documentation.
Other product collaterals that are useful to offer in the target language are related to marketing. Your website, catalogues, presentations will have a much stronger effect in the target language. As explained in previous articles, they will also improve your branding, your client engagement and, in the case of a website, your SEO ranking. Of course, this does not mean you have to translate absolutely everything; it is just a matter of research and going step by step.
We hope these three articles will help you to understand the importance of languages and localization in the internationalization process of a company. If you need an internationalization consultant, you can contact Cerindetec S.L.; if you need an interpreter for your business meetings or if part of your staff will relocate during some months in the target country to start up the new company and you want to give them a specific language course, contact Málaga International Idiomas. And if you want to translate and localize your company, product and marketing documentation, do not hesitate to contact Jensen Localization! We will also be happy to reply to any questions you may have about translation and localization.