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How to localize for business growth

In the business world of today, the most basic assumption most people make when planning to expand beyond their current market is the assumption that everybody speaks English.

This is of course an assumption. And a very wrong one.

English is not understood and spoken throughout the world. It is a universal language and one of the most important languages to learn, but there are many other languages spoken and understood globally. Language localization and adaptation is only a small part of the localization strategy. But what exactly is localization and how can a business be localized for global growth?

Looking into Localization:

The first and most common misconception is that localization is the same as translation. This is not true. Take the example of some blunders that made headlines. KFC once famously had its marketing phrase “Finger-lickin good” translated directly into Chinese, but the literal interpretation the translation led to it becoming “Eat your fingers off”. Now who can forget such blunders?

Localization is different from translation as it accounts for the cultural, linguistic, as well as regional preferences of the population to which a business localizes into, while translation is only the changing from one language to another.

The decision to globalize can be a tough decision for many businesses. This is because globalization not only demands translation of language, but a complete overhaul of all business operations to suit the preferences and needs of the target audience. How a business chooses to localize itself for global growth depends on the business, how proactive it is and what strategies it adopts for localization.

Here are some of the steps that a business must adopt if it wants to achieve global growth through localization:

  1. Assess your business first

The first step is deep diving into your business to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. A deep assessment of your own firm is necessary as a means of self-reflection and understanding your position in the international market. For that assessment:

  • Perform a complete assessment through listing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your business
  • Prepare a market segmentation analysis on the target country to determine if your product “hits a chord” with the target audience and whether it will sell in that market
  • Size up the target market. How big is it? How much time will it take to localize into this market?
  1. Develop a Localization strategy:

Each market has its own economic, cultural and linguistic aspects and nuances that must be adapted by a business seeking to localize into that market. It is important to develop a localized strategy first to drive local success while remaining integrated with your corporate goals. To do that:

  • Define your short term, medium and long term goals. How many years are you planning to stay in the target country? What products will you introduce? Which are the most important languages for you to learn?
  • Set reasonable goals in order to measure your progress and a thorough cost/benefit analysis.
  • Complete business model and structure—will you set up a new company, a branch, an office?
  1. Set a team

Many global companies make the mistake of going headlong into globalization without properly making a team for that, while others try to launch with executives from the parent company into the target market. This is not only time consuming, it is also inefficient and slows the localization process down. It is important to set a team first. For that:

  • Set a team of interim executives with a deep domain expertise or outsource your interim leadership to organizations
  • Establish the financial infrastructure by planning on the budgeting and recruitment process
  • Begin the recruiting process for a permanent leadership team
  1. Speak the Language:

After the hiring of teams is done, the next step is to offer your content on your websites, social media and software in multiple languages so that the target audience can choose their language. This will not only give them exposure to your products, it will also make an impression on them about your company, while giving you a valuable insight into their preferences.

  1. Tailor your marketing efforts

To tailor your marketing efforts to suit the needs of the target audience, you have to tailor your promotional and brand messages to strike a chord with them. For this relationship building and promotion:

  • Communicate with your customers. Build relationships with them to get to know them better
  • Set expectations and deadlines that you can achieve
  • Establish a marketing team especially for understanding the preferences and choices of the target audience
  • Tailor your marketing efforts according to the surveys you conduct on social media etc.
  1. Choose a Partner

One of the most effective ways to achieve localization for your business is to choose a certified translation and localization agency that will not only speak your language, but will also know how to localize all your content seamlessly to suit the target audience. To assess which translation partner to choose:

  • Assess the certifications of the translation agencies
  • Take a stock of its linguists team
  • Look at the past projects that it has undertaken.

The Last word:

Localization can be a tough decision to undertake but with the right tools and a focused strategy, this task can open global gateways for a firm, exerting its impact on the global audience and making it stand out through the clutter of all companies that are expanding every day. It is important to make an impact on the global audience. It is equally important to know how many languages are there in the world that you can translate your business content into. Only by knowing these languages and the real way to localize will you be able to carve a niche for yourself in the global marketplace. You may visit Languex translation agency if you require fast, accurate and affordable translation services for more than 65 languages.


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