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  • Writer's pictureMaria Isola Traduzioni

The Benefits of Localisation: How to Overcome Language and Cultural Barriers for Market Expansion

Thinking of targeting foreign markets?

If you are thinking of targeting foreign markets, it is a good idea to "translate" your site into at least one of the most widely spoken foreign languages. Consider how your sales would increase if you offered your products or services in other countries. Think about how many tourists go to your country and might buy your products or visit your establishment. However, getting in tune with your audience requires more than a simple translation.

If you want to explore new markets and create global advertising campaigns, localisation is your gateway to reaching a wider audience.

What is localisation?

At the very core of localisation lies the fact that to engage with your audience, a simple translation is not enough.

"Translation" is the process of rendering a text into another language while retaining the same meaning. "Localisation" is a more complex process and takes into account cultural components that lie beyond the text and the linguistic aspects that influence how content is perceived, when adapting a product or service to another country or region. Localisation can also be used when cultural differences also exist between countries that speak the same language, as in the case of American English and British English. Some examples in this regard are: replacing z's with s's for British English, as well as idioms, and details such as currency, local holidays, etc.

Localisation involves adapting content to a specific market, according to the language, culture and consumption habits of the target audience, so that your message sounds more native and can resonate in that particular market. To achieve this, you must first get to know the foreign audience in question and establish what content is most relevant to them, especially if you are targeting niche markets. So it is not just a matter of translating the text into the language of the local audience but it entails creating hyper-targeted content.

Why it is important to localise website content and advertising campaigns

In today's ever-expanding digital marketing landscape, localisation is a powerful tool for globalisation. Localisation is an integral part of the globalisation process. Globalisation is a solid foundation for business expansion, especially when offering the same products and services in several markets.

According to Belgian writer Georges Simenon, 'localisation is the most personal form of customer relationship.'

Common mistakes to avoid: Why you should rely on a professional

'A major difficulty in translation is that a word in one language seldom has a precise equivalent in another one.' — Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher

When slogans and messages are simply translated, rather than adapted to the target audience, there is a risk of messing everything up.

A notorious example of this is the "Got Milk?" campaign launched in 1993 by the California Milk Advisory Board to combat declining milk sales. It was a great success and one of the most popular campaigns, so much so that the campaign was extended to Mexico. However, the first Spanish version of the slogan, later duly corrected, was an epic fail as the literal translation "¿tienes leche?" was interpreted by locals as: "Are you lactating?"

Therefore, avoid doing it yourself, or having your content translated by unqualified acquaintances or employees who simply 'know foreign languages' or, even worse, using machine translation tools. Even if plenty of tools that offer free or cheap translations are available on the Internet, these are nonetheless literal translations that leave a lot to be desired compared to those done by a professional who is able to grasp linguistic and cultural nuances and interpret the true meaning of the message. In fact, making linguistic mistakes could put you at a disadvantage against your competitors and could even harm your reputation!

Are you thinking of expanding your business internationally and would like to learn more about how my services can help you achieve your goal? Contact me!


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