Expanding a business to an international market is a big challenge for any business, requiring lots of preparation and often intervention. Besides adapting your business practices to fit a local market, you also have to worry about your services being accessible and understandable to local consumers. Because software is a major component of many businesses and services, it is extremely important to get its translation and localisation right. You can tackle this challenge independently or get a helping hand from a qualified localisation provider such as Global Lingo. Today, we will be going over major points to keep in mind as you localise your services.
- If possible, take precautions
If you are developing your software knowing or expecting to go global, you can take several steps that will significantly simplify the translation process. For instance, you can write strings and variables in your code that will easily adjust to text translation, as opposed to those that will only create more difficulties. This also applies to the initial content present in the software. A good example of this is text inside images, which cannot be modified without finding the original image and overlaying translated text.
- Consider cultural and product peculiarities
One of the biggest mistakes made by companies rapidly expanding to other regions is failing to consider the cultural standards and traditions of the region. For example, casual language may be broadly appealing to Western countries, but the humor and relatability of the text will fall flat in countries where clients are treated more formally or humor is frowned upon in commercial dealings. To top off that point, you may run into expressions and communication techniques that are standard in your locality, but completely unacceptable in other countries, and vice versa.
- Hire a human
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are making great strides in many industries, including translation, but they are not at the level yet where they make a viable replacement to qualified human translators knowledgeable in the peculiarities and styles of several languages. As long as you hire a competent translator, you can usually spare yourself potential mistakes and embarrassment caused by poor translation practices. As an bonus to this point, we would also recommend making sure that your translator is well qualified for the task, as a low-level specialist may cause more problems than they solve.
- Expand your reach
While there are significant challenges to overcome when localising your business in new territories, there are also new opportunities. When you enter a new market, your business is almost a blank slate, so you can expand your outreach to new client groups and demographics that you had the chance to win in your early days. It can also serve as a perfect opportunity to expand to new platforms, such as Android/iOS, if your software was not previously available there.
- Do not shy away from client feedback
There is nothing wrong with making mistakes and miscalculations, and translation is no exception. If your clients find issues with the localisation performed, you should listen to their feedback, as it can be many times more useful than that provided by biased workers or out-of-touch reviewers.