3 Myths About Expanding Your Business Internationally

 In Business Translation, Localization, Translation


Expanding your business internationally is an exciting venture that takes time, research, and strategic implementation. Unfortunately, many companies make incorrect assumptions about expanding, which can be financially detrimental to their bottom line.

Here are 3 common myths about expanding internationally and what you can do to avoid them.

Myth #1 – What got us here will get us there.

By the time an American company makes the decision to expand into a foreign market (or multiple), its brand has fully formed into a message and meaning that paved the way to success among U.S. consumers. Your brand has an undeniable identity that includes your mission statement, core values, and how your product or service differentiates from your competitors.

However, few companies take the time to adapt their brand strategy to the new market based on its new consumers, their culture, their needs, and their environment. This process is called localization.

What is localization?

Localization is the process of adapting a product, service, or brand to serve a specific culture, language, and environment.

There are many examples of how companies failed to localize their brand and paid for it by losing consumers and ultimately, revenue.

This situation can be easily avoided by partnering with an experienced language services provider (LSP) early-on in the localization process.

Myth #2 – My bilingual employees can do our translation.

It can be tempting to use your bilingual employees or partners to serve your translation needs—it will save you money, right?

WRONG. Unfortunately, this misconception is common. Your bilingual employee may have grown up using the target language or studied it in a few courses in school—but that is far from being an expert.

The difference between utilizing bilingual employees versus trained language professionals is the same as using a med student to operate on your knee versus a licensed orthopedic surgeon.

Technical terms can be difficult to translate for the everyday speaker of the language. And, if they are not familiar with the cultural context of the subject, a simple mistake can change the desired message completely.

Do not risk the financial and legal ramifications of using your bilingual employees for your business translations. Always partner with an LSP that uses vetted, educated and experienced translators who are native to the country of the target language.

Myth #3 – Free translation engines produce “good enough” results.

If you have ever used a free translation engine for your business, like Google Translate, you are not alone. Many large companies have made this mistake. Every day it seems like translation technology advances more and more; but make no mistake. Free translation engines will NEVER replace trained and educated language professionals.

Here is an example of a free translation engine fail when this German phrase was translated into English:

wrong translation from free translation engine

English “translation”:

wrong translation from free translation engine

Bottom line, free translation engines cannot be trusted to translate important company collateral accurately. These engines work purely based on statistical methods of replacing each separate word with the most likely equivalent without regard for syntax or context.

Educated language professionals are trained to translate messages, rather than individual words, so that they will have the same impact on the target audience as their original version. They have the cultural knowledge and educational training needed to accurately convey messages for a new market.

Dispelling Myths

Do not fall for these common myths when expanding your business internationally. Your reputation, revenue, and brand depend on it.

Partner with an LSP that has experience in localization for businesses expanding to other countries. They will partner with you every step of the way and deliver accurate translations for all your international expansion needs.

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