5 top tips of language-related issues that you might want to think about before you decide on a potential new market.
UK companies are set to enjoy a boost in exporting opportunities thanks to the growth of new, emerging markets.
This is according to a recent HSBC Global Connections Report, which names Vietnam, Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, Mexico and Poland as rapid growth markets, expected to play a significant role in an increase in the volume of worldwide trade.
Other points worth noting from the report include:
- World trade growth is forecast to rise to approximately 5% in 2013 and continue to pick up to about 6-7% in 2014-16
- The UK’s export growth to China from 2013-2015 is forecast at 9.9%
- The UK will feel the benefit of emerging market development and experience a boost in trade activity, in particular with China
If the predictions prove to be true, now could be an ideal time for UK businesses to look to new markets.
But what should companies do next if they intend to make the most of these apparent opportunities? Obviously there is a lot to think about when it comes to exporting, particularly when considering emerging markets in which there are bound to be language barriers to overcome.
So to get you started we’ve developed five top tips of language-related issues that you might want to think about before you decide on a potential new market.
1. Language differences
It may sound obvious but if people speak a different language then it is highly likely that your company will need to speak a different language too! You are likely to need the assistance of translators and are advised to translate all of your marketing and communication materials, including your website. You should also bear in mind that the name of your product or company might not have the same appeal in another language – or could even, in some cases, cause offence!
2. The culture
As well as being aware of language differences you should also study the culture of any potential new market. Cultural issues can play a huge role in whether your product will be a success or not. You might find that you need to adapt your product or service to suit your new target customers.
3. Differences in taste
Even once you have got the language right and overcome any cultural issues, you might want to consider things such as the way your product looks or how it is delivered. Customers in some countries may have different preferences to those in others. This might mean adapting your packaging, labelling, pack sizes, measures, colours, logos and images to appeal to your new potential customers.
4. Website and marketing localisation
Before starting to sell in another market it is important that you are fully set up to deal with incoming orders from new overseas customers. This includes internationalising your website accordingly. This does not just mean website translation, but the inclusion of a currency converter, shipping information and anything else that will make the ordering process clear for overseas clients. Don’t forget that some customers might wish to contact you for further information – and might expect to receive feedback in their own language – so it is important to have translation and interpretation plans in place, tailored to suit the market you choose.
5. The laws and requirements
Different countries have differing rules when it comes to customs requirements and legal issues. It is therefore vital to do your research properly before attempting to sell to customers in another country. Issues to consider include health and safety standards, labelling laws, pricing issues, insurance, customs and many others. Unless you are able to obtain these documents in English it might be well worth using a translator to ensure you fully understand all of the country’s requirements. The last thing you want is for your company to get in trouble as soon as it attempts trading!
Of course these are only a few of the many issues you will need to consider. There is much more to exporting than this, and you are advised to seek the help of experts before you decide on a new target market. UK Trade & Investment offers a great deal of advice for first-time exporters or those looking to export to new markets.
At Comtec we support businesses with exporting by providing a full business language translation service, from start to finish. Services include translating research reports, website translation, software localisation, transcreation, marketing translation, website internationalisation and international SEO research. Our on-demand, telephone interpreting service, Comtec TALK, provides the immediate support of an interpreter on the phone, ideal for times when you need to translate an international enquiry and send a timely response.