“Export or die”. Quite a harsh sentence, but is it just scaremongering or is it really true? Well, the phrase has passed the lips of a number of leading economic forecasters.
The point was laboured once more by David Cameron when he said “We are going to get out of this recession by trading our way out, by business deciding to employ people to create wealth, to go after new markets, to export”.
When starting export activities, there are a number of key factors to take into consideration. You should identify competitors in export markets, decide which markets to target, consider the logistics, contact distributors and last, but certainly by no means least, decide on a marketing and communications plan, part of which includes marketing translations.
Effective marketing to your potential customers overseas is one of the most crucial contributors to successful exporting. According to the European Commission funded ELAN survey of European businesses, those that are proactive in their use of foreign languages achieve an average 45% more export sales. Plainly speaking, if you’re selling to Spanish customers, you need to sell to them in Spanish. This means investing in high quality translated marketing material which communicates the right message about your products and services. This might involve specialist translation services such as transcreation (otherwise none as creative translation). This process adapts your source marketing content to the new market; subtly tweaking text to make it more relevant and compelling for international customers.
There are a number of ways to communicate with customers but, as we all know, websites are often the first port of call. So, if you are looking to export your product or service abroad, you may want to consider having your website professionally translated. If you want to test the waters with a number of new markets, creating multi-lingual microsites can be a cost-effective way of promoting your business to overseas customers. (More on website translation coming soon!)
There may also be brochures that need to be translated, contracts or financial documents. Perhaps an interpreter might be required to assist in meetings with new customers or distributors. Building a good relationship with a local translation provider is highly recommended as they can provide a wealth of advice and assistance as export activities begin.
For more information on how translation can help you to export more successfully, you can download our Guide to Using Language in International Business.
So let’s forget “Export or die” and turn it around: Export and Prosper!
Hagen, S., J. Foreman-Peck, S. Davila-Philippon (2006) ELAN: Effects on the European Economy of Shortages of Foreign Language Skills in Enterprise.
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