Are You Considering the Following When Mitigating Potential Marketing Translation Errors?

Are You Considering the Following When Mitigating Potential Marketing Translation Errors?

The Internet is awash with marketing translation errors that range from cringe worthy to downright unbelievable. The thing is, it’s not only sticklers for grammar or linguistic experts who notice these gaffes, but more importantly, potential customers and investors of the offending brand too. What’s even more mind-boggling is the fact that these blunders are entirely avoidable. But once you’ve put your proverbial foot into your proverbial mouth (and hopefully, fired your marketing team), doing damage control is often a case of too little, too late. While marketing translation errors can be amusing (for your competitors at least), the repercussions of an offended, or confused, target market can end up as the downfall of your entire marketing strategy.

No brand is immune to the ramifications of marketing translation errors.

Global finance group HSBC found out just how costly these mistakes can be when their slogan, “Assume Nothing”, translated into “Do Nothing”, reports Business News Daily. In what was possibly one of the most expensive marketing translation errors in modern history, the group had to fork out over $10 million dollars in order to revamp their international marketing strategy. (Compare that to the cost of using an expert localization company from the get go.) Enough said.

Here’s what you need to be cognizant of:

Resist the urge to use a free online translation tool or hire someone who happens to speak the language.

Online translation tools are handy, to a point. They’re lifesavers when you’re trying to navigate the streets of the Vatican City, or figure out whether your Italian breakfast cereal contains gluten, but they’re far from suitable when tailoring your marketing message to a new market. That said, it’s just as unwise to pander off your translations to someone who speaks the language. Fluency does not equal linguistic expertise – far from it in fact. (For example, I know many fluent English speakers who’d fail grade-school spelling bees.) There’s no guarantee that a novice’s translations will be accurate, or that they’d be aware of crucial cultural differences or market differentiators.  

Don’t underestimate the importance of a translation memory.

Before you seek the guidance of a localization agency, get your ducks in a row in the form of a translation memory (essentially a database of past translations). The quality of your translations are only as good as the source material you provide your LSP, which means that an exhaustive, consistent translation memory goes a long way in safeguarding against marketing translation errors. Without a depository of past translations, even seemingly innocuous variations in style, terminology or tone can throw out your marketing message – in its entirety.

Impatient corner cutting is a marketing translation error waiting to happen.

Accurate translation is only possible when using the services of an expert LSP (localization service provider). This process involves numerous considerations and careful attention; if you opt for a rush-job by the cheapest vendor you can find, you’re only asking for trouble. Quality translation involves so much more than merely translating one language into another, requiring the expertise of a localization agency that’s equipped with in-depth insight and a familiarity with your target market. Ensuring that your marketing assets (your logo, copy, source code and images) are accurately translated and culturally contextual, is one of the most important investments you’ll ever make, which means that allowing adequate time for the project should be par for the course.

Download our case study to learn how we worked with leading weather information provider AccuWeather, to localize their entire offering, resulting in content that’s clear and coherent in over 100 languages and dialects.

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4 Competitor Analysis Essentials for Product Expansion

4 Competitor Analysis Essentials for Product Expansion

Breaking into a new market can be one of the most intimidating phases in the lifecycle of any business. The reality of today’s crowded marketplaces is that competition is inevitable in any industry, and the more entrenched your competitors are in their respective market spaces, the harder you’ll need to work to ensure you make your mark where and how you want to. But just like moving into a house in a new neighborhood, there are some important preparatory steps you need to consider first – getting to know the area and meeting the neighbors goes a long way towards establishing how good a fit you’ll be for the neighborhood, and vice versa. In this blog, we’ll look at four essential components of a competitor analysis for product expansion.

1. Know your competitors, and how successful they are.

First and foremost, you need to know who your competitors are and what they’re doing to retain their customers. It’s important to consider both primary and secondary competitors to get as broad a view of the market as possible, so make sure your analysis is thorough. Secondly, you need to know how successful your competition is, so your competitor analysis should include each competitor’s market share, how they service this market, and what they’re doing to keep customers loyal to their product or service.

2. Understand your competitors’ Unique Sales Propositions (USPs).

Key to making a successful impact in a new market is providing something that your competition doesn’t – or better yet, can’t. Of course, this won’t be possible unless you know what exactly it is that your competitors are selling. To give yourself the best possible footing in a new market, your competitor analysis should include a summary of your competitors’ Unique Sales Propositions. Understanding what is unique about your competitors is invaluable for identifying your own USP, and with this information at hand, it’s exponentially easier to craft a sales proposal that is unique enough to plug a gap in the market you’re entering and secure customer buy-in.

3. Investigate your competitors’ marketing and pricing strategies.

When considering a new market or repositioning a product, it’s vital that you make the right entrance in terms of marketing strategy and price point. What are your competitors doing to market their product or service? Who are they targeting? Which channels are they communicating through, and what is the tone and style of their communication? Knowing how to position yourself relative to your competition can make a huge difference to how your audience perceives you, so make sure you’re offering something they don’t – whether it’s a lower price point, a more specialized marketing strategy or just a fresh way of communicating with your customers. A strong competitor analysis done right is a guaranteed way to achieve this.

4. Always perform a comprehensive SWOT analysis.

One of the most valuable tools for any business expanding into unfamiliar territory is a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis, which takes into account the most important factors likely to affect your business in the new market you’re entering. Identifying your own strengths and weaknesses is beneficial at any stage, but doing a SWOT analysis of your competitors gives you a far more holistic idea of the opportunities and threats facing your organization in the chosen market space. A competitor’s weakness might mean an opportunity for you, so the more in-depth you’re willing to go with your competitor analysis, the more valuable your insights will be. As the old saying goes, knowledge is power.

For more information on how Rubric’s localization services can help your organization make the best possible entrance into new markets, feel free to contact us and speak to us directly about the services we offer.

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How Rubric’s translation and localization service helped AccuWeather localize in over 100 languages.

How Rubric’s translation and localization service helped AccuWeather localize in over 100 languages.

Translation and localization are all about improving people’s lives. That may sound like a sweeping statement, but when you get down to the crux of the matter, localization is about tailoring your content, whether it’s a mobile app, technical manual or soundtrack to the end user. AccuWeather, the world’s leading provider of weather information, has a mission that’s very much like ours: to serve the end user with the best possible experience.

If you’re anything like me, you probably take the fact that you can get live weather information via your mobile or laptop whenever you want it for granted. But for those living in far-flung corners of the globe, access to this vital data hasn’t always been as easy as opening an app. AccuWeather wanted to make it just as easy for someone in San Jose to access accurate weather reports as it is for someone in Sacramento. And that’s where we came in.

AccuWeather’s requirements were twofold: they needed to localize their offering and gain an in-depth understanding of their users’ preferences and needs.

To do this, our translators and developers worked alongside their project managers to customize and localize their digital assets. This entailed the translation and localization of source code, copy and interfaces to ensure that they were built accurately across different markets, consisting of over 100 languages and dialects. Also known as hyper-localization, our goal was to help AccuWeather tailor real-time weather data to the user’s device, location, language and dialect.

Cultural preferences and the unique needs of users dictated how we approached the translation and localization of raw data.

It’s not just the weather that differs by region, but the way we describe it too. In order for AccuWeather to provide every single user with detailed forecasts, it was crucial that all copy was crystal-clear, and UX-friendly. Achieving this required an in-depth understanding of the unique ways a culture uses language to understand the weather, while bearing in mind that the wording of this had to easily display on any screen – mobile or PC. For example, English speaking users easily understand the phrase “chance for a flurry”. Translate this into Polish, and you get “Prawdopodobieństwo lekkich opadów śniegu” – a massive 40 characters compared to 17, rendering the phrase too long for mobile display and convenient consumption.

Another factor that required careful consideration when localizing AccuWeather’s digital assets is that fact that there’s not always an equivalent term or phrase for its English counterpart.

This is where cultural context plays a massive role in the translation and localization process. For example, when it comes to an affinity for describing snow, the Eskimo languages Inuit and Yupik (as well as their various dialects) have it down to a fine art; they have over a dozen terms to describe snow. Some mean powdery snow, some mean wet snow, and others mean heavy snow. It’s these tiny but oh-so-important details that can complicate translation and localization efforts for many a business if they’re not addressed with in-depth and extensive knowledge of the cultural context at hand.

Transforming weather data into actionable information requires a myriad of considerations and importantly, the combination of skills and expertise.

AccuWeather specialize in weather, while we specialize in localization. By partnering with them, we were able to combine our relative areas of expertise and achieve their goal of providing accurate weather information on demand to all. This ongoing collaboration will see even more innovation to come, as we continue to work together to personalize the weather in the most effective and impactful way possible.

Read more about our partnership with AccuWeather by downloading our case study here.

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Marketing Messaging for a Global Audience on Social Media: A How-to Guide, Part II

Marketing Messaging for a Global Audience on Social Media: A How-to Guide, Part II

In Part I of this blog, we discussed how to go about setting up a social media strategy for an international audience. Today we’ll discuss the three most often-neglected considerations of tailoring your marketing messaging to all segments of your audience.

The appeal of social media is in part, due to the fact that it relays information instantly – yet this has been the downfall of many a brand.

Posting on the fly can be brand suicide, especially if you’re not familiar with your audience. Avoiding this requires three things: the expertise of a localization agency, a strategic social schedule, and the constant monitoring of all of your social media assets. Offensive content – inadvertent or not – spreads like wildfire on social media; having these safeguards in place can protect you from the fallout.

Don’t use social media for social media’s sake.

The point of using social media as a loudspeaker for your marketing messaging is to grow brand awareness, and encourage purchasing behavior. It allows you to monitor and glean information from social activity, amplify your reach and, if executed strategically, lead your followers to the next step in the buyer’s journey. To achieve  this, all of your accounts and social feeds need to act as a stepping stone to another online touchpoint – this could be a blog, or a language-specific page on your website. Essentially, this needs to be a place where a visitor can easily find the information they’re looking for, or learn more about your offering in a way that’s as easy as possible for them to understand. To optimize the reach of your social media campaigns, they need to be integrated into your overall global marketing messaging strategy.

Consider making use of a social media manager for each market’s feed.

Depending on the scope of your online marketing messaging strategy, you might want to designate the handling of your social accounts to one, or several, dedicated social media managers. If you’re going to be live tweeting from an event, for example, you’ll need to assign this task to someone who’s au fait with what’s happening ‘on the ground’ so to speak. Because your international social media strategy contains many diverse and dispersed audiences, this cannot be fully automated, and to make sure that you’re only posting content relevant to each particular segment of your audience, it has to be curated by someone with a familiarity of the culture and market at hand. In addition, social media platforms are constantly updating their features and capabilities, and keeping abreast of these can be a full time job in itself.

Work with a localization agency to familiarize yourself with cultural context, sensitivities and nuance.

You know the ins and outs of marketing. A localization service provider knows the ins and outs of your target market. Combine this expertise and you’ve got yourself a potent social media marketing messaging strategy. In an addition, an LSP will be able to advise you as to how your targeted audiences use social media, how they interact with brands online as well as potential red flags or pitfalls to be wary of. We’ve written time and time again about the crucial nature of taking not just your audience’s culture, but the context thereof into account. Make sure you have the capability to do so by seeking the guidance of a localization professional.

We offer localization, globalization and translation services and consulting to ensure that whatever the medium, your marketing messaging resonates. Find out more about how we approach global messaging here.

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Marketing Messaging for a Global Audience on Social Media: A How-to Guide, Part I

Marketing Messaging for a Global Audience on Social Media: A How-to Guide, Part I

If there’s a preferred platform for getting your marketing messaging across, social media is where it’s at. Millions of users around the world take to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Weibo and SnapChat to connect with friends and brands. For marketers, the allure of social media is two-fold: it offers instant access to a massive audience, and it requires far less capital than traditional media, like a TV advert for example. That said, if you think that tweeting from the same account in multiple languages is the best way to approach your international social media marketing messaging, think again. When it comes to using social media as an integral part of your international marketing strategy, things get slightly more complicated.

Optimizing your social media marketing messaging for a global audience is essential, and getting this right relies on being cognizant of several factors. Here’s what you need to know from the get-go:

Your social media marketing messaging has to be audience-specific.

When it comes to social media marketing messaging, the first commandment of localization: ‘one size does not fit all’ applies too. You wouldn’t dream of airing a German radio ad in a Spanish-speaking country, so why would you post the same content for an international audience? Merely changing one language to another will also not suffice. In the same vein, tweeting about a product launch in Japan won’t resonate with your customers in Jakarta.

Begin building your social media strategy by identifying and understanding the various segments of your target audience.

Your customer base consists of human beings who’re citizens of the world, but that’s where the similarities end. Always remember that your customers dictate (almost) everything about how you construct your marketing messaging, from the time of posting and use of images, to the tone of voice and channel of preference. To build an effective social media strategy, you need to unearth all of the unique characteristics of the various segments of your audience, and then incorporate these into an actionable strategy. Once you’ve pinpointed these, you’ll have a solid foundation from which to build the rest of your social media strategy off of.

Identify the preferred social media networks of each portion of your audience.

Social network behemoths Facebook and Twitter aside, there is a proliferation of country-specific social media platforms that are often ignored by US marketers – despite the fact that these channels boast millions of loyal users. If you want your marketing messaging to be heard, you need to insure that you’re in the same place your audience is. Their preferred platforms are largely determined by their location, and to a lesser degree their demographics. For example, because Facebook and Twitter are banned in China, social media users take to Weibo (a Twitter-esque equivalent) and Qzone. Viadeo, similar to LinkedIn, is a professional networking site that originally launched in France. Today, it has more than 65 million users from Asia, the Americas, Africa and Europe. The list of social networking sites goes on and on; a good way to identify which platform to use is by seeking the advice of a localization consultancy with extensive experience in your particular target market.

Get to know the localization capabilities of each platform.

Before you begin posting, familiarizing yourself with the targeting features of your chosen channels is a must. Facebook, for example, boasts localization features that enable you to localize one page for several audiences – eradicating the need to create multiple pages in multiple languages. Twitter, on the other hand, requires the creation (and therefore management of) of individual language-specific accounts, while LinkedIn offers users the ability to send targeted posts based on language preferences, among others. When building your social media marketing messaging strategy, you’ll need to take the unique requirements of your chosen platforms into account in order to know what to post, where and when.

Check back soon for Part II, where we’ll discuss the often neglected aspects of social media for various market segments.

Using social media for international marketing messaging requires myriad considerations and more than a translation service. Download The Psychology of Marketing Messaging to learn how to get your message heard by the people who matter.

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Marketing messaging guide