In-house vs. Outsourced Vendors: What’s at Stake?

In-house vs. Outsourced Vendors: What’s at Stake?

It goes without saying that efficiency breeds productivity, which, in turn, fosters profitability. But here’s the thing: making your department – and company as a whole – a streamlined, successful venture hinges on your ability to be acutely aware of your capabilities, and your shortfalls. Once you know what you can do, and do well, you’ll be able to identify the areas that need some outside assistance. While some of these are a no brainer, like ordering a colleague’s birthday cake from the deli down the road, others become a little more tricky, like deciding whether you need the help of a translation company for your new satellite office in Sweden. We’ll chat about the various perks and pitfalls of using outside vendors, as well as those associated with relying solely on your in-house staff.

Outsourcing is typically associated with cutting costs, but that’s not the only reason to consider making use of a vendor.

Making use of outsourced skills or services can be an effective method of saving money, but only if the service rendered is equal or better to the results you’d get if you kept the task in-house. That said, minimizing costs isn’t the only reason an outside vendor should be considered. If you already have an employee who has the rudimental skills, for example, but you’re looking to skill up this in-house resource, hiring a consultant who can work with them is an effective way to make sure the job gets done quickly, while fortifying internal talent. What’s more, you’ll save money on future projects as your team will now be equipped to handle the project without the assistance of an external vendor.

On the flipside, if your prerogative is to gain a product or service that’s of higher quality than if you were to attempt it yourself, outsourcing may cost more, but end up as an investment.

Many people associate outsourcing with dirt-cheap labor – yet this isn’t always the case. In fact, if you’re in need of a niche product or service, chances are, you’ll have to pay for it. But here’s the rub, if you forego outsourcing, and attempt to do something you’re not completely familiar with, you’ll end up with an inferior result, which only ends up costing you more time and money in the long run. A good rule of thumb when deciding between using a vendor or keeping the project in-house is to determine what’s at stake: if an inferior end result will cost you future business from a company, or a damaged reputation, saving a couple of bucks here and there isn’t worth it.

Contrary to popular belief, translation outsourcing isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Unless you’re a fan of reckless endangerment, you’d never attempt to rewire your office’s electrical circuit, so why attempt the task of translating documents or software? If you’re struggling to see the similarity between the two, think of it this way: both can result in accidental and even dire consequences, leaving you red-faced as you watch your assets and brand reputation go up in smoke. Translation outsourcing is a crucial requirement when dealing with a market or audience you’re unfamiliar with – a family vacation to Verona hardly counts as being well-versed in the culture at hand. And at the end of the day, that’s what quality translation is all about: the ability to retain the integrity of your core message, while taking cultural sensitivity into account. Again, when weighing up the pros and cons of translation outsourcing versus attempting the job without any outside expertise, determine what you stand to lose and what you stand to gain from either option.

While you can’t put a price on superior translation services, we’re firm believers in supplying our clients with quality translation services and consulting to help grow your internal skillset and communicate clearly with your market – without charging you an arm and a leg. Find out how our translation services can help your business thrive in a global market today.

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How you can win the vote by getting to know your market

How you can win the vote by getting to know your market

Elections seem to bring out the emotions in people, as the recent events in the United States have shown. Supporters of Hilary Clinton, Donald Trump, and the other candidates were so passionate about their choice for president that in the wake of the results there have been protests, petitions, rallies, marches, and of course heated debates. As for the presidential candidates themselves, the elections results are a culmination of years of their campaigning including one crucial element of planning: having an understanding of the public whose vote they are procuring.

How are businesses like presidential candidates?

Businesses, like presidential hopefuls, have to spend time thinking about the market that they are wanting to capture. A lot of the time businesses will just jump into a new market because it looks favorable but, unfortunately, things aren’t always what they seem to be at the outset. The success of your expansion depends on knowing the market you are entering using extensive research. Doing a little digging on the business and social etiquette of your intended market is a good start and will definitely set you in good stead but what else can you do to get to know the market?

Understanding your electorate

Once you have set your sites on the market you want to enter, narrow it down as much as possible in terms of demographics, location and possible interests. Then you can look at the market analysis including growth rates and forecasted demand. Familiarize yourself with the currency fluctuations and business laws that will affect your bottom lines.

Consider conducting a focus group to get an understanding of how your demographic is different in the specific country you would like to expand to. Is a new approach required to reach your potential customers in this location? Looking at the history, culture, and social rules of their society will definitely help but you might also need some personal insight.

Make sure that you are ready to adapt your business: take a look at yourself and think assess whether you would like to extend your current abilities by building on or whether you would consider partnering with another business or businesses. Would outsourcing be a better solution for certain tasks than completing them yourself?

Get the “vote”

Like campaigning to be president, expanding into an international market will need to have a good understanding of their target market and what makes them tick. Their culture and customs, their social rules and their specific needs. How should the marketing strategy that you are currently using on a local level be changed for the best possible results: localization enables you to understand all the specific cultural factors so that you can expand your business successfully.

We help global brands to build their own localization success story. We can help you get the “vote” from new markets/customers by understanding the culture and needs. 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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Localization: drawing inspiration from Stranger Things

Localization: drawing inspiration from Stranger Things

If you haven’t heard of the science fiction-horror series that is Stranger Things, where have you been? The Netflix show is set in a fictional town in Indiana in the 1980s. It follows a group of kids who find themselves in trouble after befriending a psychokinetic girl who has escaped from a sinister government agency and claims to know the whereabouts of their missing friend. Oh and it’s probably important to mention that the place they call home also just so happens to be some sort of portal to a frightful place filled with insidious creatures called ‘The Upside Down’.

It is this group of spunky school kids who are the backbone of the show, working together to battle the malevolent supernatural forces that have converged on their humble town.

When taking your brand global, you probably won’t encounter any ominous creatures but that doesn’t mean your endeavors won’t be without any challenges. Here’s how you can draw a little inspiration from a few of the TV series’ main characters:

Don’t go missing like Will

In the very first episode of Stranger Things, Will Byers disappears after encountering a monster. His disappearance actually forms the basis for much of the series. If you’re a business and you’re interested in making an international mark, you do not want your messages to “go missing” like Will Byers. If you think that you can just take your marketing plan from one region and use it in another, you’re mistaken. You’ll need to adapt your product offerings, marketing strategies, pricing and sales channels to match the needs and cultural nuances of consumers living in each region.

It’s okay to be cautious like Lucas

Being cautious is a good thing. In the beginning, Lucas was quite wary of the strange girl they found in the woods with the shaven head. It’s only after getting to know Eleven a bit, and understanding her better, that he really warms up to her. When taking a business to new markets, it’s best to do research so that you can make the most informed decisions. Marketers have a wealth of data at their disposal, which they can use to better understand their new customers. If you’re entering a region that favors Facebook, for example, it’d be silly not to use this fact to your advantage. It’s all comes down to doing your homework.

Be loyal like Mike

One of the best ways to promote loyalty is to be loyal. Localization is a great way to build a relationship with customers, and ultimately build loyalty. By taking the time to show your new customers that you care enough about them to tailor your offerings and content to speak to them specifically, you’re showing them that your intentions go beyond just making money. In the same way that Mike constantly shows his commitment to his friends, ensuring that your marketing messages are delivered in your customer’s’ native language shows them that your businesses is really interested in cementing a solid relationship with them and establishing a lasting presence in that region.

Use your words like Dustin

Dustin is the cute kid with the lisp. A lisp may be endearing on chubby-cheeked, curly haired adolescent but a brand looking to enter new markets can’t afford any miscommunication faux pas. Just ask Gerber, a Nestle-owned seller of baby foods. When the brand first entered Africa they made a rather embarrassing marketing mistake. Using the same packaging they employ in the US, Gerber shipped its products to Africa with the standard baby face on the label. They soon learned that low literacy rates across the continent mean that many African companies opt to put pictures of the foodstuff inside the tin or jar on the label.

Partner up with the right people like Eleven

When Eleven escapes from the covert government facility, where she is being kept as a lab experiment, she finds herself in a world she knows nothing about. Without the help of Mike, Lucas and Dustin, she probably would’ve struggled a lot more than she did. When you take your business to new markets, you’re likely experience a similar sense of trepidation. And it’s just as important for your business to partner with people who can make your transition into this new territory as smooth as possible. Local partners understand the people, the culture and the intricacies of doing business in that region. They should be seen as credible advisors. They have a wealth of information that can help you make the most strategic decisions.

At Rubric, we offer all the localization and translation services you need to ensure that your international marketing efforts always deliver the right message. Download our Marketing Messaging Guide for more insights into how you can achieve global expansion success.

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Small translation errors turned big

Small translation errors turned big

There’s a difference between describing a meal as ‘good’ and describing a meal as ‘delicious’. There’s a difference between recounting a sunset as ‘nice’ and calling it ‘magnificent’. And finally, there is a difference between dubbing a hike ‘hard’ and characterizing it as ‘formidable’.

In each of these instances, the words technically mean the same thing but the intensity varies quite a bit. Was the meal acceptable or was it really tasty? Choosing the right words to accurately convey exactly what you are trying to say is important in all aspects of life. In business, when it comes to translating a slogan, website or product brochure from one language to another, understanding the different nuances and subtleties of what the words really mean is essential.

Just because someone can speak multiple languages doesn’t mean they’re qualified to offer language translation services. We’ve compiled a list of translation faux pas to illustrate why translations should be left to the professionals.

Anyone for a naked flight?

When American Airlines wanted to advertize the leather seats available to first class passengers, they opted for the very literal slogan: “Fly Leather”. Fair enough. But when they translated this tagline into Spanish, the language got a little muddled up and the slogan was translated into: “Fly naked”.

Peaches delivering babies

Sometimes, it isn’t the actual words that are the problem. Analogies and common phrases that are popular in one country can be misunderstood in another. For example, Japanese folklore sees babies being delivered to their parents on a giant floating peach. Which explains why Proctor & Gamble’s Japanese Pampers campaign fell flat. Their packaging featured a stork delivering a baby to happy parents, which Japanese consumers had never been exposed to.

A pen that makes you pregnant

Did you know that the Spanish word “embarazar” means “impregnate”, not embarrass? When Parker Pen entered Latin America, they didn’t know this and a rather awkward translation error ensued. Their adverts were meant to read: “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you”, but the confusion around “embarazar” meant that the tagline actually read: “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”

Your lusts for the future

Even presidents can find themselves on the wrong side of a translation mix up. When Jimmy Carter traveled to Poland in 1977, a Russian interpreter who wasn’t professionally trained in Polish was hired. Through this interpreter, the president ended up saying things like “when I abandoned the United States” (when he meant to say “when I left the United States”) and “your lusts for the future” (instead of “your desires for the future”). The mistakes were picked up and much enjoyed by the media and general public in both countries.

Bring back the dead with Pepsi

When translating their marketing copy into Chinese, Pepsi made some rather bold claims about what their drink could do. They unwittingly translated their “Come alive with the Pepsi generation” slogan as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”.

Global expansion needn’t be intimidating. Especially if you partner with a localization company that offers all the translation services you need to become a worldwide success. Download our Global Expansion Checklist to find out exactly what you need to do to ensure you don’t make any silly translation mistakes during your international expansion efforts.

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Marketing message toolbox: Why you wouldn’t cut a tomato with a spoon

Marketing message toolbox: Why you wouldn’t cut a tomato with a spoon

Two guys on the internet are trying to find fame by creating videos, and providing tongue-in-cheek, sport-inspired commentary, as they cut unusual things with spoons. In one of their most popular videos, the visionaries behind the Cut Dat Commentary YouTube channel are seen cutting a grape tomato with a spoon.

But just because you can cut a tomato with a spoon, doesn’t mean that you should. Chances are a knife would work a whole lot better. Similarly, just because you could take an antiquated approach to your marketing strategy doesn’t mean that you should. Chances are that a modern, digital strategy would be a better fit.

Today, marketers have a whole new arsenal. Here are a few things every successful marketer should have in their marketing toolbox:


We live in a visually-driven culture. For marketers, this makes the playing field a whole lot more fun because they now have a wide range of tools and tricks at their disposal to boost their marketing messages. Video content increases click-through rates and digital conversions. Marketers who don’t take note of this, and respond accordingly, will fall behind. According to Marketing Profs, 70% of marketers describe video as a better conversion tool than any other medium. The average visitor spends as much as 80% more time on a website if that site contains video, reports Mist Media.


Remember that visually-driven culture we discussed above? Well, this applies both to moving and static visuals. The reality is that most consumers would rather not spend their limited time scrolling through reams and reams of text. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well modern marketers can use this to their advantage. And they are. Some 65% cite photos, video, illustrations and infographics as being core to the communication of a brand story and 46% of marketers believe that photographs are a critical element of their current marketing and storytelling strategies. A smart move, especially when you consider that content with relevant images amasses 94% more views than content without relevant imagery.


All of this considered – there’s still a lot of value in good, relevant content. Marketers should think of copy as a map that takes a potential customer on a journey to their product or service. Keep your messages clear and simple. Be sure that they elicit the desired emotional response. If you want to develop and nourish a relationship with your customer, content is key. Close to 80% of consumers believe that when a brand offers them content, their aim is to establish a relationship. And when consumers read a brand’s content, 70% of these consumers feel closer to that brand.


Did you know that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%? Why are sale signs always red? And why are most health supplements branded green? Well, it’s because people associate certain colors with certain things. Be it conscious or subconscious. As a marketer, if you’re about to build a website or design a brochure, think carefully about the emotions you want to convey, and then choose an appropriate color to convey those emotions.

Tone and voice

How do you tell a friend that their new haircut is awful or that those jeans do, in fact, make their bottom look rather large? You choose your words very carefully. This is exceptionally important for marketers who are looking to deliver a very specific message to their target audience. The tone and voice you employ must evoke emotions that will facilitate the right response.

If you’re an international brand and you want your marketing message to speak to a global customer base, you need to localize your content. Making use of our expert translation services will ensure that your message hits the mark in every language. Want to find out how to create marketing messages that people really respond to? Take a look at our Marketing Guide for some handy tips and tricks. Click below to download the guide.  

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Marketing messaging guide