Professional translators are not simply language assistants who render a message from one language into another. They are a valued partner who help to achieve efficient communication by understanding cross-cultural differences, complexities, and challenges. Having a trusted language service provider (LSP), who shares the same values as your company and respects your brand name and standards is important if you would like to expand globally and truly speak the language of your potential customers.
Translation and localization services are employed in every business sphere. Adding a new language in your training, web site or documentation is a step towards reaching a new demographic. Being able to properly translate legal documents, for example, is a great advantage for any company. It guarantees clarity and conformity. This is only one of the reasons why major industries are turning to reliable translation agencies when they want to grow their business and enter a foreign-language speaking market.
What do you Localize for Best Results?
We have mentioned how important it is not only to simply translate a given text into the target language but also to localize it so that it meets the cultural specifications. Proper localization helps celebrate the diversity, while ensuring conformity with standards. Below you can find a list of elements that need to be adapted to the local requirements to achieve better results:
- Dates – use the local format to avoid any confusion. Keep in mind that the US format states the month first and then the date, while in Europe first comes the date and then the month, so 10 August 2017 will be 8/10/2017 for an American, which will mean 10 October for a European. The difference is significant and is of great importance when it comes to warranties or “best before” dates for example.
- Addresses – formatting them accurately is of great importance if you want the client to be able to locate the venue. The position of the street number – before or after the street name is an example of the possible differences. In English, we put the number first. In some languages, such as Bulgarian, the number goes at the end of the name.
- Phone numbers – it is a good idea to add the area or country code for convenience. Don’t forget that toll-free numbers do not work outside the USA, so always provide an alternative contact option – another phone number or an e-mail.
- Measurement units – imperial units should be converted into metric equivalents for better clarity when used outside the USA.
- Currencies – it is useful if you can provide the value of the service or product in the local currency in addition to its original price in US dollars.
- Regulations, standards, rules – consider which are the local legal requirements that should be considered in relation to your product or service to avoid misunderstanding. This is one of the most important parts of localization and requires deep knowledge and understanding of the target market legislation.
- Visual elements – you need to adapt graphics, images, and charts to the target market. There are some signs that are truly universal, however there are also some that are perfectly normal to use in English but will be considered offensive in the target language.
- Color – is also of great importance, since some colors should be avoided in certain cultures. It also may have opposite connotations. Black, for example, is connected to celebrations in Asia and mourning in Europe.
- Fonts – choosing a right font is quite tricky. We always advise using a neutral font like Arial Unicode MS since some custom fonts won’t be supported in the target language.
- Names – there are several approaches to rendering names in a foreign language. If it is a personal or company name it should keep the original sound. If it is a name used as an example of an average person like John for English, it should be changed to an appropriate common name in the target language. If it is a global company name such as Coca Cola, check if it is translated in the foreign language or if they use the original name.
The proper rendering of the elements listed above makes a true difference between mere translation and accurate localization. No doubt, the latter is preferable for any company who wants to be among the best performers in the Food Service, Equipment and Supply Industry.
One tip for easier localization is to leave sufficient space for the translated language. Keep in mind that a text translated into some romance languages, like Italian, will take up to 25% more space than the original text in English. On the other hand, character-based languages like Chinese occupy less space.
What are the Advantages of Localization?
The advantages of proper translation and localization services seriously outnumber the costs and efforts. They can be different for the various industries but here are some of the benefits for using a trusted translation agency for the Food Service, Equipment and Supply Industry:
- Reach a Broader Audience
Your company might be the leader at the local market but you don’t have to stop there. Using professional translation and localization services helps you reach a wider audience and enter markets that you didn’t even know existed before. Do you know that you can reach 80% of the world’s audience by using just 12 languages? Dare to become a global player in this global industry by speaking the language of your customers.
- Clear Technical Specifications
The technical specifications of a certain piece of equipment or machinery are the main reason why anyone would choose one provider/manufacturer over the other. When you make sure that your products are presented in the language of the potential buyer, you significantly increase your chances of being chosen. By investing in proper translation and localization you avoid the trap of: “Can’t read. Won’t buy.”
- Easy and Understandable Maintenance Manuals
As a consumer, you like to receive your new products with detailed instructions in your mother language. So do your potential clients. Make sure to include maintenance manuals, user guides, and the like translated in the language of your target market. When the images and regulations of equipment are localized in line with the local standards, you can count on winning over repeated customers.
- Meet Quality Standards and Specifications
Ensuring that your products meet the quality standards and specifications of the target country is essential when exporting. Including testing standards with explanatory notes is necessary to keep you safe when entering a new market. It is critical to incorporate the local industrial standards for better clarity. This requires extensive research and profound knowledge of the target country requirements, which a reliable translation agency with years of experience in localization can provide.
- Conformity with Safety and Regulatory Requirements
No doubt you know that your products and service should meet the legal requirements not only in the country of their origin but also in the country of their destination. Surely, you have done the research to make sure that this is correct. You need to document it properly as well. Here comes the necessity to not simply translate but also localize your documentation. You can communicate your findings with the chosen translation agency and together with their experts make sure that all the necessary local safety and regulatory requirements are stated in the respective language. In some cases, it will be necessary to state both the original standard and its local equivalent to guarantee better understanding. The help of an experienced translator familiar with localization issues is invaluable in such cases.
- Proper Localization of Drawings, Images, Signs
We’ve already mentioned that signs, graphs, images, drawings, and the like need to be localized for better results. The benefits for you as a company is that you will convey a clear message to your customers, while showing that you have walked the extra mile to present them with appropriate visualizations without offending them. This can be the key to entering a new market or strengthening your position there.
Get ahead of your competition by using a professional translation service and avoid “saving money” by using Google Translate or any other similar tools. “Free” options might be great for simple translation of a product or service, but, they are not a good idea for conveying technical information and instructions that need to be precise.
A professional LSP can provide you with all the necessary support required for global outreach in the Food Service, Equipment and Supply Industry. One that specializes in your industry and has demonstrated success with their professional translation and localization services is especially important.