Localising content across the media for export clients

Posted by Sophie Howe on November 2nd, 2012 at 10:00 am

Creating localised content

The world might be getting smaller these days, and the technology and tools for trading internationally may be making it easier for businesses to expand into new foreign markets.  However, the variety of cultures across the globe is as diverse as ever.  If you are a creative agency tasked with helping your clients to explore new international markets, you will want to make sure that their marketing collateral and any technical information is fully localised in keeping with the variety of languages and culture in the local markets. If you have the expertise in-house to do this, that’s great, but another practical solution is to partner with a translation company that has an established track record in your client’s foreign target markets.

Preparing clear briefs and defining timescales

Exporting UK products and services to other countries has become much easier in recent years, but the journey can still be fraught with difficulty if the right planning and preparation is not carried out.  It is always worth the time and effort spent in producing an international marketing strategy and action plan that outlines the organisational goals and includes very clear guidelines and information on the international target audiences.  As a creative agency you will probably be tasked with profiling your client’s international customer, and this information also needs to be included in the brief for your translation partner.  Realistic timescales also need to be agreed to allow for the various stages of approvals that are required when preparing marketing materials for the different local target markets.

Where possible, it is a good idea to involve local markets in the planning process. If you are putting together a global communications strategy you will need local market involvement. Key contacts already established in a specific local market can provide valuable insights into the cultural characteristics of that market.

Combining expertise collaboratively

Working cohesively and collaboratively with an expert translation team will help you to ensure that your client’s campaigns are being conveyed in language designed to have the maximum impact in your client’s foreign target markets.  This in itself will be a great achievement for both you and your client, but there is more that can be achieved by working with a partner.  Because translation is the core business of your partner, they will have invested in the most up-to-date methods and software tools available. At Comtec we use a translation memory facility which is able to store translated copy and retrieve it later to assist with subsequent work. This facility is continually updated with copy approved by the market in the form of localised phrases and whole sections of text. This means you will gain consistency of style and terminology across all your client’s marketing materials and translated technical information, and there won’t be any unnecessary translation work. This reduces the timescales needed for future translation work as well as reducing the costs.

Overcoming creative challenges

There will always be issues to tackle in large translation projects. For example, key messages and slogans may need to be adapted or changed completely in the localisation process depending on how the brand is positioned in the market. Depending on the process agreed with your client, it may take time to secure the co-operation of the local markets and establish an effective process to capture their feedback.

Choosing a translation partner

The right translation partner will have proven expertise and experience as well as the right technology in place to cope with major multi-lingual projects. Any partnership also needs to operate on a basis of trust and be open to sharing new ideas, and every member of our team has a wealth of experience of working with creative agency partners.  It is one of the main areas of our business.

Achieving great results

The right combination of creative minds and language expertise can achieve spectacular results for an agency’s client. Taking a product to international markets presents a set of challenges that can be overcome when working strategically with a translations partner. When you create the right partnership, you will benefit from effective project planning, local market input, technical translation of marketing material, translation memory and a global communications project that delivers results.

One Response to “Localising content across the media for export clients”

  1. You bring up a lot of great points, Sophie. It’s always a good idea to get local expertise when strategizing a global marketing campaign. Although technology allows us to directly translate copy, it can miss a lot of important factors in localization. In-market translators assure clients that their translated content is culturally appropriate and relevant. Word-for-word translated content doesn’t exactly have the same meaning in other languages. Having an in-market creative team can also be beneficial. Since they understand the language and culture, they can keep a client’s creative vision and adjust it for new markets, allowing for consistency across the board. Without local expertise, translated content may cause confusion for potential consumers. globalmarketingops.com

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