[one_half_last]Global market expansions are both a thrill and a challenge. Companies find themselves reaching out to new potential customers with different needs and expectations, customers who literally speak a different language. Learning how to reach people where they are, in their own idiom, is the center of localization.[/one_half_last]
There is no “global market.” Instead, there is a global patch quilt of local markets waiting to be tapped. The key to a global market positioning strategy is recognizing the power of localization—and learning to recognize the hidden opportunities of local markets that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.
Suppose your company is expanding into the French market. A translation process has been set up to provide a website and other marketing materials in French. A country of 66 million people offers a big possibility for expansion. However, what other opportunities should your international marketing management team be thinking about?
How about the francophone Canadian market? According to Statistics Canada, more than 7 million Canadians speak French as their mother tongue, and nearly 1 million more speak French at home regularly. Altogether, this includes nearly 1 in 4 Canadians. Most (but by no means all) are concentrated in Quebec.
The way to reach these potential customers where they live is in French. But reaching them is not as simple as targeting these speakers with messages designed for the French market. Francophone Canadians, after all, are not French—they are Canadian. Their idiom differs in slight but noticeable ways from continental French and contains a host of Canadian localizations. This means that French-language materials intended for an audience in France will need numerous tweaks to be properly localized for the francophone Canadian market.
Languages Don’t Just Follow Borders
The francophone Canadian market is just one example of a global market opportunity that could all-too easily be allowed to slip through the cracks. Similar and easily missed opportunities are abound. If your company is entering the biggest market of them all, China, what about the many millions of “overseas” Chinese speakers? Could refined localization help you connect to them? Of course!
Reaching out to these markets calls for refinement in translation management to provide suitable localizations and ensure they reach the intended audience. A systematic approach to translation management and translation workflow is a must-have anyway, if cross-language marketing is to be reliable and efficient.
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