Once you decide to launch your product or service in another country or region, it is time to focus on localizing your content. Localization should be a top priority for a successful launch. However, this is only part of the process.
Here are three tips to help you when it comes to localizing your marketing collateral for an overseas market.
1. Account for text expansion to maintain the visual appeal of your marketing efforts
Translated text rarely, if ever, takes up the exact same amount of space as the original text. French or Spanish text, for example, may take up to 30% more space than English to convey the same ideas. This will likely impact the layout and design of your brochures or web copy. If there was not enough space left in the English copy, the translated text may be too crowded to fit. Conversely, if the translation happens to be shorter, there may be too much white space on the page. Multilingual Desktop Publishing teams can assist with making the text fit your space in a way that maintains visual appeal.
2. If you plan to print, consider the size of paper in other countries.
Paper sizes are not always the same in every country. For example, the standard paper size in the U.S. is 8.5”x11”. However, in many other countries throughout the world, that standard changes slightly to approximately 8.3”x11.7”. While this may not seem like a huge difference, it can make an impact in how your design team handles print marketing materials for an international audience. Your materials must be resized before printing for your international market.
3. Remember that different countries and regions utilize different numerical formats.
If your marketing copy includes product measurements or volume, the correct unit system must be used. In the U.S., we use the imperial system. We measure length in inches and feet, and volume in pints and gallons. However, the vast majority of the rest of the world uses the metric system. When localizing your content for customers outside of the U.S., your units must be converted to the metric system, utilizing centimeters and meters or liters and grams, for example.
When it comes to phone numbers and postal codes, each country has its own distinct format. In some countries, a phone number may be 10 digits like we see in the U.S., but the area code may be just 2 numbers and the phone number 8 digits, instead of a 3-digit area code followed by a 7-digit number. Postal codes also vary by country. An Australian postal code is only 4 digits, as opposed to our 5-digit postal codes in the U.S., for example. Similarly, some countries have shorter or longer phone numbers and postal codes, but it is important to make sure your content reflects the current format in these local markets so that customers are not confused.
Moreover, online forms should accept the correct versions of these items when someone is ordering from a foreign IP address or has chosen another country as their shipping location. Your website should not force someone with a 4-digit postal code to enter 5 digits, or your customer will be unable to order from your site.
If you have already localized your products or services, what is one thing you’ve learned about the process that you hadn’t thought about before you got started? We’d love to hear about your experience!