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How a Localized Product Label Can Maximize Profits

Your product packaging can be a great marketing tool when a consumer is looking to make a purchase in-store. A label should not only be on-brand, but it must stand out from those of your competitors. This includes complete accuracy with regard to the information provided on it. If you sell products abroad, you will need to localize product labels to meet certain requirements in each country. In doing so, you will help your company maximize your profits (and avoid potential losses), to help guarantee your brand’s success abroad.

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How does investing in label localization help maximize profits?

Getting your product label ready for distribution in other countries is more than just updating the words on the label. It is about making sure your product connects with a new audience as they shop. 

A properly localized product label should not appear as though you’ve just adapted the original label so you can sell to a new audience. It should appear as though the label was created with these consumers in mind. Color choices, imagery and the correct use of cultural nuances can be just as important as the text itself. 

Consumers who not only understand the text on your label, but who also connect with what they see, will be more likely to trust your company and willing to try your product. This boosts sales, increase word-of-mouth marketing, brand recognition and your expansion into the international market.

On the other hand, if your label is not properly localized for the market where your product is being sold, the consumer may be confused as to how your product can serve them, and may, therefore, not make the purchase. If the translation is not professionally done, you risk offending the consumer or providing incorrect or misleading information as well.

What should you consider when localizing your product label?

Each country where you plan to sell your products will have its own set of regulations in order for your products to be sold there. If you want to enter the Canadian market, for example, your product label will almost certainly need to be listed in both English and French, not just one or the other. You will also have to take into consideration potential cultural differences. For example, while it may not be necessary to include in the U.S., some countries will require you to include whether or not a consumable product is Halal, or if it includes any alcohol. 

It is also important to make sure your label contains the correct format for dates and measurements that may be listed on your label. In the U.S., our dates are usually listed in a month/day/year format. However, in most countries within the E.U., that format changes to day/month/year. If your product has an expiration or sell-by date, abiding by the appropriate date format is crucial to ensuring that customers do not consume items past the expiration date. You should also use the metric system for most labels for products sold outside of the U.S..

What are the risks if your product label is not properly localized?

If your product label is not properly localized, you not only run the risk of not connecting with your target audience, but you could also run some potentially large financial risks. If the label has inaccurate information listed or if allergens are not listed correctly due to an inaccurate translation, for example, there could be a great risk of injuries, illnesses or even fatalities. Not only would your company take a hit in legal fees up front, but you will also likely need to recall the product, spend the time and money to correct the label, experience decreased sales, or even be put out of business altogether, depending on the severity of the issue. 

To help circumvent this type of risk, avoid using automatic or machine translation, and hire a professional team of translators, editors and localizers to get it right the first time.

Looking to enter a new market? Feel free to reach out and set up a free consultation.

Localization Fails in International Markets: Don't Let This Be You!

Localization is the process of adapting a product to your target market’s cultural, technical, and linguistic requirements. Localizing your product and marketing strategy ensures your international audience is able to interact with your product effortlessly in a way that seems like it was created just for them. Having a professional team handle the localization process is crucial, as these 5 brands found out after their own localization blunders!

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1. Apple. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, the Apple II was localized for various European markets and Japan. In a race to launch before competitor IBM, Apple failed to localize their keyboard for European markets, and did not include umlauts, accents and other punctuation marks necessary to write in many European languages. They also neglected to translate their user manuals entirely into Japanese! IBM may have reached these markets more slowly, but their focus on proper localization meant they had greater success over Apple’s hastily handled global product release.

2. Pepsi. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, Pepsi decided to go international. Their slogan at the time? “Come alive! You’re in the Pepsi generation!”. The campaign was a success in the West, but ran into some hitches when they tried to localize it for China and Germany. In China, it was mistranslated as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead!” and in Germany as “Rise from the grave with Pepsi!” Not exactly the slogan they were hoping for!

3. Honda. In 2001, this Japanese car manufacturer decided not to change the name of the Fitta when releasing the compact car in Sweden. Unfortunately for Honda, “fitta” is a vulgar word in Swedish, referring to a woman’s genitals. Yikes! Honda quickly made a change and decided to call the car the Honda Jazz in Europe and the Honda Fit in the U.S.

4. Parker Pens. In 1994, Parker Pens decided to market its pens to a Mexican audience. Their headline was “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you” but the word for “embarrass” was mistranslated as “embarazar” which means “impregnate” in Spanish! The mistranslated ad read “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant”. Oops!

5. Starbucks. In Italian, “latte” means “milk”, so Starbucks used the term to sell their café latte drink in their European and English-speaking markets. This worked well pretty much everywhere… except in Germany. In German, “latte” literally means “pole”, but is used as a slang term to mean “male erection”, so you can imagine the reaction when Starbucks began selling lattes in its German locations! The German people, however, took it mostly in good humor and Starbucks actually still includes the untranslated drink on its menu there even today!

To successfully launch a product globally, be sure you’ve got a professional team handling it for you. This will ensure you do not succumb to potentially disastrous errors for your company abroad (and it keep you off of lists like these!).

Marketing to Speakers of Other Languages: A Step-By-Step Plan

With 2018 in full swing, you’re likely considering new ways to market your business. One thing you may want to consider is reaching out to a new demographic. Have you ever thought about marketing directly to speakers of languages other than English? It may seem a little daunting if English is the only language you’re comfortable speaking. The great news is, however, you don’t actually have to speak another language to effectively market to a demographic that does! You can market to this audience in a variety of ways, which can have a positive impact on your brand in the new year. Here are 5 steps for targeting your non-English speaking client base in 2018.

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1.    Start with your website. Websites are a great way to interact with customers who do not speak English. Your customers are most likely starting their online search for a product or service by searching for those with information available in their preferred language. If your website and offerings are translated and localized on your website, they will feel confident in your ability to assist them, and they will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to tailor your content to them. Be sure to use a professional translator or agency to handle this. Errors caused by free translation tools can be extreme and really hurt your brand, even though you have great intentions!

2.    Develop a multilingual SEO strategy. Once you have professionally translated and localized your website, you’ll want to consider a multilingual Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. If your website isn’t showing up in search results, the translation you’ve paid to complete will not provide much return on your investment. Analyze your audience and tailor this new strategy to them. You’ll find that it often differs greatly from what you’ve already created for your English-speaking customers. 

3.    Focus on your local market first. While online marketing is important, it is not the only way to reach your new audience. Partner with local businesses in your community, specifically those who already have an existing customer base in your target demographic. See if you can leave your business cards or brochures there as well. And if these items are translated, even better!

4.    Deliver an effective and targeted email campaign. If you are already sending out email newsletters, consider translating them for your non-English speaking readers. You may not have to translate everything within your newsletter, but if you know your customer's email address and preferred language/region, you can target your content specifically to that group. Email blasts in someone’s preferred language are more likely to drive traffic to your website and are a quick and easy way to stay in touch with those who have already decided they trust you enough to hand over their email address!

BONUS TIP #1! Don’t forget to ask for referrals or testimonials you can use in your marketing or on your website. Once you’ve driven more traffic there, it’s a great way for new and/or potential customers to see why working with you is such a wonderful option.

5.    Put your information in local multilingual publications. Don’t neglect print marketing! Dedicate some advertising dollars to multilingual publications in your area, ensuring the advertisement is localized for your non-English speaking audience. You can direct customers to your website for more information, which will help drive traffic there and deliver more information to this target audience!

BONUS TIP #2! Utilize interpreters (on-site or telephonic) as needed for your new customers. Once they have reached out to you, make sure you have a way to communicate with them if you do not already speak their language. You can use telephonic interpreters for initial meetings, and look into bringing in an on-site interpreter for client meetings or any interaction that involves contracts or providing more information as things progress, if you prefer. Trust us… the growth you’ll see from marketing to a new demographic will be worth the investment!

What the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Means for Your Law Firm

If your law firm collects, stores or uses personal data from citizens within the European Union (EU), it is important to understand what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will mean for you. The new data protection standards put in place by the GDPR will take effect on May 25, 2018. This not only affects practices based out of countries in the EU, but will also impact U.S.-based firms that have access to data for EU citizens. Since violating the new GDPR standards could mean serious fines for your practice, we’ve put together a few key points to make sure you are ready for the May 25th changes.

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  • Under the GDPR, your law firm will be considered a “data controller” as opposed to a “data processor” since you have the ability to state how and why personal data is collected.
  • The regulations do not apply just to data you collect moving forward, but retroactively as well. If you have not already taken steps to examine and assess where all of your data is stored, it is important to begin now. Your practice will need to make sure you have the ability to do the following with this data, according to the new regulation’s standards:

           - Erase a consumer’s entire data profile at their request;
           - Provide information to the consumer about exactly what data you are processing, where
              you are storing it, and the purpose this data collection serves;
           - Provide the consumer with a copy of the personal data you’ve collected on them at their
             request.

The consumer also has the right to question and fight all decisions that may impact them if the decisions were made on a purely algorithmic basis.

  • Failing to meet the requirements of the GDPR could result in a fine of up to $23 million or 4% of your firm’s annual worldwide turnover. If these fines are implemented, it could put some practices out of business. There are cyber insurance policies available, but whether or not to invest in this type of service will depend on each practice’s individual needs.

The standards put in place by the GDPR are quite different from the more liberal U.S. approach to consumer data collection, so if your firm may be impacted by these changes, it is imperative that you begin preparing now for the May 25th changes to be sure your data collection methods are lawful under the new standards.

How to Make Updates to Your Translated Technical Materials

When you release a new product, it is often accompanied by an instruction booklet or user manual. If you are targeting a demographic in another country or even one in the U.S. that does not primarily speak English, you’ve likely had manuals like these translated as well.

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If and when your original (or source) English manual changes, it is important to remember to update your translated documents as well. Sometimes, you may release a similar or updated version of the product that only needs a few changes or additions within the existing manual. Here are a few ways to make sure that the translated updates are handled professionally and flow well without needing to have the entire user manual translated all over again.

  • When possible, it is best to work with the same team or agency that translated the original text. They will likely have the ability to use the same team of linguists who worked on the project previously. Since each person has their own unique writing style, even within translations, using the same linguists will ensure your updates read the same as what was originally translated. Consistency across the board is key.
     
  • If you are unable to work with the same team or agency that previously handled your project for you, be sure to send the new team the entire file that was previously translated. This will help the team build a database with resources to get the style of the new text as close as possible to the original translation.
     
  • When you are updating part of the text or adding to it, send over the newly updated English file along with your request. You can highlight the text that needs to be updated or added. Seeing the new text in context will help the team working on your project to deliver the best possible translation for you, without any potential for errors from lack of context. This tip is especially important, as context is everything when it comes to translating texts. If the translation team cannot see the new text in context, there is a potential for errors or misinterpretations of the text. This little step takes only a moment, but it can make or break the outcome of the updated translation.

If you have any questions or concerns about updating product manuals and guides, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are happy to both provide a free quote for the updates, or answer any questions you may have about the process along the way!

How to Ease the College Application and Registration Process for International Students

Applying for and registering for college can be a demanding process for any student. From visa requirements to English proficiency exams, international students face a number of unique challenges when it comes to this same registration process. Here are just a few ways you can help make this process a little easier for incoming international students, and in turn, be a more attractive option for those considering attending your university.

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1. Create a step-by-step guide that includes all the requirements a student will need to fulfill when applying for and registering for classes. This guide should be easily accessible on your university’s website. Consider having separate web pages for each subtask to keep things organized and easy to follow, as well. Each link should be clearly labeled and each page should provide links to the next steps in an easy-to-follow format so that a potential incoming student has no trouble navigating the steps in the process.

2. Consider having a professional translate portions of the admissions web pages. Students often rely on family members or other to help them enroll or make a decision on which institution to attend. Having potentially complicated information available in the student’s/family’s primary language could certainly be helpful in helping them make a decision about choosing your university as their home for the next four years.

3. Provide phone numbers that will connect students directly to someone knowledgeable in international student admissions.  If certain admissions officers or advisors are trained in fielding questions and concerns about different guidelines and forms for international students, route the phone calls directly to these individuals for the best possible experience when these students need help during the process.

Once the student is accepted, offer a separate and required international student orientation when he or she arrives. This orientation should cover all aspects of how your university is equipped to help them succeed as an international student on your campus. This will show students that you are not only dedicated to their success from the very beginning, but it also allows you to instruct them on the resources available as they continue their journey at your university.

Foreign Language Social Media Marketing: From Post to Purchase

Social Media is a key strategy for just about any business’ international marketing strategy. Having an engaging foreign language social media presence is not enough, however. Once you engage your users on social media platforms, it is essential that users have a positive experience from the moment they click on your post to the moment they check out and purchase your service or product. Here are a few ways you can ensure this experience is seamless for your foreign language market.

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1.    Choose social media channels carefully depending on your target market. Facebook and Twitter may be dominant players across many international communities, but you may also find that your target market hangs out on social media channels you are unfamiliar with. If you are marketing to consumers in China, for example, you will want to familiarize yourself with their top 3 social media channels: WeChat, Tencent QQ, and Sina Weibo.

2.    Localize your content. Language is the first step, and it’s vital to getting it right. Proper translation of your posts is critical to making sure your message is received in a positive way. Since “speaking” to your audience in the U.S. is different than speaking to those in another country, localization is the next step after translation. Not only do your words need to translate well, but the images, colors, slogans, etc. that you use must also resonate with potential customers. Knowledge of trends and culture will take you far with this step. But don’t worry if you aren’t sure how to tackle localization. Professionals specializing in localization for various markets will be a key factor in the big picture, and you can hire someone to help you.

3.    Focus on where your content takes your audience. Once you’ve engaged your audience with social media posts, make sure the pages you link to are also translated and localized for this market. If the page your post directs users to is only in English, potential customers will get confused. Instead, provide links to pages specifically designed for them. They will be more inclined to continue reading about your product or service if it is in their own language and localized to fit their demographic and culture.

4.    Ensure your checkout experience is tailored to your market. If you have spent the time and money to localize your social media posts and product landing pages for your target demographic, the last step is the “buy” button or checkout experience. If your target market resides in Germany, for example, the total amount due should be shown in Euros and the shipping and billing address fields should populate with the proper fields for a German address and not request a U.S. zip code, for example. The consumer should not feel confused by this step. Instead, they should feel confident that their items will be delivered to them without any hitches.

Knowing how to guarantee a seamless experience, from the time your team uploads your posts to the moment the consumer makes a purchase, is key when beginning your international social media-marketing journey. When done correctly, international and foreign language social media marketing can deliver tremendous ROI and turn a sizable profit for your business.

What the General Data Protection Regulation Could Mean for Your Company

If your company has access to data from customers within the European Union (EU), it is important to understand what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will mean for you. The new data protection standards by the GDPR will be made effective on May 25, 2018. This not only affects companies based in countries within the EU, but it will also impact U.S.-based businesses that have access to data for their EU consumers. Since violating the new GDPR standards could result in serious fines for a company, we’ve put together a few key points to make sure you are ready for the changes coming up on May 25th.

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  • Do not assume you will not be affected just because you don’t have offices in the EU. All companies that have access to data from EU consumers need to be aware of the changes. If, for example, your company manufactures and sells products via a website that is accessible in Europe and provides the option to pay in Euros or British Pounds, this affects you, too.
     
  • The regulations do not only apply to data you collect moving forward, but retroactively as well. If your company has not already taken steps to examine and assess where all of your data is stored, it is important to begin now. Your organization will need to make sure you have the ability to do the following with this data, according to the new regulation’s standards:
    • erase a consumer’s entire data profile at their request;
    • provide information to the consumer about exactly what data you are processing, where you are storing it, and the purpose this data collection serves;
    • provide the consumer with a copy of the personal data you’ve collected about them at their request.

The consumer also has the right to question and fight all decisions that may impact them if the decisions were made on a purely algorithmic basis.

  • Failing to meet the requirements of the GDPR could result in a fine of up to $23 million or 4% of your company’s annual worldwide turnover. Fines this hefty could put some companies out of business. There are cyber insurance policies available, but whether or not to invest in this type of service will depend on every company’s individual needs.

The standards put in place by the GDPR are quite different from the more liberal U.S. approach to consumer data collection. So if your company may be impacted by these changes, it is imperative that you begin preparing now for the May 25 changes. Should you need help providing the information to consumers from any of the bullet points above in specific languages, now’s the best time to get the ball rolling and plan for 2018. We’re here to help!