Thanks to the close relationships we have developed with commercial brands, we have engineerd a set of proven localisation services specifically for the retail sector. Over the years we have gained an indepth knowledge of the retail sector and their translation requirements when it comes to getting products on shelf abroad. While translation may only be a small part of the global sales process when viewed in isolation, its overall importance to the success of an international retail project cannont be underestimated . Here you can find 15 of our most popular retail translation focused resources, guides and articles that have been produced over the past few years. They will help to give you an understanding of the process of localisation and the role it plays in developing an international commercial business. Read more
In a world where English is everywhere, is translation still important? Is it even necessary?
English is the third most widely-spoken language in terms of native speakers, of which it has at least 330 million. But if you count the people who speak it as a second language, it’s the most popular language in the world. So, why is translation so important? Here are 5 reasons why translation is important and will remain so, despite the growing ubiquity of English.
Translation is Important Because Not Everyone Speaks English
Sure, English is the most commonly spoken language. But that doesn’t mean you can overlook all the people who don’t speak it! Even England is home to significant populations of foreign and minority language speakers.
And just because a person can speak some English, that doesn’t mean they can speak it well enough to cope in all situations. For example, a 2012 survey from the European Commission found that only a quarter of Europeans were able to understand English well enough to follow an English-language news broadcast. Holding a basic conversation is one thing. Easy and effective communication is another.
Translation is Important Because People Prefer Their Native Language
English is the most-widely spoken language. But, that’s only if you take second-language speakers into account. And therein lies the rub. Almost without exception, people respond better to the language they grew up speaking.
To effectively sell to people, it’s not enough to speak a language that they understand (especially if their understanding is limited). You must speak to them in the language their heart speaks.
Dale Carnegie may have been right when he said “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” But the next sweetest sound is their native language. Babies as young as 5 months old have been shown to recognize and prefer it.
Adults prefer it, too. A study from Common Sense Advisory found that 75% of customers “prefer to buy products in their native language.” And a study from Indian market research company JuxtConsult found that “almost three-quarters [of Indian consumers] prefer and seek out content in their first languages.” Read more
China is now the world’s second largest consumer of luxury goods (USA is first, Japan is 3rd). As the world economy grows the centre of gravity of the global middle class shifts eastwards, with this shift your customers are changing, managing a luxury brand is not what it used to be.
The key to marketing a luxury brand is the considered and precise use of language to ensure that the target market is reached. Translating existing content with a full appreciation of the colloquial and cultural implications of the text is therefore vital to an effective expansion strategy.
The style and register is always paramount – never more so than when seeking to influence the purchasing intent of foreign markets. After all, if it was as simple as running the words through Google Translate there would be little need for a strategic multi-market plan. Irrespective of the product, service or demographic, in order to effectively promote on a multinational platform, it is therefore vital that the textual content is translated with a complete linguistic understanding of each specific market. Read more
After a stormy few weeks, the dust following the UK’s vote for Brexit is starting to settle. However, with the form that Brexit will actually take still unclear and much wrangling over the TTIP deal with the US still ahead, international trade is facing a period of uncertainty. For industries as diverse as food and drink, pharmaceuticals and cars, this lack of confidence in what the future holds is affecting investment and, naturally, feeds into business decisions on launching products into international markets. Read more
Many sports teams and organisations are now actively employing social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, to engage their fans. The typically informal nature of social media allows fans to feel closer to their heroes by giving the impression of, or even directly enabiling them to have a personal conversation with them. Sports organisations can leverage social media sites to handle queries, offer giveaways, spread information, research fans’ likes and dislikes, and grow their fanbase.
A great benefit of the internet is that content can be viewed instantly, all over the world, so sports fans in other countries can get in on the action at the same time as domestic followers. Although a large number of international fans will be able to read and speak English, teams who provide a separate, targeted feed for a region or country, in their own language, are much more likely to engage successfully with fans on a local level and in far greater numbers. Read more
What is happiness? It’s one of the most basic human emotions. The pursuit of it is considered a basic human right, enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence and recognised by the UN as a “fundamental human goal.” But what is it? And is it the same on the other side of the world?
Spoiler Alert: No, it’s not. In fact, the belief that happiness is universal is a common mistake that could impact how you market your global business. After all, “happiness” is one of the major emotions that marketers appeal to. Here are some examples of how happiness varies across cultures, and some tips to avoid this common international marketing pitfall.
Why Happiness Gets Lost in Translation
Why is “happiness” so hard to translate? To start, it’s more difficult than you’d think to define it, even in English. Sure, Merriam-Webster may define it as “the state of being happy.” But if it were that easy, the self-help industry wouldn’t be raking in billions of dollars, would it? In the pop culture of the English-speaking world, it’s been described as everything from a warm puppy to a warm gun.
So, what is happiness? Even sociologists who study happiness for a living have had trouble creating a definition that translates easily to other languages and other cultures. As the Washington Post points out, that’s the trouble with all the studies that claim to have identified the “happiest countries,” usually Denmark. The definition of happiness may have been lost in translation:
“Some researchers say the reason is that happiness in Danish is often translated as lykke — a term that can describe a kind of everyday well-being that might be brought on by a nice cup of coffee or a slice of bread with cheese.”
Although now that I think about it, good coffee and good cheese make me a very happy girl, and I’m not even Danish. What is happiness? Is there more to it than that? I’m not sure.
In most languages, there are a variety of possible translations for “happiness.” Each one carries its own shades of meaning, and often none of them match the English definition exactly. For example, researchers studying happiness in China used three different words in surveys and interviews, “xingfu for a good life, you yiyi for meaning and kuaile for a good mood.” Read more
With the advent of modern technology and having found ourselves fully within the communications revolution, the world is becoming an increasingly small place.
Companies which at one time conducted business transactions across town are now striving to reach customers across the globe. Rapidly growing economies such as China, India and the Middle East are now pivotal players on the world stage. As they develop and open up new opportunities exist for entrepreneurial firms to maximise their returns in these exciting new markets. This is especially true for the retail sector where new customers and partner relationships can be created relatively quickly online.
Combining this with an environment at home that has seen an unprecedented amount of competition (due in part to a prolonged recession), the continued growth of retailers exist in international opportunities. Anyone from the retail world understands that clear consistent customer communication and customer service are two of the most critical success factors. Do them wrong and you run the risk of irreversibly destroying brand value. Do them right and you can build a lovemark, a brand built up on love and respect. Read more
I had a chance to visit Sailthru in New York on Zing business. Sailthru bills customers for a way or tool to customize direct email campaigns based on demographics and big data, resulting in measureable improvements on clicks and conversions for those email campaigns. When Jim Smith gets an email that targets him right in his weak spot (Jim loves to barbecue!), he’s more likely to buy. When he clicks on the barbecue, the customer knows that Jim clicked on the barbecue. When Jim buys the barbecue, the customer knows that Jim bought the barbecue. They also know that he’s 48 years old, divorced, and likes to party, so they continue to use this data to sell him rotisserie barbecue add-ons, home exercise equipment, and a Ford Mustang, increasing his Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). The additional business is worth the profits minus the cost of paying Sailthru.
Translation providers bill customers for a way or tool to open up new markets and unlock windfalls of profit and market share, allowing businesses to communicate with foreign customers and ensure that their product or service has the intended results. Companies that have seen success with their products at home often look to translate their business and export, directly increasing their profits, growth potential, stability, and prestige. ROI comes with increased sales, and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is improved along with better fulfilment of the product or service. The additional business is worth the profits minus the cost of paying for the translations (and other services). Read more
With so much going on in the world right now, it’s no wonder if you haven’t been keeping up with all the latest language and translation stories. Let’s get you caught up, shall we? Here are 6 fun and interesting language news articles from the past month.
Language News Digest: A New English Translation of Saddam Hussein, Just in Time for Christmas
Apparently, George R.R. Martin has some competition from beyond the grave, from one of the world’s most notorious dictators. UK publishing house Hesperus has announced it will be publishing an English translation of a Saddam Hussein novella in December 2016. Just what you wanted in your stocking, right?
According to the Guardian, “Hesperus described the book as “a mix between Game of Thrones and the UK House of Cards-style fiction”, and said it was full of political intrigue.”
The book is being used to launch an imprint focusing on “Eastern” literature. Which raises the question: Couldn’t Hesperus have found a more deserving author to honor?
Given that the New York Times called it “a forgettable piece of pulp,” it seems safe enough to assume that Hesperus isn’t publishing the novella for its literary merit.
So, who should they have gone with instead? Suggest your favorite un- or under-translated “Eastern” author in the comments!
Bad translations are bad business. You might think it doesn’t matter that much if a translation is perfect. Google Translate is good enough. Hey, it’s free! They’ll get the idea, right? Wrong. Bad translations not only make your company look stupid, they can also insult, offend or even disgust your potential customers. To prove it, here are 7 food industry translation fails guaranteed to make you sick to your stomach.
*Disclaimer: K International obviously had nothing to do with any of these translations.**
Hope you weren’t eating…
Bad Translations From the Food Industry: Smell of What?!?
Why would anyone want to order fish that smells like pee? As it turns out, “Quishan smell of urine yellow croaker” is a common but unfortunate translation for “Qíshān sàozi huángyú 岐山臊子黄鱼,” a popular Chinese seafood dish. The picture above is one of several different photos circulating online with the same translation.
There’s got to be an explanation for this, right?
Yes! According to Language Log, the Chinese word “sàozi” can have several different meanings depending on tone. One of those meanings is, in fact, “smell of urine.”
But that’s not the correct meaning in this context, of course. Here’s a better translation, again courtesy of Language Log:
“It turns out that sàozi 臊子 is a type of sauce made from minced pork cooked with vinegar, red pepper, and many other seasonings. So a better translation would be “yellow croaker with minced pork sauce à la Qishan”.
That sounds much more appealing!
About K International
Our translation, interpreting and technology solutions have been relied on by corporations and Government since 1986. We operate in more than 150 languages across every conceivable industry, our broad experience and commitment to quality is reflected in our client portfolio. Read more about us
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