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Translating Brand Names for International Success

Should you translate your brand name or business name when you enter a foreign language market? What about product names?  There’s not one right answer, but the following questions can help in the decision.

Is your brand name already a word in the target language?

When it comes to translating company names and product names, one of the first considerations is whether or not the name is the same as or similar to an existing word in the target language. Words that are spelled or pronounced the same as your brand name in the target language bring their own meanings and connotations. These can either work for your brand or against it.

For example, consider the famous case of Clairol’s “Mist Stick” curling iron. It sold quite well in the United States but fell flat in the German market, where “mist” means “manure.

Canadian Mist and Irish Mist whiskeys were also hard to sell in Germany. Nobody wants their whiskey to taste like crap.

Obviously, if your brand name means something offensive or unsavory in the target language, you’ll need to consider renaming it. Read more

10 Food packs we DIDN’T translate

Translating food packaging isn’t easy – we should know because we do over a thousand products a week. These guys have got it so wrong its funny but could you imagine your product on shelf saying something stupid in a different language? Nor could we, give us a call and we’ll sort it out for you.

For now… here are the top ten disasters we’ve seen this week. In no particular order… Read more

Food Packaging Translation - A Serious Business

Food Packaging Translation – A Serious Business Indeed

We place a vast amount of trust in the veracity of the information provided on food packaging. For those with food allergies, their lives can depend on the information that the packaging provides. For those who are dieting (whether for personal or medical reasons), ingredients and calorific values both have to be spot on. Then there are the cooking instructions – a mistake in the details of how to cook products such as pork or fish could have fatal consequences. That’s why there are so many rules and regulations around food labelling. It’s also why translating food packaging is such a serious business.

Food labelling – the legal context

Food labelling requirements differ from country to country. In the UK, the law requires that food and drink products must have labels that are permanent, easy to read and understand, easily visible and not misleading. The label has to include the name of the food, a ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date, quantity information and any necessary warnings.

These warnings include allergen information and a range of specific warnings relating to certain ingredients or preparation methods. For example, foods and drinks with more than 150 mg/l of caffeine must state that they are, “Not suitable for children, pregnant women and persons sensitive to caffeine.” Meanwhile, raw milk must state that “This milk has not been heat-treated and may, therefore, contain organisms harmful to health.”

Where a food product has two or more ingredients, these must be listed on the label, with the main ingredient first and the others following in weight order. Common allergens must be highlighted as part of the list. Read more

retail compliance

The A to Z of Retail Compliance: A Checklist 

Compliance is one of the most intimidating parts of international retail.  Around the world, retailers are coming under increased regulatory pressure from both governments and consumers. The more regions your business operates in,  the more difficult it is to comply with all of the different regulations. That’s especially true if your business involves potentially hazardous products like food, electronics or products intended for children.

The exact steps to retail compliance will vary depending on what your organisation sells and where you’re selling it.  That said, this checklist provides a generalised set of best practices that can help your retail organisation stay in compliance wherever you do business.

retail compliance checklist

Read more

Translating connected packaging

Connected Packaging: The Next Big Thing?

The increasingly complex challenges faced by today’s retail industry have been well documented of late – challenges which are often compounded when exporting.

Brands and retailers need to address rapidly changing consumer behaviours and expectations, as well as respond to the pressures of speedy delivery, regulatory demands and fluctuating exchange rates – just to survive in these unpredictable times.

So the search is on to identify and implement the very best of the latest innovative technology solutions – those which can be scaled up to suit international trading conditions and engage directly with consumers wherever they may be.

One of the routes currently being explored is connected packaging. Here at K International’s Retail Division, we can see some exciting potential uses for our clients, should this become accepted practice… Read more

Background to labelling sports foods

Background to labelling of sports foods

Back in 2014, an ad campaign by Lucozade was very eloquently entitled “Lucozade Sport vs Water.” In the video, two groups of athletes, one drinking water and one drinking Lucozade, are doing an endurance running test on a treadmill. Eventually, the “water only” athletes give up one by one, exhausted, while the Lucozade group keeps going strong. The reason is, quite simply, that Lucozade “hydrates and fuels you better than water.”

As it turned out, the Advertising Standard Authority had a lot of issues with that slogan. Although it was based on the authorised claim that “carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions enhance the absorption of water during physical exercise,” a dispute ensued between GlaxoSmithKline (the then owner of the brand) and ASA, around whether or not the wording in the ad departed too much from the authorised claim. The ASA eventually ruled that it did, and the ad was pulled off the air.

The details of the exchange between the two parties are quite technical, but they clearly illustrate one thing: in sports nutrition, claims are a big deal. Wherever there’s food marketing there are claims, and while that holds true for all types of food, it’s even more true for sports foods, considering the size of the market. According to a report from the European Commission, the EU retail market for the three categories of sports supplements, protein products, performance boosting products and sports drinks, grew by 11.2% between 2009 and 2014, reaching a total value of €3.07 billion in 2014. Read more

Translation Fails in the Wild: A Trip to the Asian Dollar Store

Near my house, there is a small shopping center dominated by Asian-owned businesses. There is a Thai restaurant, an Asian market, a Taekwondo studio…and a “dollar store” featuring a variety of cheap goods, mostly made in China.

I love the Asian dollar store.  They have everything:  random bits of hardware, freaky colored contacts, luggage, wigs and so much more.  They also make some rather interesting merchandising decisions, like interspersing saw blades amongst the pedicure supplies.

And then there are the products that seem to have gotten lost in translation, with packaging that ranges from the awkward to the incomprehensible. Here are some of my favorites:

The Oxygen Bar

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I’m not sure what this does…perhaps it’s some sort of humidifier? The words on the box are less than enlightening:

“Between noise and peace there is a bridge, Brought them together, Just like human being and nature, is alwaysinsep arable.”

You know what else should be inseparable?  The letters in the word “inseparable.”

The Coffee Set

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“The features of practicality and beautyshow perfection; greatestefforts and endlessseeking”

Just what I was looking for in a coffee set!

Amphibious Pal and Her Baby

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“It really swim s and crawls” What is with the random spaces here?

Aquatic Animals Anion Humidifier

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“Fresh: Come back to natural, purify the air.

Add wetly: Transfer water in to fog moist air

Cosmetology: Create the foggy oxygen bar, wet the skin.

Intersperse: Interior decoration, the fashion is furnished.”

Uh-huh.

Bonus: Personal Air Conditioner Instructionsasiandollarstore5

This one is actually from Costco, but it was too good not to share.

When you’re trying to sell your product in a foreign market, the last thing in the world you want is to leave potential buyers scratching their heads as they try to translate your translations.  Don’t rely on Google Translate. You need a skilled translator. Take a look and see how we can help!

Translating Your Food Supplement Packaging

Translating Your Food Supplement Packaging: 3 Important Aspects to Consider

If you are a manufacturer of dietary supplements, functional drinks, or any other food with added health benefits, the whole world is now your potential marketplace.

Over the last few years, health-conscious consumers have fallen out of love with the idea of “dieting” and started to embrace an all over “healthy lifestyle”. The trend is set, and it’s already more than a fad: people want “real”, unprocessed food, possibly organic and sustainably farmed and they’re not afraid to take supplements to achieve optimum nutritional balance.

As a result, functional and fortified foods, dietary supplements and nutraceuticals are growing in popularity, and technology makes it easier than ever to export abroad.

Preparing your food supplement product packaging for a foreign market goes beyond translation. It’s also about making it fully compliant with local food regulations.

The first important distinction is whether the country you’re exporting to has a pre-market evaluation or not. In the US, for example, no approval is required to market food supplements. Manufacturers and distributors are responsible for their efficacy and safety. Canada, on the other hand, has a quite stringent pre-market approval process.

Whatever the case, translating your food supplement package correctly is something you’ll want to get right first time. Product recalls can happen anytime and for a variety of reasons: lack of ingredient compliance, misleading claims or incorrectly displayed labels.

Although regulations are always complicated for the uninitiated, here are three important aspects to consider when translating your packaging for a new market: Read more

What to do if your products are stuck at the border

What To Do If Your Products Are Stuck At the Border

Selling your products in another country sounds like a fantastic opportunity. In most cases, it is. However, it’s also more complicated than selling goods in just one country. Multilingual labelling is particularly tricky. Different regions have different requirements, and if your labels are found wanting, your products will likely end up stuck in limbo at the border.

Obviously, the potential business impact of such a mishap is enormous. If your products are stuck at  the border, they aren’t selling. If they aren’t selling, you’re losing money.

So, how do you get them moving again? The exact steps you need to take will vary depending on where your products are stuck, and why they’ve been barred from entry. That said, we’ve put together a guide to common labeling problems and solutions to get you started. Here’s what to do if your products get stuck at the border.

Common Labeling Issues

Labels matter. Here are 3 reasons your product labels might be rejected at the border.

Missing allergen information

Food allergies are a hot topic these days. Their frequency and severity seem to be on the rise, as is media attention on the subject. Food labelling regulations give allergy sufferers the ability to do things the rest of us take for granted. Like going to the shop, buying a chocolate bar, and eating it without going into shock.

When allergens aren’t labelled, tragedy can result.  For example, in the UK, two people died recently due to incorrectly marked sandwiches from popular ready-to-eat chain Pret A Manger. One victim, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, was only 15 years old and allergic to sesame. She read the label on the sandwich she picked up at the airport. Unfortunately, it didn’t list the sesame seeds baked into the bread. Under the current “fresh foods exception,” it didn’t have to.  She collapsed on the plane and died a few days later.

Incidents like these generate new labelling laws that can vary by country. The “fresh foods” loophole is likely to close soon in the UK, with the expected passage of “Natasha’s law.” Read more

Packaging regulation after Brexit

Translating packaging in a post-Brexit regulatory environment

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