Companies who seek new sources of revenue will eventually invest in market expansion. Two particular markets—U.S. residents who don’t speak English, and global markets outside the U.S.—are always near the top of the list of possible new markets. And it includes customer- focused language solution.
Those organizations achieving their desired return on investment (ROI) when expanding utilize a customer-focused approach comprised of the following:
- sophisticated translation and transcreation
- thoughtful and knowledgeable cultural adaptation
- a project scope extending beyond taglines and slogans and encompassing customer training and support
- alignment of marketing and sales activities in the target markets
“Customer focused.” An overused term? Perhaps. But when it comes to targeting potential customers whose first language isn't English, anything less won’t help you achieve your desired objectives. Let’s explore what makes a customer-focused language solution different, and the ROI it offers.
The Opportunity: Invest in Growth
The world is becoming smaller. Translation services provide a clear pathway to growth and building value by enabling you to reach out to non-English speaking communities both domestically and internationally.
- One in five U.S. residents speaks a language other than English.
- In the five largest U.S. cities, around half of residents speak a language other than English at home.
- International markets are also growing exponentially as new economies emerge and stronger players step forward to offer their own products and services.
Companies that ignore these potential customers—or fail to reach them successfully—miss out on short-term growth. They also endanger future opportunities as they lose the chance to build loyalty among a rapidly-growing demographic.
Language services are a proven differentiator and offer a competitive edge in these markets. For example, a Common Sense Advisory survey recently found more than 85% of customers in the financial services and insurances industries cited language services as a critical factor in their decision to purchase. In other sectors, almost half of customers won’t browse or consider offers outside their language.
So, what’s the takeaway? Soon, businesses that ignore language services won’t be able to compete with companies that embrace them, and organizations using language services will outpace, outgrow, and outearn their competitors.
The Investment: Available Services
When you are putting together a market expansion strategy and budget, there is a variety of language services available for you to choose from.
- Interpretation: Of the top five economies in the world, people in four of them do not speak English as their first language. Utilizing interpretation services will help you be sensitive to cultural nuances and create the opportunity for differentiation in a competitive, non-English speaking market.
- Translation: Nearly half of the potential customers will not shop in a second language. If customers are in one of those aforementioned top five economies, their preferred shopping language is likely not English.
- Localization: 60% of customers cite a personalized experience as the reason for repeat business. Localization takes translation a step further to create a culturally sensitive, engaging experience in the target language.
- Testing and Training: Whether hiring and staffing in the target language or seeking talent who have proficiency in English, companies need assurance that their employees possess the necessary language skills to be successful. Trusted testing and training services will help you confirm that your employees and potential hires have the language skills you need.
- Transcreation: Once companies have a stake in a new language market, they'll often translate existing copy into the target language. Soon after, they'll want to create entirely new materials in the target language, as well. Transcreation allows companies to focus on developing content that "feels" as if it was made in the target language or for the target audience, though it may not have been. Transcreation takes into account the tone, style, and intent of the content, and not just the words themselves.
Leveraging all or combining some of these language services will form the foundation of a thoughtful language services approach.
Utilizing language solutions can create measurable benefits across multiple departments in your company.
Marketing departments have a significant number of responsibilities: messaging, targeting, branding, funnels—the list goes on. Accurate translation and cultural adaptation are important in all of these areas. Translation failures can significantly derail efforts and threaten growth.
For example, in 2016, Nike unveiled a special edition of its iconic Air Force One sneaker. The design included Chinese characters meant to convey traditional New Year's greetings. Apart, the characters read "be prosperous" and "have fortune." However, when wearers put the two shoes together, the combined characters suggested: "get fat." Proper translation and localization efforts would have caught the language issue long before the shoes hit the shelves.
Accurate communication to customers creates better leads for the sales teams once customers head down the pipeline from marketing. For example, sales could waste a lot of time correcting misinformed customers or answering low-level questions because critical information was missing from marketing materials.
Translation also provides the foundation for launching into new markets or bringing new products to existing markets. Translation and localization efforts help increase sales by improving customers' knowledge of products and services, providing an edge in search engine optimization (SEO) for online sales. Translating and localizing website content creates keywords in the target language and brings in more customers from local markets. In fact, 75% of customers would purchase products or services again if after-sales care is provided in their native language.
Onboarding a new customer and then retaining them is vital to long-term business success. Retaining existing customers costs five to 25 times less than attracting new ones.
Expert translation services help support teams provide valuable services such as efficient onboarding and continued customer engagement. As customers receive fast, helpful service in their language, support teams become one more bridge to customer loyalty in the new market and contribute to strong financial performance.
Frequently, one of the first steps for enterprises planning to expand is to open offices in their target area or bring on new employees. HR can leverage language services to recruit top talent in a target market, help new employees feel comfortable, and reduce costly misunderstandings. Translation and localization services also provide a foundation for an inclusive and consistent corporate culture.
Language solution services also help put employees at ease when used to localize contracts and benefits materials in the languages those employees speak, reducing the time lost to unnecessary misunderstandings or unanswered questions. In addition, translation and localization can improve eLearning experiences as well. As lack of career development is a significant driver for costly employee attrition, valuable eLearning content made accessible in the target language can reduce those attrition rates and become another way to attract and secure top talent.
The Power of Smart Language Services
Expanding companies can reach new customers with thoughtful language solution services that honor cultural differences. As the world gets smaller, companies that can provide valuable services in the native languages of their target audiences will find themselves better positioned for market expansion and will avoid embarrassing missteps that could alienate non-English speakers. Find out how BIG Language Services is disrupting the language solution services market by providing impactful, valuable solutions for today's global business world. Contact us to transform your business.
About Language Link
At Language Link, we excel at helping our customers grow their brands through our translation and interpretation services. Headquartered in Vancouver, Washington and incorporated in 1991, Language Link has 30 years of experience as a full-service multilingual communication agency. We have highly-qualified linguists working in over 240 languages and dialects. We also offer a comprehensive suite of translation options, including audio visual services and eLearning and website localization, as well as Over-the-Phone and Video Remote Interpretation.