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Localising for several markets | A guide to product and service localisation

Looking to localise your products and services for multiple markets? Read our advice learned through hundreds of successful localisation projects in this post.

Localising for several markets","A guide to product and service localisation<\/h1>\r\nOver the last few years, we\u2019ve had the privilege of working on some exciting localisation projects.\u00a0 From hotels opening in Qatar, to retail giants entering European markets, to a B2B recycling brand transforming into one of Europe\u2019s largest, we\u2019ve used every opportunity to optimise our processes.\r\n\r\nSome of the most interesting examples are when one brand has targeted their products and services at multiple markets at once.\u00a0 This brings inherent challenges, but challenges that we have become really good at overcoming.\r\n\r\nWe wanted to share some of these experiences in this post, as well as some of the things that didn\u2019t go so well, and how we fixed them.\r\n\r\n[caption id=\"attachment_8379\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"680\"]\"Opel-Astra-localisation-example\" Vauxhall models are called \"Opel\" on the continent[\/caption]\r\n

The Ultimate Guide to Localising for Multiple Markets<\/span><\/h2>\r\nTo make things really easy to digest, we\u2019ve planned our experiences into 6 tips that will help make sure your localisation project goes well,<\/ins> when targeting multiple markets at once.\r\n\r\nBut first, what is localisation anyway?\u00a0 I mean, is it just another word for translation?\u00a0 Actually, not exactly.\r\n\r\nI\u2019m spelling localisation with an \u201ds\u201d as opposed to a \u201cz\u201d (localization), since this article is mainly targeted at the UK market.\u00a0 And that\u2019s a hint to what localisation is actually about.\r\n\r\nGALA (Globalisation and Localisation Association) defines localisation as:\r\n\r\n\u201cLocalization (sometimes referred to as \u201cl10n\u201d) is the process of adapting a product or content to a specific locale or market. Translation is only one of several elements of the localization process\u201d<\/i>\r\n\r\nA good example of this might be patient information.\u00a0 If you were writing patient information in Polish for the UK-based Poles, you would refer to the NHS.\u00a0 Meanwhile if you were localising for Poles in Poland you\u2019d refer to the Polish system.\r\n\r\nThis is just one example the process of localisation basically turns a literal translation into a comprehensive and fluid document that reads as if it has been written in the target language.\r\n\r\nContent localisation also could include a whole host of services such as adapting products and services ready for new markets, adapting images and adapting designs to fit the new market.\r\n\r\nIn this post, we focus mainly on the linguistic aspects.\r\n\r\n\"language\r\n

Tip One: Treat every country differently<\/h3>\r\nThis comes down to messaging, and the key is that you should treat every country differently.\r\n\r\nEach country has its own culture and approach.\u00a0 For instance, even the US and UK have been described as two countries separated by one common language.\u00a0 In essence, even though they speak the same language, a completely different approach is needed for each.\r\n\r\nWhen localising your products and services, be careful that you don\u2019t assume different regions have the same tastes, no matter how similar they are.\r\n\r\nThe bestselling wafer in Czech Republic and Slovakia since 1953 was introduced to Poland in 2007 under its original name \u201cHoralky\u201d (Hora\/Gora means a mountain in Slavic languages).\r\n\r\nIn spite of the similarities between the languages, one key difference is that where Slovaks use a \u201ch\u201d, Poles often use a \u201cg\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe product did fairly well, but it was when the product changed its name to \u201cG\u00f3ralki\u201d in 2012 that it started to fulfil its potential in Poland.\u00a0 While sometimes products can seem desirable when spelt differently, in this case perhaps it was the proximity between the countries that made the product seem less desirable with the original brand name.\r\n

Tip Two:\u00a0 Do Use Sector Specialists<\/h3>\r\nWhatever localisation firm you\u2019re working with, make sure they hire the right kind of linguists for your project.\r\n\r\nFor example, if your services are related to the Oil and Gas sector, you should get a linguist who has experience in this sector, and is familiar with terminology.\r\n\r\nEven though we would always use sector specialists it always helps to have a little guidance from you.\u00a0 This can come in the form of style guides, glossaries or a translation brief.\u00a0 But even just an email with some information about the intended use of the document or reference material can go a long way.\r\n\r\n\"technical\r\n

Tip Three:\u00a0 Do Develop Tone Guidelines<\/h3>\r\nWhen you localise for multiple markets, that means mistakes might be multiplied too.\r\n\r\nAs a content manager myself, my advice to you is to develop some guidelines from your end, before letting the localisation company run with your project.\u00a0 Any brand guidelines, style sheets and terminology guides will be useful to maintain complete control of your brand and avoid a fragmented approach.\r\n\r\nFor instance, we worked with one recycling brand a few months back, as I mentioned in the introduction.\u00a0 Before our linguists started working on the project, the whole brand identity was solidified through a process of developing style guides and messaging plans.\r\n\r\nThis was fed with research in each country, and then our team of linguists got involved.\r\n\r\nThis seems like a good time to tell you about transcreation, which is \u201ccreative translation\u201d.\u00a0 Rather than directly translating content, high impact content such as slogans and introductions can be translated this way, to ensure maximum impact.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s exactly what we did with the recycling company.\u00a0 For every language, we developed a style guide, terminology and eventually slogans that would work in each country.\u00a0 With one Eastern European country, our transcreators and in-house linguists were arguing for hours (and what felt like days) about the nuance of just one slogan.\r\n\r\nEventually we launched an amazing brand across 8 languages, and the company has seen a huge positive impact with growth of 560% in the countries we worked on.\r\n

Tip Four:\u00a0 Think about Images and Design<\/h3>\r\nFor many countries images and design are OK to stay the same.\r\n\r\nHowever, bear in mind that according to\u00a0Color Marketing Group<\/a>, colour can be up to 85% of the\u00a0<\/strong>reason people buy. \u00a0Think about McDonalds, Coca-Cola or Pepsi and it\u2019s easy to imagine why colour\u00a0increases\u00a0brand recognition<\/strong>\u00a0by up to 80 percent.\r\n\r\nBrands like Coca-Cola use a different shade of red and different web layouts for every country.\u00a0 For example, compare


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