What to translate when breaking into new markets


When entering a new market translation and localisation should be at the top of the priority list. So, what are the first things you should have translated to get the most impact? There are few things that are a must for the first day, and some can wait till you get some traction.


Translation of business cards should be done as a priority. It is relatively inexpensive to have the business cards translated and at the same time they convey straight away that you are serious about the market.


For B2B sales the suggested translation order is:

  1. Business cards translation
  2. Translation of a flyer
  3. Translation of a brochure
  4. Website translation


Once the cards are translated the next suggested step would be to translate a one page flyer. This can then be attached to emails, used at exhibitions or added to the website and blog. Again, the translation will be relatively inexpensive but can help with breaking the ice.


The next project should be translation of your brochures. It is crucial to have the foreign versions professionally typeset in the same format as the English copy. The design might have to be localised depending on the local culture and norms. For instance,  Arabic reads from right to left, so the entire brochure should be ‘flipped’ vertically in order for retain the brochure’s flow.


You might also consider changing images in the translated brochure depending on the market, as the Western style images might not work too well in some countries.


The brochures are usually used as leave behinds, therefore, it’s suggested that you’d only need it once you start getting some traction in the market, so the expenditure should be easy to justify at this stage. Also, brochures are usually updated much less frequently than websites which means the translated brochures should last at least few months before they’re out of date.


Now, we’re getting to the website. Translation of a website is usually a considerable investment. It should be planned in advance and you should have a plan for the continuous updates. Websites that rank high on Google and other search engines are frequently updated. Therefore, your website translation budget should factor in all future updates so you can keep the translated version up to date. For that reason we would suggest not to rush into website translation until you have some revenue from the market.


The above suggestions are based around minimising the translation expenditure and gaining most out of it. This process will not be best for all businesses, and every case should be reviewed on it’s own merit. Some businesses might never need face to face meetings to sell their products, so business card translation will be irrelevant. However, we do believe the suggested order should bring best ROI on translation for many companies.

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