The maxim, “You only have one chance to make a first impression,” has even greater significance for both online and physical retailers operating in foreign markets. Translation for retail products and services sit at the forefront of communication with your customers, and you have to get them right. From the sensitive moment when you are trying to convince an online browser in a foreign market to buy your product, to the notes included in the packaging, your communication must have the correct linguistic quality and the most appropriate tone. You business counts on it.
Quality Retail Translations: Proven Every Day Around The World
Indopak brings this understanding to the hundreds of retail translations we do every week for some of the top retailers in the world. Customer touch points can make or break a buyer’s impression of the product and the company selling it. Grammar errors, wrong style of language (too formal or too casual), or inappropriate tone can disappoint existing customers and send window shoppers to your competition. Nobody wants to feel that their culture and language is second-tier — professional translations will give them the impression the communication was written just for them.
Process and Consistency
In addition to compelling language, retail translations also require a long-term consistent process. Getting your communication to market in one language – from product photography to copy writing and layout editing of forms — is complicated enough. The complexity is geometric if you don’t have a good plan for the sim-ship of the multilingual assets. Indopak has the technology and the experience required to work consultatively with you to create a process that meets your specific requirements. We review your schedules, evaluate your software platforms, and determine the best way to extract the text, translate it using photos or other contextual reference materials, and insert it back into your system with the least impact to your schedule. For online stores, we also review the translations “in context” in a browser to make sure the implementation goes smoothly.
Tone, Terminology, and Culture
Establishing the proper tone is key to successful online sales. For each project, we begin by collaborating with management and copywriters to establish the tone required for each market. This is not always the same as the original – for example, where bubbly and enthusiastic might work for the US market, Nordic countries respond better to a more straight-forward, factual presentation of product information. We interview key stakeholders in the target language country and together with our Editing team, establish clear guidelines for how to write for each market. These are documented in your Style Guide, our translation team are trained on it, and our Editors enforce it.
There is little more valuable than your Brand. Significant resources go into creating and maintaining your brand in the original language. Indopak makes sure that the effort is not lost in translation. We maintain a complete glossary of terms for each market that our technology automatically suggests to the translators on every new translation. The glossary is created by the Editor upon receipt of new text to be translated. The Editor chooses terms that should be pre-translated and approved, usually terms that are either difficult or questionable, and translates those terms. The updated glossary is sent to the client for review and approval, and then it is uploaded to our system. During the translation phase, the system suggests these terms to the translators when they appear, so that the translator knows there is already a preferred translation. The Editor then ensures that these terms have been used correctly. This provides an unparalleled consistency across customer-facing communications and strengthens your brand’s voice in foreign markets.
Retail brings its own unique issues regarding terminology, especially for proper nouns. Product names are culturally influenced and it’s not unusual for a product name to change as it enters foreign markets. For example, we manage the online store for a well-known entertainment producer, and their character names are as a rule different in every country. Traditional translation must be supplemented by “transcreation” and a firm grasp of the company’s internal database of proper nouns. Indopak manages this process by coordinating with the marketing and creative teams to ensure correct terminology is used in each market. Additionally, retail product translation often has a significant internal repetition – short descriptions are often a subset of long descriptions, and keywords are standard across products. Our technology automatically identifies these repetitions and reuses approved translations to maintain consistency across your products, shorten the time for translation, and reduce cost.
Much has been written about cultural sensitivity, but much of what matters is simply implicit into the culture – the “unwritten rules.” That’s where having a global team with in-country resources is so important. The best way to avoid a cultural gaffe is to have people that will see the products on the shelf work on project.
Personal Attention — Proven Performance
At Indopak, someone is always available to support you. Our global production team covers the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe/Middle East. By working with industry leaders, such as Walmart, Zazzle, Ferrari, Jarden, and more, we have developed specialized knowledge of the consumer retail industry. Our commitment is to serve our clients with flexibility and personal attention to their specific translation needs.
Tips for retail industry localization
As a retail professional, you might be wondering: what do I need to know about localization? For starters, let’s talk about what you can do to create the biggest impact for your business.
Arguably the most important piece of advice on retail industry localization—which carries across every aspect of retail promotion you’ll do—is to get personal. And we mean that in a good way.
Get personal with your sales and specials
Plastering banner ads all over your website announcing your mega Cyber Monday sale won’t mean much to Chinese Web visitors, who’ve got their own cyber-spending blitz, Singles Day. To appeal to locals, be sure your sales and special promotions align with their cultural values.
For example, let’s say a major shoe retailer has a brick-and-mortar store in Brazil and gets their non-local marketing agency to create in-store signage promoting a sale. Even if one of the agency’s non-local employees is Brazilian by birth, he or she can’t create culturally relevant, current messaging. That’s because only lifelong residents live and breathe the culture scene.
To avoid this disconnect, we work with local marketing specialists who are native to the target country. This allows us to create truly personalized translations or transcreations that will strike a chord with the audience.
Your retail industry localization checklist
So now that we have the personal angle covered—what other things can you do to support your retail company’s localization strategy? Let’s briefly go over each one.
Localize your product descriptions
What’s worse than missing product descriptions? Poorly translated ones. If consumers see obvious errors in product descriptions that go beyond simple typos, they could easily start to question the store’s trustworthiness. Professional in-country linguists are vital.
Feature translated product reviews
Few things are as persuasive as user-generated product reviews. They are a tremendously powerful asset. If you have glowing reviews in different languages, translate them and use them to your advantage. Here’s a great blog from PitneyBowes that expounds on this.
Customize your marketing campaigns
This goes hand in hand with local promotions, mentioned above. Be sure your campaigns speak the local language in all ways—featuring their favored words and phrases, popular media and sports stars, design and color preferences, culture-based mores, etc.
Perform website and mobile app localization
We can’t over-emphasize the importance of website localization to reach your multilingual customer base. And with 26 percent of transactions happening on mobile, which keeps rising, mobile app localization is a good item to move up on your list.
Prioritize multilingual SEO
Once you’ve spent time and money adapting your website, be sure that your audiences can find it. Simply translating your source site keywords directly into the target language won’t suffice. People in different countries use different keywords and phrases to find what they’re seeking—so go local on the multilingual SEO front, too.
Translate your social media content
Listening to your customers, answering questions, addressing complaints, monitoring chatter about your brand, offering social-only specials . . . Global social media offers great opportunities to serve your customers. Just be sure to create a workable strategy.
Set up multilingual online customer chat
As many as 90 percent of customers consider live chat helpful, according to an ATG Global Consumer Trend study. Offering live chat to your customers could prolong the time they spend on your retail site and increase customer loyalty. To get started, consider these best practices.
Go international, stay unified
Remember that as you expand your international retail presence—whether by brick and mortar, bricks and clicks, or online only—it’s crucial to keep a unified global brand identity. Weave your core brand values into everything you do, across all markets, and you’ll strengthen your brand’s position in the marketplace.
Do you have specific questions about retail industry localization? Give us a shout. Our experts would love to help.