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global branding & marketing from Interpro

Tuesday 25 May, 2010

The Chicagoland Chamber hosted a program organized by Interpro Translation Solutions:  How to Brand & Market Your Business Globally. Here are the presentations they gave.  Tom Earll of Nexus Business Solutions pretty much just read his presentation, so check that out there.  John Schwartz of Aumne added these tidbits to his presentation:

  • every department should have specific launch lists when launching new products
  • changing the translation for 2 words into 30 languages costs $1000, so get your translations right the 1st time
  • most local employees prefer translations to be done by professionals so they can focus on their real jobs rather than doing translations themselves
  • get foreign URL’s. (ex. co.uk, etc.)
  • small businesses should still follow the big guys in terms of style guides, etc.

Bill Johnson of Interpro contributed these beyond his presentation:

  • the best brands focus on cultural differences, i.e. even Coca Cola & McDonald’s alter their products to fit local tastes
  • never proof your own translations-hire professional linguists to do that
  • in-country translators are always better than transplants elsewhere because they are the most up-to-date
  • the top 10 localization companies control only 20% of the industry’s revenue in a $25B market, so no few firms have huge advantages over others

Q&A

  • make global connections through trade & business associations, academics, & government groups, such as foreign trade commissions & the US Dept. of Commerce
  • crowdsourcing & social media are a new sales channel & the future, so use Linkedin.com, discussion groups-the marketing mix has now changed into a virtual loop
  • search engine optimization in foreign countries is a different animal & must be done individually for each country/language:  choose key terms 1st, then translate them, keeping in mind that the context changes.  Whereas formerly headers & metatags determined search engine rankings, now it’s a soup of many different determinants, so in-country expertise is required.

As I’ve said many times before, localization is a great way to go global quickly, but I don’t see many firms doing it.  Although as a professional service, it’s not cheap, but the potential returns are great.  It’s also good to see someone in addition to SDL putting on these kinds of events-more information & education about localization can only help spur its growth.

disclaimer:  Interpro did sponsor the columns I contributed to MidwestBusiness.com in 2009.

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