This article was previously published in TechZone360.
The key to quickly entering new markets is an agile localization strategy
More than ever before, mid-market companies are looking to move beyond the domestic marketplace and sell more overseas. The key to entering new, global markets—and getting there before your competition—is an agile localization strategy.
Yet, when it comes to localization, many companies are still relying on old processes and outdated technology. To get the agility they need to quickly enter new global markets, companies need to look at localization as the linchpin to their globalization strategy.
A linchpin is a fastener used to prevent a wheel from sliding off the axle. Seth Godin’s best-selling business book, Linchpin, used “linchpin” to refer to an employee who is indispensable to an organization. Now—more than ever—localization is indispensable to organizations. It has become a critical tool, not only for helping the wheels of progress stay on, but also for propelling companies forward. Here’s why: the mid-market is betting its future on globalization.
Global is where the growth is
Mid-market companies are already prioritizing global expansion plans. A recent article in Chief Executive questioned whether mid-market companies would have an appetite for expanding into international markets in a post-Brexit world. But a report by the National Center for the Middle Market at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, “Winning in the Americas,” found that 92 percent of mid-market companies plan to sell more overseas. More than half of middle-market companies (54 percent) export to foreign markets, and the majority (43 percent) are already selling into one or two foreign markets.
One of the reasons for exploring new markets is the export potential. Worldwide exporting is predicted to increase exponentially. A 2016 Chief Executive article by Julie Ritzer Ross, “6 Secrets to Creating a Winning Globalization Strategy,” urged CEO’s to be the first to get out in front and catch the wave that will lead to “a quadrupling of worldwide exports to an estimated $68.5 trillion in the next 35 years.” That’s why localization will be the key to any organization’s globalization strategy.
Localization drives engagement
To be truly successful in a global marketplace, mid-market companies need to translate and localize their content to engage more customers. English is no longer the lingua franca of global business, so to reach international customers, companies need to localize their content.
A 2014 Common Sense Advisory survey of more than 3,000 global consumers in 10 countries found that 75 percent prefer to buy products in their native language. Another article, published on Tech.Co, uncovered three powerful reasons why mid-market companies should localize their content:
- Seventy percent of the world doesn’t speak English, yet 57 percent of websites contain only English.
- As many as two-thirds of Internet users are non-native English speakers, and this percentage share is growing rapidly.
- Over half of all Google searches are in languages other than English.
The globalization and localization industry growth rates cited by the Globalization & Localization Association (GALA) indicate that translation is becoming big business and it’s only going to get bigger. “The size of the overall global language industry in 2016 is estimated at $40 Billion (USD), with estimates of up to $45 Billion by 2020,” and “The projected growth rate is 6.5-7.5 percent annually through 2018.” The greater need for translation services will prove to be worth any investment. Simply put, localization drives revenue.
Localization drives revenue
There is a demonstrable link between an increase in localized content and translation spending and an increase in revenue generated in the targeted markets. At the 2015 Brand2Global conference, discussion centered on the importance of using translation strategy as a revenue generator. A follow-up Global Content Insights article, Localization Trends from Brand2Global, cited a conference session, headed by a content globalization strategist at Common Sense Advisory, reporting that companies are using localization as a “strategic business enabler” and that are increasing their translation budgets are more likely to see revenue increases.
Tech-enabled translation speeds time to market
So how do mid-market companies create a successful localization strategy? To quickly enter new markets, mid-market companies need to move away from the old, offline model of translation. If translation is done by emailing and downloading files, working with spreadsheets, and sending files using FTP, it won’t have the agility companies need to quickly enter new global markets, ahead of the competition.
Using an integrated, cloud-based translation management system (TMS) and tech-enabled language services providers (LSPs) isn’t just superior, it’s the only way to keep up. Cloud-based translation using Software as a Service (SaaS) enables continuous, 24/7 translation. It isn’t delayed by LSPs or linguists who work in different time zones. Investing in the latest translation technology gives your LSP vendors robust computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools that can improve the speed and efficiency of translation. Features like in-context review, translation memory, glossaries, and style guides enable both around-the-clock translation and real-time collaboration.
When companies recognize the importance of having a translation strategy, and use the latest technology to create agile localization of their content, they will be more successful when implementing and executing global expansion plans. Giving customers the information they need, in their own language, leads to better, more meaningful engagement. Mid-market companies that use the linchpin of localization will broaden their customer base, increase revenue and profits, and gain greater exposure for their brand and messaging.