Tips to Overcome the Language Barrier When Doing Business Overseas

(Last Updated On: September 16, 2015)

Any local business will get to a point when its target market has been saturated with its products and this is where the decline starts. The only solution to this problem is to expand into new markets, but this would pose quite a few issues that need to be solved in order to be successful. The main concern here would be the language barrier.

Some people would think that English has become a global language so everyone will use it; therefore, using English on a company site would be quite enough. While in some cases this might be true, in general it proves to be false. Numerous studies indicate that people are a lot more eager to buy a product if it is presented in their native tongue. This is where that dreadful language barrier appears. Luckily, there are ways to overcome the obstacle.

Tips to overcome the language barrier when expanding overseas

Unlike casual conversations where we might get lost in translation with no risks, when it comes to business everything changes – a small translation mistake can have disastrous consequences. Thus, relying on English when doing business with non-native speakers is a bad idea.

To cope with the language barrier, a business needs to use a professional translation agency to translate and localize their materials to the local market. A good translation and localization can make a huge difference in how a business is seen in the foreign market.

The most important reason why such a company needs professional service on translation is that of quality. Poor quality translation will have a negative effect on the brand and might have the opposite effect: instead of getting people into buying, it will make them go away.

Another language barrier an expanding company needs to overcome is that of customer support. Once you sell your product, you have to insure your customers receive a quality service. Depending on the type of product or service, a company might need bilingual employees on their support department.

A big mistake a company could make is to partially translate their materials into the target language. While there is some logic in the following phrase – Why would I spend money on translating user manuals into a foreign language when I don’t have customers speaking that language? – This is a mistake in the long run. What do you do when you get a foreign customer? Run to the translation agency to ask them to quickly translate that manual? This is unprofessional, could lead into issues with the customer and could cost the business owner a lot more due to rush fees.

Once you have your website translated and all your marketing/support materials localized, you can say you’re ready for those customers you wanted so bad to have. Besides launching your marketing campaign, there is another thing you can do to attract more customers: search engine optimization. You won’t see instant results but when done properly, it will get you a great deal of benefits in time.

This about sums it up, are you ready to take the global route and overcome the language barrier in your run to getting more customers?