Doing business globally – Tips & Tricks

As the world economy bounces back, many businesses are looking to expand their customer base by targeting international markets. It has been estimated that there are almost 2 billion people online, with almost 75% of this population being based in non-English speaking countries.

To succeed in the global business environments, manufacturers, distributors and service providers must remain efficient, clear and concise in communicating with international stakeholders. The most common mistake businesses continue to make are leaving the highly complex translation process to the last minute with no proper budget, time and resource allocation and as a result, the translation can become overwhelming.

Organisations considering the provision of multilingual content should treat translation and localization as a critical path event, not merely an afterthought, in the product marketing life cycle.

To put some perspective on the issue, consider this: how long does it take a team of marketers, copywriters and editors to agree on a passage of text to be used on promotional material that clearly articulates the meaning that is trying to be conveyed? Weeks, even months! The job of a translator is to ensure that the same message is being conveyed from the source language into the target language. If an organisation can understand the importance of conveying a message in English correctly, then they should surely understand that to convey that same message in a foreign language needs the same level of diligence.

Below are three tips for international business communication:

#1 Understand the language barriers that may be faced in different countries and get a professional translation service for times where you are doing business globally. Failing to inform your stakeholders in their native language may not only come across as rude, but may also breach legislative prescriptions.

#2 Understand cultural differences and sensitivities. Religion, values, beliefs and customary traditions all have to be taken into account when marketing overseas. Innocent remarks may offend your target markets

#3 Utilise the power of the internet. The internet is an incredible communication channel for small businesses that can help bridge the gap with foreign markets. The increasing use of social media and the advertising platforms they offer should be explored. Advertising and Google AdWords (although this has been around for some time) gives businesses the ability to compete globally and at a competitive advantage to businesses that fail in adapting to the online world. Websites such as Mashable are a fantastic way to stay up to date with developments in social media.