According to Statista, global language services is set to become a $56.2bn industry by 2021, up from previous estimations by CSA Research that suggested we would be looking at a $47.5 billion industry by the same date.
This illustrates the continued growth of global language services, which continue to surpass expectations on a yearly basis – something international brands need to pay close attention to. If you are marketing to foreign-speaking audiences, chances are your competitors are investing more in language services on an annual basis and there are some important lessons to take from this trend.
Global business has become the norm
As John Manzella wrote for Bizjournals.com, “regardless of its size or function, a company and its employees can no longer escape the effects of international trends and events.” In other words, global business has become the norm and this explains why businesses of every size are investing more in language services. Even a relatively small online retailer needs to market to overseas markets to maximise profits and the internet has provided the perfect platform to reach audiences around the world.
The challenge for businesses in the modern world is to choose which markets to focus on and maximise their potential with each audience.
This might sound like a simple enough task with platforms like Google and Facebook connecting us with global audiences, but actually making an impact with them is a more difficult task than it first appears. Translation is the obvious solution to breaking down the expected language barriers standing between brands and foreign-speaking markets but it will not take you the whole way.
The reason we talk about global language services is because it takes a lot more than translation to hit business targets with international audiences.
Global language services: moving beyond translation
Let’s stick with the idea of a small-to-medium retailer for the sake of example. Translating product descriptions is the obvious place to start with targeting overseas buyers but you are never going to make the same kind of impact you do at home by translating your web copy directly into other languages.
With your English-speaking audiences, you invest time and effort into creating messages that strike a nerve with potential buyers. You highlight the key benefits of your products or services but there is a limit to how much you can do by directly translating content.
Product descriptions may (or may not) work with translation alone, but imagine something more complex like a Christmas promotion or a brand slogan. If you are targeting audiences in the Middle East or parts of Asia, there are far more important holidays than Christmas or the New Year during the same period. Furthermore festive customs vary a lot between different nations that celebrate Christmas. Understanding these variations is crucial to making “Christmas” campaigns work in international audiences and you will need to think about localising your content and marketing efforts.
As for slogans, we have explained before, why these are the perfect example of needing a more creative approach to translation, because all of the language devices that go into creating slogans, taglines and other marketing essentials are lost when you translate into other languages.
Dominate the conversation with global language services
The reason businesses are investing more in global languages services is because they recognise there is a multilingual race to corner international markets. It is the same as any kind of conversation: if you wait for someone else to get their point across, you have already lost your opportunity. In global business, timing is everything and there are thousands of businesses trying to make the same kind of impact you are.
The problem with going global is that your competition increases exponentially, and beating your rivals to the mark is everything.
It is difficult enough to create a unique brand voice in your home market and doing this in multiple languages is infinitely more challenging. Global language services allow you to create a unique voice that differentiates your brand in every market whilst maintaining the same core values you want to get across back home.