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Language operation is playing a big role in any global organizations nowadays. Ever since companies realized how much an impact it would make by presenting their products & services in local languages, more and more efforts are being put in to achieving the most efficient language operations possible. Speaking of global market strategy, language operation surely is one of the most crucial aspects, which can prove decisive in the success of a market expansion. A recent study in 2020 carried out by CSA Research has pointed out some convincing statistical fact about global customers’ habit in the face of being presented with content in their own language or not.

  1. “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy.”

“Can’t Read, Won’t Buy” is the name of the study, which had Kantar, a multinational company as the survey field. With the final sample of 8,709 customer responses from 29 countries, the research yielded some interesting figures concerning language operations.

Sixty-five percent (65%) of the respondents prefer content in their native language, even if it is of poor quality. Moreover, 73% of the customers want product reviews in their own language. The two figures briefly pointed out that, ignoring the fact that many people cannot or can only partially understand foreign languages, they have a high tendency to trust contents in their native language, especially if it appears original and familiar such as product reviews in their language. Another big figure worth mentioning, is 40%, of the respondents, will not buy unless it is their native language they being presented to. There are many possible reasons to why it is like this now, but it probably comes down to the two most important factors: understandability and trustworthiness.

  1. Read first, then buy!

There have been, undeniably, successful international marketing operations in the past which did not involve good language operations or any language operations at all. For example, the Appeton Weight Gain food supplement for underweight people TV advertisement in the early 2000s in Vietnam featured no Vietnamese language at all; however, the extremely creative cinematic made the 20 seconds long advertisement so hilarious and memorable for generations. Another example involving KFC, a worldwide recognized fast-food chain. In the late 1980s, they launched a marketing campaign in China. Their famous slogan “Finger-lickin’ good” was accidentally translated to “Eat your fingers off” which, actually, did not hurt them at all; in fact, KFC has become the top fast-food chain in China since then!

However, time has changed. Nowadays, a good first impression with local customers does not have as big an impact as it was a decade ago. Customers nowadays mostly all have internet access, and they have the tendency to evaluate all choices possible in the process of buying a product or services. Online content plays a bigger and bigger role every day, and not only do the contents need to be looking good for the eyes to catch attention among thousands of others, they need to contain details which are comprehensible for customers who like to do researches. All of these urge for global organizations to have a standard for language operations across different local regions and countries.

What, are the standards they should be looking for?

  1. Measuring the success of language operations

According to a 2021 research by Unbabel, a language platform designer company, 46% out of 1,000 decision-makers at global mid-market and enterprise organizations said that translation quality would be the most important factor to consider. The quality of translation then, is indicated by the top factors which included “Translated content correctly conveys the meaning of the original text” with 38% of the respondents believe so, “Proper communication of the company’s brand standards” with 37% and “Words and expressions resonate with the target audience” (35%).

In order to maintain standards such as these in various types of contents: videos, images, social media posts, written… companies need personnel that understand and know how to create suitable contents for marketing purposes. Not only that, they would need to have a system which allows them to be aware and in control of the contents made available to the public. It is a high effort work, with increasing cost nowadays, language operations. That is why, there are more and more language localization and language consultation services nowadays. These agencies seek to find the best experts in language and marketing, which help them deliver the much needed services to foreign direct investment companies and other types of foreign organizations. Via the help of these agencies, companies worldwide can find a way, a platform to communicate their best to the intended customers.

However, companies and organizations should not be too readily relied on their language service agencies. For a fact, no agencies can understand your company better than you do. Therefore, companies have to make sure to find a language partner that can understand and fulfill their needs, and most importantly, work together with them.


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