When you do business in multiple countries, you need to know how to communicate with customers, employees and other stakeholders. It’s more than just knowing the language. It requires understanding regulations to deliver the right technical content; recognizing cultural norms and sensitivities to produce the most effective marketing communications; and knowing where to focus translation efforts by selecting the languages most likely to grow your global footprint and bottom line.
Whether you’ve been translating content for years or are just starting to expand your international presence, the best opportunities come from translating into these languages.
There are nearly 1 billion people living in China, many of whom speak Mandarin. Meanwhile, China is an emerging economy. This adds up to a very lucrative business market – and an important language to incorporate into your business strategy.
The Chinese consumer market will present interesting challenges. On one hand, spending slowed dramatically during the pandemic, particularly in-store spending. On the other hand, the need to stay at home created demand for optimum digital experiences, health and wellness products and an unusual mix of low cost in some categories and high value in others.
With 483 million native speakers around the globe, Spanish is one of the most prolific languages. Speakers can be found in the United States, South America, Central America and Spain, but you’ll also find a few in Africa and Asia. Translating into Spanish creates a great opportunity to grow your audience – but it also presents unique challenges.
Consumers in all these countries may speak a similar language, but their purchasing behavior isn’t the same. Neither are the dialects they use. You may find more opportunity in Spain or Colombia than in Argentina or Puerto Rico, or maybe you want to enter all these countries. You’ll need a custom strategy for each market: not just dialect, but also product mix and marketing messages.
Bloomberg Businessweek once named French the third-most important non-English language for business, after Mandarin and Spanish. It’s spoken throughout Europe, North America, Asia, the Caribbean and Africa. Interestingly, the region with the most French speakers isn’t Europe – it’s Africa.
While Europe and North America remain lucrative targets for a French translation strategy, Africa not only has 141 million French speakers and a rapid rate of adoption, but also several emerging economies. As with Spanish, each French-speaking country varies in terms of purchasing behavior and dialect. Crafting a separate strategy for each market, while challenging, results in a larger customer base.
There are 310 million Arabic speakers around the world. It’s considered a major business market for multiple industries, including finance, telecommunications and the industrial sector. It’s also seeing a strong demand for smart devices and other electronic products, making it a fertile market for selling products and forming business partnerships.
Part of succeeding in the Middle East requires understanding what Middle East consumers are looking for: personalized offers, microtargeting and lower costs. This means translating your content into Arabic, but it also means adapting it to meet these needs.
Russia is a lucrative market for two reasons: 1) Russian companies are primed to work with American companies, and 2) before the pandemic, Russians were becoming frequent world travelers. However, only 25% of the country’s population knows a second language, so translation into Russian is essential for entering this market.
Businesses that want to partner with Russian firms will need to translate proposals, contracts and other business communications to build fruitful relationships. While tourism from Russia plummeted during 2020, companies seeking to attract post-COVID crowds, particularly in popular destinations like Turkey and China, will create content that speaks to visitors in their mother tongue.
Hindi is the primary language spoken by 900 million people living in an emerging economy that’s expected to become the third-largest by 2030. That’s why Hindi is landing on more and more lists of languages to incorporate into translation strategies.
It’s not just that the population is large – it’s that the middle class is growing. More disposable income creates a desire to spend on more than just the necessities. Smartphones, TVs and other appliances and electronics are in big demand, but the money spent on travel is increasing among younger consumers. This makes Hindi a viable language for tech, housewares and travel and tourism.
This language makes sense if you plan to enter the consumer market in Brazil, South America’s largest economy, or in Portugal. However, it’s also widely spoken in Latin American countries like Uruguay and Venezuela, and even a few African nations like Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. Add in the Portuguese-speaking communities in other countries across the globe and you have a total of 275 million speakers.
This makes Portuguese the sixth most spoken language in the world – and a potentially powerful part of your translation strategy going forward. Despite a recent slowdown, Brazil is still one of the largest economies in the world, and it has a relatively young population, making it a prime target for mobile companies and app developers.
With 200 million speakers and a growing middle class in Indonesia, it’s worth translating your materials into Indonesia, particularly if you want deeper penetration in the ASEAN market.
A particular focus for this region is e-commerce, where sales in Indonesia increased 20 percent between 2017 and 2018. A translation strategy that includes equal parts transcreation and localization could generate more revenue from Indonesia, particularly for companies that sell fashion, electronics or digital media.
To reach your target audience, you need to know how to speak to them. Grow your business globally by adding these languages to your translation strategy, and you’ll increase the chances of your messages being heard by the people who want to buy from you.
Whether you’re beginning a translation strategy or scaling one up, Ubiqus can help you reach your goals. Click here to learn more about our translation services, or request a quote to get started on a project.
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