Expanding Your Business Globally: How To Overcome Language Barriers


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Every business reaches that point in their life where they are ready to expand. Expansion is the key to business growth, and without it, you’ll eventually grow stagnant. However, business growth brings with it a whole host of unique problems that you’ll have to overcome. How can my business operate overseas? How can I set up offices off-shore? How can I train my staff in other languages?

It’s that last part that will likely prove the most tricky. What if you find someone that is perfect for a job you have in mind, but they don’t speak your language fluently? What if you can’t fully operate in a certain country because you simply lack the in-house skills to deal with their language? It’s one thing to expand, but if you don’t overcome those language barriers, you’ll be swamped as quickly as you arrived.

So, here are a couple of essential tips for expanding and conquering. Language barriers, that is. Remember that you won’t get very far without effective consumer communication!

Focus On The Essential Translating Jobs. When you’re first starting out, you may want to translate everything. Literally, everything. This is a bad idea, for many reasons. One, you’ll lose sight of the essentials – i.e., the public facing content. It’s no use translating your internal documents when they aren’t needed in that language. Focus on everything consumer-related to begin with, then grow over time.

Two, you’ll spread yourself too thin. Expansion is a time and money consuming endeavour, so it’s important that you tighten up your resources effectively. Like any job, focusing on the essentials can produce the best results for the smallest amount of effort.

Outsource To A Translation Provider. More often than not, global expansion requires a ton of help. Since language barriers aren’t something you can overcome fast, outsourcing them would be a good idea.

Investing in translation services will provide your business with 100 percent accurate translation services. It’s a tricky business to involve yourself in, so is imperative to get right. Fully understanding the language used in a particular country, including slang terms and metaphors, is key. Successful business is about communication, and you won’t get very far overseas by yourself.

Be Sure To Localize Web Pages. Your website will often be many users first impression of your business. In fact, over 85 percent of consumers use the Internet to locate local businesses. This in mind, you’ll want to make sure your website is ready for them, and is ready to be displayed in any language.

Localizing your website can help you directly communicate with people from all walks of life. No matter their culture, background or age, if they can read your content, you have a good chance of engaging them.

Whether you’re entering the Chinese market or the Spanish, be sure to have enough content ready for those people. Even if it means doing something as simple as linking your site to a translation tool. It won’t produce the best results, but it’ll work as a temporary solution.