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The importance of language in marketing

In today’s fast paced society, globalization has become one of the most important things for any company. For many companies in growth, globalization means expanding business practices to countries across the globe. With this growing need, language and translation have become a vital part of a business’ success.


The significance of language in international marketing

To fully understand the importance of language, let’s take a look at some of the most important facts about the industry. The global language services industry was estimated to reach almost 60 billion U.S. dollars in 2022. The largest language services market is in Europe, holding 50% of the world market followed with North America at 37% and Asia at nearly 10%.

At a glance, these numbers easily demonstrate the growing need for translation and localization on a global scale. As a marketer, it is important to realize that targeting different cultural groups consists of transmitting a message that fits that particular target market. In other words, this means that investing in translation to globalize your product is essential to the growth and success of your business. With over 6,500 languages worldwide, translating and managing content has become more and more difficult. Each country has its own unique culture and various marketing concepts that fit their individual needs.

This generally means that although language is extremely important, so is culture. In order to successfully market your brand in different languages, it is important to educate yourself and understand purchasing behaviors in order to adapt and convey your brand image. By targeting a variety of language speakers, you are gaining exposure and creating brand awareness in different cultures.

One of the most prominent examples would be Portuguese. Although spoken and understood both in Portugal and Brazil, when it comes to using it as a means of more purposeful communication like in advertising – both locales function separately and are not to be confused with each other.

Another one that often comes to mind would be the difference between French used in France and Canada, so let’s look at it from an actual perspective of a brand. While Coke would typically just translate their global marketing campaigns, Pepsi has taken a different approach in its now-20-years-old campaign and has since outsold Coke in Quebec. The takeaway is that if you really want to go global, you need to go really local first.

Why is language in marketing important ?

Translation allows for better receptiveness, thus permitting potential buyers to see that you are willing to go above and beyond to cater to their needs.

If your organization is mainly doing business locally, then the linguistic aspect of your marketing may seem irrelevant, or at least something that can be delayed until you go global. Knowing how tricky, difficult and costly it may get, that is indeed a thought that crosses the minds of many executives. However, thinking of your addressable market in the terms of location and assuming the user base there is homogeneous, often proved wrong.

It was in 2017 when a Polish telecom operator Play decided to start advertising in Ukrainian, to start the race for the 1 million+ population of Ukrainians in Poland back then. While having a mobile phone with a local number was an obvious necessity for them, making their decision and purchase easier did make a big difference. When in 2022 the number of Ukrainian citizens in Poland surpassed 3 million, all the other major telecoms in Poland followed suit and started advertising in Ukrainian.

Fundamentally, it seems like all that it boils down to is knowing your audience and knowing it very well. Did you know that Spanish speakers have difficulty pronouncing the ‘ps’ sound? Pepsi did. And since it’s in their brand name – decided to localize it. While it’s not uncommon to translate your websites and video ads, the act of localizing the brand name itself is somewhat new and consequently, very brave. Pepsi launched campaigns in Mexico calling itself Pecsi and in Spain – advertising as Pesi.

While marketing in its purpose should be as visible as possible, the budgets spent on translation are not always visible. That’s because very often a lot of the effort needs to happen before the public even hears about your product or service. Many standards and compliance regulations require that manuals, instructions for use or technical documentation to be translated for the user. While it may be funny to see the occasional translation fails, imagine breaking a thousand dollar-device because you were not supplied with instructions in your language. Not just one device, but a product recall as a consequence of a seemingly harmless decision to not spend any money on professional translation.

Tools for multilingual marketing success

Let us noew take a look at why implementing certain translation and localization tools allows you to facilitate the process and maintain a competitive advantage over others : 
  • Implementing a translation management system and a translation memory allows you to be more cost-effective while translating content in many languages.
  • These two tools allow you to save time and money by streamlining the translation process and by keeping archives of already translated content.
  • This allows you to avoid repetitive translation, have a better overview of resources but also keep your content consistent which naturally conveys a stronger brand image.

Do not allow yourself to fall behind in current trends that will eventually hinder the advancement of your brand image.

With the right tools, marketing in different languages and cultures allows you to gain a competitive advantage over your competition while creating a positive image for your brand. This truly demonstrates how important translation is on a global scale and how in order to achieve success, companies need to invest in it.

All the extra work with managing a multilingual project may seem overwhelming. The benefits are obvious, but it’s not always worth the effort, especially if your process is very manual and involves tedious repetitive tasks. In that case, having to think of all the different locales of the target languages that you need to deliver will just add more room for error and even more headache. Working with a Translation Management System like FlowFit will make it seem like a breeze, with one click to add a new language combination and a clean and intuitive overview of all your target languages to be delivered.