This month I attended Going Global/The Business Show in London, one of the UK’s biggest trade events, which is all about making companies succeed through cooperation, expertise and up-to-date marketing. Once again the exhibition reinforced the importance of understanding overseas customers and breaking language barriers when exporting. UK Trade and Investment encourages exporters to research target markets to make sure they have better chances of success.
What exactly should this research involve? Apart from the obvious things such as learning about the target consumer demographics, buying habits, industry trends and economic forecast, certain attention should be paid to the culture and language of the foreign market too. Knowing a few basic conversation phrases in a local language will open many doors and will make a positive impression of a prospective partner genuinely keen to develop business.
Understanding a few things about the local culture helps too. In Russia, for example, it would be rude to turn down an invitation for a meal at the end of a meeting. To give another example, Russians are very fond of literature and love quoting. No one will expect you to recite Russian poems, however, a quote from a famous book or by a prominent personality will definitely make you stand out as someone who appreciates the things the country has to offer. You need to nurture your business relationships which, in many respects, depend on your personal relationships with your local contacts. People buy from people so establishing commercial links is akin to developing friendships.
Being able to speak a few phrases in a different language won’t waive the necessity for translations though. If you are serious about working in a new market, as part of the new marketing drive it’s essential to use a professional translation company to have relevant brochures, customs documents and contracts translated. And before you send any work for translation, it’s vital to check the texts for accuracy. Branding is a separate issue which needs serious attention. Will your brand translate into a local language? Do you need to have it translated? These decisions require expert knowledge before they can be made.
Many initial introductions start with exchanging business cards, of course, and this month we are offering our clients a chance to win a free business card translation into Russian. If you place an order with us this May, your name will be entered into a prize draw and the winner will be notified on 1st June. Good luck and happy trading!
Yelena McCafferty at Going Global, Excel, London
[Tip: To take advantage of our award-winning Russian interpreting service, call us on 0207 0436940 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.]