One way to avoid the “commoditization” of your translation services, is to “add value”, for example by presenting yourself not just as a translator but as a “strategic global communication consultant”. Obviously, you have to live up to your new characterization by really “walking the talk”, i.e. doing what you say you do. This entails lot of studying, which will be both pleasant and easy as pie – if you really love your profession.
This is an article I just published
How SMBs Can Turn Going-Global into a Rich Communication Experience
Nowadays, a good translator/interpreter is all at once a language, culture and strategic global communication advisor. Ideally, he/she should live in-country, to literally and constantly “feel the pulse” of your Target Market. Work closely with this expert and leverage your ongoing relationship to turn your going-global effort into an incredibly pleasant and enriching communication experience, a truly human experience. And the huge profit that is bound to result from this experience will be a welcome bonus.
1. Market Research: The very basis, the sine qua non. Everything else is based on this: all your localization effort will be determined by, and directed at, this market. Perfect market knowledge is essential to establish meaningful communication.
2. All 4 Product stages (Invention – Design – Production – Pricing) should be taken through the whole Globalization Process: Internationalization, Localization, Translation. Ideally, the product is “born international”, i.e. ready to be localized for your chosen market. Even pricing will largely depend on local conditions: you don’t just convert country-of-origin prices into the local currency.
If the product/service already exists, i.e. has already been created, it has to be re-created for your Target Market. It must run the gauntlet of merciless scrutiny through the lens of your Target Market.
And it has been calculated that belated localization (downstream re-engineering or retrofitting) “will take twice as long and cost twice as much.”
Through your global communication expert (or simply your translator/interpreter), you can initiate a fruitful dialogue covering linguistic, cultural and technical aspects with your target market – from product invention to pricing
Ferret out anything that would not be acceptable to people in your Target Market, weed it out, and replace it with features that delight them
And this leads us to…
3. Promotion i.e. connecting the product with the market, is meaningless unless it goes through the same globalization process, from ads to PR: Market Research has already established that there are people in sufficient numbers, who want your type of product, and can afford it. Now you draw their attention to your particular product, let them know it is the best of its type, and make them act, i.e. buy
People in the Target Market should not for even one second doubt that the product was created specifically for them, hence the importance of seamless translation/localization.
Your tools and tactics will depend on the market: will it be newspaper ads, radio, TV, billboards, press release, a website, an ezine, a blog, podcasts, etc…? For example for consumer products, in a low-literacy country, radio announcements are probably more efficient than newspaper or magazine ads, billboard colors and pictures will have to take account of the local culture, etc…
4. Post Sales Customer Support: This is a unique opportunity, an effective way to strike rich and meaningful conversations with overseas markets through direct contacts and feedback: have your website and all relevant data translated and localized, then make arrangements to have support email for your foreign customers or clients translated on an ongoing basis.
All in all, selling to a foreign market can easily become a fabulous communication experience with a different culture, the discovery of how other people live and buy. Establish a close, almost symbiotic long-term relationship with the right strategic global communication advisor, and you will quickly start enjoying the uncommon, exhilarating, deeply exciting experience of feeling both at home and abroad… with high profitability as a bonus.
A “must visit” for any SMB going global: 30+ year veteran translator, global communication coach/consultant A.M.Sall’s small-sized, SMB-type Translation Agency, with languages covering 98% of the global marketplace at http://www.translationtrophy.com/