For more than a century, the automotive industry has combined simplicity and adaptability to better lives of people in almost every country around the world. It has been on the top of the scene in terms of growth, and continues today with more ingenuity than ever. Automobile production has grown in developed and developing countries alike, and off-shore automobile production has massively increased over the last decades. Worldwide urban transportation has developed rapidly, and demands for personal cars skyrocketed over the last 20 years.
So, with this being said how can manufacturers keep the wheel going and manage to drive their business forward?
By creating new markets and adapting their products to these markets. Localization is the key to attracting and retaining those new customers from (almost always) different cultures.With an already globalized industry, it is necessary to keep up with the speed of the always changing markets around the world. The most known strategy to become successful in emerging markets, and be able to increase sales involves localization. It is important to note that this goes beyond user manual translations and into other components such as strings in digital screens, applications and much more. Because of a multitude of industry regulations as well as ensuring that customers benefit fully from your products and services, you have to translate a whole set of documents in different languages, countries and formats: contracts, users manuals and guides, warranty documentation, marketing materials, software manuals, websites, etc, just to mention a few.
How can translation and localization impact your business?
The automotive industry is one of the fastest growing and most globalized industries in the world. According to a report done by the Boston Consulting Group, this is especially true in countries such as China and India, where in 2015 alone the vehicles that reached the market were 2 million more than in Western Europe. These two nations are examples of Rapid Developing Economies (RDE) where automotive companies are starting to concentrate their efforts with re-search and development, marketing, and sales. A crucially important aspect of their efforts to grow in these places rests in their translation and localization strategies. The core of multilingual communication in the era of globalization enhances international corporations to manage cultural incoherence within a single advertising campaign in different countries.
- Chevrolet launched a small car, “Nova” in South America, and after a while, realized they made a mistake. Indeed, Nova can mean in Spanish “do not go”, which is a bad omen for any vehicle buyer. Sales did not take off, and only after renaming this car “Caribe” did the manufacturer manage to get sales off the ground.
- Tesla – bad buzz on the Chinese market and a loss of 50000 yen that the manufacturer payed to Luo Zhen. He was a customer who thought the vehicle would manage autonomous driving, and so he let go of the wheel which caused him to get into an accident. This happened due to a bad translation of the term autopilot in the driving assistance system into Chinese as “zidong jiashi” which can mean “autonomous driving”.
- American Motors launched its new midsize car — the Matador — in the early 1970s in Puerto Rico, without imagining that this car name wouldn’t be fit for the target audience and this specific location. In fact, in Spanish, “matador” is translated to mean “killer,” which, in a place filled with hazardous roads, didn’t instill a great deal of confidence in potential customers.
What would be the actual price paid by a company for launching a badly localized product or service on a new market?
Let’s take a look at some major mistakes some car manufacturers have made over time that have directly impacted their global business strategies: For many companies, translation and localization unfortunately ends up on the bottom of the list of priorities, but if you want to avoid product recall, security, conformity issues, or losing money when launching products on new markets, you should definitely consider partnering with an experienced Language Service Provider (LSP).
Trusting an LSP to achieve your goal
Some car manufacturers invest in their own translation department and employ linguists and engineers who work hand in hand to deliver and prepare the launch of new vehicles to sever-al markets. But even with all this available, sometimes it can be difficult to obtain the best result and be on time for the official launching of a product. Most of these companies rely on LSPs to help them properly localize their contents for multiple markets at the same time.
But how can you be sure you choose the best LSP for your localization projects? Here are some good indicators to keep in mind:
Look for an experienced Language Service Provider that has not only been in the translation industry for many years, but has been working with large car manufacturers for a long period of time. This is a great sign that the LSP will be able to handle your localization projects no matter their complexity, and that will keep delivering quality over time. Also, they should be able to cover various language combinations to ensure that your project will be delivered in all target languages you need.
2. Pay special attention to terminology
Some Language Service Providers keep a database of previously translated materials, rigorous specifications and translation demands, translation memories, and glossaries to help maintain consistency globally and to deliver bigger volumes in shorter times. Before shaking on it, you should ask your future provider how they handle terminology, if they have any special tools for it, and if they will hire native linguists for your automotive translations.
3. Ensure your LSP is tech savvy
Access to the latest technology in translation and localization is paramount. Knowledge and experience with using appropriate tools to best and most efficiently communicate your mes-sage speeds up your connection to the target customers and audience for your product. A professional LSP should be able to show you that they have invested themselves in technologically advanced tools to offer you a better customer experience.
4. Check references for your chosen provider
Easier than other things you can do and mostly a common-sense rule, you should consider checking the reputation of your potential LSP before any deal. A well-established business with good references and reputation is more trustworthy than the rest. All in all, as said earlier, if you want to ensure your business growth at a global scale and do it the right way, you should establish a partnership with a trustworthy Language Service Provider that will help you localize all your materials in order to reach your target audience.
Octopus Translations is a well-established multiple language vendor (MLV) with extend-ed experience in the automotive industry since 2004. Octopus is partnered with some of the most iconic brands in the automotive industry, and provides professional translation services into more than 60 languages. From user manuals to website and app’s localization, we have the knowledge and expertise to help drive your business forward thanks to high-quality localization. Along with our in country translation teams who are all NATIVE LINGUISTS, and an ex-tensive knowledge of local cultures, markets, and languages, we offer you flexibility and a friendly approach.
Want to tell us about your next project or request a quote? We are happy to help.