Richard Delanty, Author at Into23

8 Marketing Strategies for Entering the Market in China 2019

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The Chinese market has often been considered by many companies whom looking for growth in Asia. With over 700 million internet users, China is the world’s largest digital market.  It is also one of the largest eCommerce markets globally and transactions on its mobile platforms remain unparalleled to its neighboring countries around the region. But operating in the market doesn’t come without its fair share of pitfalls. Here are 8 marketing strategies shared by experts about entering the Chinese market.

Alberto (安亚柏) Antonucci, China Expert @ Ad Maiora Asia

“Having an e-commerce business without brand awareness is useless. Same to say if you place the products in an existing marketplace (i.e. JD, TMall, etc.)

Brands entering China should be first focus on these 3 rules:
1. Let them know who you are
2. Let them know what you do
3. Let them talk about you.
So, in other words, there is no winning e-commerce solution without a convincing branding strategy!”

Ashley Galina Dudarenok, China Marketing Expert | Founder Alarice & ChoZan

“Take a close look and adjust your brand positioning and product features before entering the Chinese market. For example, the post-90s and post-00s generations are the driving force behind apparel retail today. For foreign fashion brands targeting the middle-class or mature women, they may need to change to a younger, fresher look for Chinese consumers.”

Source: https://www.marketing-interactive.com/events/tips-and-tricks-to-cracking-the-china-market/

Susanna Nicoletti, Brand Contributor Jing Daily

“Engagement” is key in China. For a luxury brand to get Chinese consumers deeply involved — so much so that they feel they can’t live without its products — it will need a 3-step process called Culture Marketing. This new approach is based on (1) Understanding, (2) Planning, and (3) Exchanging, and it requires an approach that’s different from the one-way exchanges of the past where brands impose a monolithic vision on their target audiences. This process can be easily applied to any market, but it’s especially helpful in the China market where the demand for customer service is high and opinions spread quickly via Chinese social media.”

Source: https://jingdaily.com/culture-marketing-china/

Mark Tanner Managing Director of China Skinny, a Shanghai-based marketing firm and Michael Zakkour (MZ), VP, China/APAC Strategy & Global Digital at Tompkins International


“I don’t think it is as straightforward as throwing more money at store openings, social media and KOLs, etc. It is really more about understanding target markets and being smarter, connecting and engaging with them. Luxury consumers want to feel special, loved, and there are increasing tools available for brands to assist with this.

One example is facial recognition, which is starting to take off in China, allowing brands to develop individual profiles on customers to provide a truly personalized level of service that is authentic and thoughtful. This should be incorporated into new store openings, KOL campaigns, social and e-commerce.”

Source: https://jingdaily.com/strategies-luxury-china/

Sofya Bakhta of China Briefing 

“The maintenance and development of online word-of-mouth are fundamental to sustaining your business and relevance in the Chinese market. Important tools to create online buzz are:

  • Social media networks like WeChat, Weibo, Youku, and Tudou.
  • Online shopping websites like Taobao.
  • News websites like Sine China.
  • Online communities like Douban.

It is necessary to stay updated with the most popular platforms as well as the latest issues and topics trending on these platforms and to use and develop them to promote your brand effectively.”

Source: https://www.china-briefing.com/news/marketing-in-china-digital-branding-foreign-businesses/

Mark Hedley of B2B International


“Making that first step into the China market is an intimidating step for most companies in the b2b arena, with an almost endless series of potential pitfalls to be negotiated.  Although there are often many obstacles in the way of achieving success in China, the rewards of successfully navigating this difficult course are also immense.

Thankfully, as China’s economy continues to grow and become more open to foreign companies, the rewards increasingly outweigh the challenges of doing business in China.  While the old adage “In China everything is possible, but nothing is easy” still rings true for many foreign companies when doing business in China, the extent of this difficulty seems to decline further with every passing year.

China is a country that is constantly changing and its markets are evolving more rapidly than almost anywhere on earth.  As such, there is no one-size-fits-all approach by which foreign companies should approach the China market.  Each company’s China strategy is likely to be informed by any number of different factors – from industry sector, product type, company size and culture, through to long-term business aims and global corporate vision.”

Source: https://www.b2binternational.com/publications/china-market-entry/

Sebastian Mueller, Chief Operating Officer at MING Labs


“When entering China, you must assume that you have lost product-market-fit and need to rediscover it. It is crucial to start with a beginner’s mindset and test your current solution in the new market. Start with a Riskiest Assumption Test (RAT) or Minimum Viable Product (MVP) mindset in order to validate what is and is not working.

You might find that geographic differences make your product useless. For example, a company producing high-tech fishing equipment can be successful internationally where most lakes are natural but will find itself at a roadblock in China, where many lakes are artificial and do not have the same ecological or physical features.”

Rachel Lou of Dragon Social

“Despite all these missteps foreign businesses have taken when marketing in China, Chinese consumers are not so hard to please if you can market to them in the right way.

No matter how your Chinese marketing strategies are going to be laid out, two things are especially crucial if you want them to work like a charm in China – Have a sophisticated, extensive understanding of the local culture, and convey your intended message in a culturally-appropriate way. If you play it as creatively as possible while noting cultural nuances then this delicate game for foreign marketers will be yours to ace.”

Source: https://www.dragonsocial.net/blog/mistakes-marketing-to-chinese-consumers/

That concludes the summary of the marketing strategies to enter the China market. Reach out to into23 if you have any translation and localization needs for entering the China market.

This is a guest post by Bob Low, the regional marketing consultant for into23.

Top 6 Asian Digital Trends in Digital 2019

Into23 – One of The Best International Translation Company

The latest e-Conomy of Southeast Asia report by Google shows that South-east Asia hit an inflection point for the internet economy with $72 billion in 2018, $40 billion more than previously estimated. China is one of the top countries for retailers to turn their focus to in 2019. China leads the world in ecommerce, with more than 40% of the world’s ecommerce transactions taking place there.

With the increasing interest in Asia, we decided to compile the key digital trends in Asia from Digital 2019: Q2 Global Digital Statshot. This Global Digital Statshot is produced by We Are Social and Hootsuite to give us essential insights to the global use of the internet, mobile devices and ecommerce.

1. 4 out of 10 world’s most visited sites are from China

Baidu.com with 5.6 page visits per day is the most visited website in Asia, Baidu is the equivalent of Google in China. Among the top 10 are Tmall.com and Taobao.com, they are the top ecommerce sites in China. According to Alexa, both Tmall and Taobao gather more web visitors than Amazon.com

2. China, India and Indonesia have the top LinkedIn advertising audiences in Asia

Linkedin is the world’s biggest business and employment-oriented network. India and China have the largest LinkedIn advertising audience after the United States. There is still much growth anticipated for the LinkedIn platform in China with only 4% of the population above the age of 18 on LinkedIn.

3. Tik Tok and Shareit from China are among the top 10 most downloaded mobile apps in the world

The most downloaded app in Asia, TikTok is an iOS and Android media app for creating and sharing short videos. The app was launched in 2017 by ByteDance, for markets outside of China.

4. Indonesia, Turkey and Japan are among the top 10 Instagram advertising audiences

Instagram is the most popular social media application for youth, with 90 percent of Instagram users are younger than 35. Indonesia has one of the highest instagram audiences in the world with instagram advertising reaching 64 million people and penetrating 26% of the population over the age of 13.

5. India, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand & Turkey have the top Facebook advertising audience

India has the largest Facebook advertising audience in the world, reaching 260 million people, 70 million more than the United States.

6. India, China, Indonesia and Thailand are the biggest users of voice search and voice commands

India, China, Indonesia and Thailand have above 45% of internet users who have used voice-controlled functionality on any device.

These are the 6 key digital trends for Asia in 2019, they indicate that global web activity, mobile applications, social media advertising audience and the usage of voice commands will have a play a major role in Asia.

This is a guest post by Bob Low. Bob Low is the regional marketing consultant for into23.

What is Translation Management?

Translation Management is the key to optimizing translation in a global business.

Any business that operates or is planning to do business in different countries should have a company-wide strategy for translation management, managing the translation demand within each business function to reach global business success.

A translation management strategy uses a combination of software tools, technology, and outsourced services to manage all the business translation needs. Software and technology automate repetitive tasks, increase collaboration and drive efficiency. A well-chosen translation partner will cover all the language combinations you need and can offer you an end-to-end solution that will integrate all your business functions into a translation platform that they manage for you so you can focus on growing your global business.

A business has 3 primary choices on how to manage translation:-

3 Translation Management options

1. Ad hoc translation management

Each group or department in the business takes care of their own needs, find their own suppliers and operate independently of each other. This is how most businesses are managing translation today. Companies have to deal with several agencies and ultimately, translations may steer away from an aligned business communication tone.

2. Internally built solution

The shared service concept has been around for a long time now with businesses choosing to build an internal shared service team to manage translations. Many large organizations such as Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Alibaba, Huawei have built shared service centers for translation management. An internal shared service team acts as an in-house translation agency to the rest of the enterprise. The shared service center will typical either buy or build its own translation technology. It has an approved supplier list of external translation agencies. This model is effective in the largest global organization that spend in excess of $10M per annum on translation.

3. Outsourced translation management

Businesses can choose to outsource their translation management to an external partner, which operates as the translation shared service center for the entire enterprise. This is an effective solution for companies that have translation spend greater than $100K but less than $10M per annum. We call this outsourced shared service model, Translation Management as a Service (TMaaS).

Who needs a Translation Management solution?

The translation industry is a $46 billion industry that is being transformed by technology.

Today, translation technology automates workflows, quality assurance, and supply chain management. New machine learning innovation is rapidly improving machine translation capability. Keeping up with the latest innovations and best practices is challenging, especially when translations are not a core function of the business. By outsourcing translation management to a quality partner, you can expect that they will keep up with the latest innovations so that you don’t need to. They will integrate the latest technology solutions into your workflow so that you can benefit from this without you having to purchase and maintain expensive software licenses.

Do you operate in multiple markets that speak different languages?

If your business is planning to expand into international markets or you have already expanded but are struggling to manage your translation, you should consider a Translation Management solution. This will help you launch products or services across multiple markets faster and in a cost-effective manner as you leave the heavy lifting to a trustworthy translation partner, while you focus on overall business strategies.

Are your business functions optimized to go global?

Translation needs span across the business for any company serving customers who speak different languages. From sales & marketing to product management, to technical documentation and support services, to legal and HR, all business functions have multilingual content needs. Many companies take an ad hoc approach to the translation where each business function finds its own solution. If your business is launching new products or services in multiple markets or entering new markets, this may prove to be a non-optimized and cost-effective solution that may render your company more trouble than it’s worth.

What can you expect from a Translation Management solution?

  • 24/7 always-on translation services in any language
  • Customized workflows that connect all the different content types you have
  • Easy-access portal to easily track spend and translation progress
  • Customized reporting on translation spend and savings
  • Aligned business communications across all departments
  • Consistent & localized outbound communications to audiences of different markets

Be Global, Communicate like a Local

For your business to succeed in new markets, you need to engage with your local customers in their local language. An outsourced translation management solution can be the most effective way to do this as they would have the experience and expertise in entering different markets with a localized approach.

SMEs can enter new markets at an affordable cost

For SMEs, it has never been easier to enter new markets. A TMaaS makes this even easier. The TMaaS will understand your business, understand your product or service offering. They can then propose an optimized translation strategy for your business. For example, if a company wishes to enter the ASEAN, China or Indian markets, a strategic translation advisory would cover:

  1. Languages to focus on: A consumer business will have different priorities than a company focusing on B2B. A high-end luxury brand will have a different strategy for a mass-market product.
  2. How deep to localize for different markets? For some markets, customers will expect everything in the local language. For other markets, you may only need to translate some high-impact material or even consider transcreation.
  3. Translation strategy by content type: A typical business will have multiple different kinds of content, e.g. marketing material, legal agreements, website, product & service documentation, sales & marketing materials, support services. A managed translation service will devise the right workflows for each of these content types, such as transcreation services for marketing; and incorporating technologies to optimize these workflows at an optimal cost for the business.
  4. Translation delivery solution: Some companies will already have established translators they work with. A managed solution can bring these into the managed solution as well as building and managing a supply chain for the rest of your content in new languages to ensure all translation processes are streamlined under one a sole managing translation partner.

Into23’s Translation Management as a Service (TMaaS) simplifies being global. Our TMaaS makes managing content in multiple languages simple. We provide value-driven translation solutions to companies wishing to optimize their translation spend while they focus on their core activities. Our goal is to provide maximum business value to our clients helping them grow their businesses in international markets. A customer-first approach means our solutions are based on what will deliver the business results you need rather than being based on a particular technology solution or a particular workflow.

What is Translation Memory?

Want to know what Translation Memory is?

The explosion in content these days is driving increased demand for translation.  As globalization reduces the cost of entering new markets, this increases the demand for translation into more and more languages.  As the number of digital marketing and business channels grows, the types of content translators need to be able to work with multiples.

Computer Aided Translation (CAT) software and Translation Memory are essential tools that allow a translation agency to manage this complexity.

Professional translators use computer-aided translation software to translate.  A CAT software is a computer-aided editing software with a memory database called a ‘translation memory’, that stores previously translated content made by human translators. The translation memory sits behind the editor as an integrated database that stores the translation. This feature makes translating efficient and faster.

A translation memory is a repository of everything human translators have translated for a particular language, recorded in its respective database format. Each entry in the database is in the format of a source language sentence and its corresponding target language translation.  This translation memory is something that is built up over time as more and more content is being translated.

Any new content for translation is matched against this translation memory.  Any sentences in the new content that have already been translated are automatically translated and need not be translated again.  Sentences that have a small variation to a previously translated sentence can also be extracted so they only need a quick edit.  If the content contains many duplicate sentences then you only need to translate the duplicates the first time you encounter them, the rest will be automatically translated.

Content for translation can come in many different formats.  It can be in Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint.  It can be a PDF.  It can be in Adobe InDesign or FrameMaker.  It could be XML content from a content management system or from an Android App.  It could be website HTML.

CAT tools convert different file types to a common file type that a translator works on. This means a translator does not keep licenses for all the different authoring software.  The CAT software will extract the content for translation, so this is all the translator sees, it hides any non-translatable parts so the translator can ignore these.  The translation memory is then sitting behind the CAT, continuously updating as the translator progresses through the content.

What is the difference between Translation Memory and Machine Translation?

A Translation Memory is a record of everything that was translated.  Machine Translation is automatically translating content using a Machine Translation engine like Google Translate.  Most CAT software now integrates with the major machine translation engines.  This gives the translator the option of using machine translation to create a first draft translation that they then edit.  If a translator is using machine translation, the usual sequence is to first leverage any previous translations and fuzzy matches from the translation memory, and only then to use machine translated to translate non-leveraged parts.  The CAT software will indicate which sentences come from the translation memory and which have been done using machine translation.

What is the difference between Translation Memory and a Glossary?

A Glossary is a bilingual list of key terms.  These can be common industry terminology, or it can be a list of key terms for a particular customer.  Glossaries ensure that key terms are translated consistently across all content.   In regulated industries, such as the pharmaceutical, legal or finance industries, using a glossary is vital to ensure terms are translated accurately and consistently according to industries standards.

What is Leveraging?

The first step in a new translation project is to analyze the content for translation to determine the number of words for translation.  This is where you see the value of using Translation Memory.  The CAT software compares the content for translation against the content in the translation memory.  Any content that matches something that was already translated will not need to be translated again. This reduces the cost of translation and will allow the translation to be completed faster.

What is Fuzzy Matching?

Fuzzy matching is the concept of finding sentences that closely match the sentence to be translated but may have some slight differences, for example, “It was raining in Bangkok on Tuesday”.  A fuzzy match might be: “It was raining in Tokyo on Tuesday” or “It was raining in Bangkok on Wednesday”.  The translation can be reused with some quick editing.  This improves the translator’s productivity, lowers the cost of translation and helps improve consistency.

What is 100% Matching? 

A 100% match is when a sentence for translation matches exactly to a sentence that was already translated.

What are Repetitions?

Some content has a lot of repeated sentences, for example, a questionnaire might have the same content across multiple choice answers.  CAT software finds these, and the translator treats them in the same way as a 100% match.  They are translated once; the repeated instances are then automatically translated.   This reduces cost, speeds up the translation and ensures consistency.

What are the advantages of a Translation Memory?

  • Productivity & faster time to market: The translator only needs to translate new and unique content, so the translation is done faster.
  • Cost Saving: As you only need to pay for unique content that has not been translated before, this will reduce the overall cost of translation. As you build up your translation memory over time, you will start seeing more leverage from the translation memory.  A typical business can expect to save between 36% and 90% of their translation cost by utilizing translation memory over time.
  • Improved ConsistencyBy ensuring that content translated once does not need to be translated again, you ensure consistency across different product releases or content types.
  • Training material for customized Machine TranslationCustomizing machine translation engines is the optimal way to get better output quality for a particular language. Your translation memory is a central store of all your translations.  Once you have a lot of content in your translation memory, you can use this to build custom machine translation engines that work best on your content.

How Secure is my Content in a Translation Memory?

Traditionally, translation memory has been a desktop tool used by translators.  This required sending files for translation directly to the translator by email or FTP.  In recent years, CAT software has moved to a cloud-based environment.  This improves security.  Translators no longer need to download files to translate them, they can work in a secure, online environment where access is controlled, and content cannot be downloaded.

Translation Memories as AI Content Stores

Traditionally, translation memories have just been used as stores of translated content.  Increasingly, businesses are seeing value in their translation memory data as a tool for training AI applications.  Machine translation is one example.  Companies can use their translation memory content to train machine translation engines, so they have their own customized engines that have been trained using their own terminology and translation style.  A customized machine translation trained like this will give more accurate results than a generic machine translation engine.

The Future of Translation Memory

Translation memory technology is well-established in the translation industry.  Improved machine translation output quality is increasing the use and acceptance of machine translation.  All major CAT tools now incorporate machine translation.

The future of translation memory will more tightly integrate machine translation and translation memory.  The most likely impact will be:

  1. Machine learning: Automatic and real-time customization of machine translation from translation memory.
  2. Auto-suggestions as you type: Similar to how Google auto-suggests for search as you type search queries.
  3. Subject matter detection: Machine translation works best when you use an engine that has been trained on a particular subject e.g. finance, insurance, automotive, e-commerce. CAT tools will detect the subject matter of content and select the appropriate machine translation engine to use based on this.

Your search for “Best Translation Agency in Hong Kong” ends here at Into23.

23 Insider Secrets: How to choose a translation supplier

Selecting your translation supplier is a business critical decision. Your customers will engage with your translated content; you need to be confident that their brand experience is as good as your base language. You spend time and effort in producing content that appeals to your customers. You are trusting your translation supplier to do that for all your other languages. Here is our guide on best practice for selecting a translation supplier.

Here are 23 Insider Secrets: How to choose a translation supplier who would provide the Best Ecommerce Translation Service for your Company.

1. What kind of translation company do you need?

There are two kinds of translation company. A translation agency is a translation company with in-house translators. They usually only cover one language pair, e.g. in Hong Kong, most translation agencies provide English to/from Chinese translation services.

The second kind of translation company is a translation management business. A translation management company provides translation for multiple languages. Translation management companies work with translators and translation agencies around the world to provide their customers with a managed translation solution for all content types.

If your business needs occasional documents translated into another language, you are better off choosing a translation agency that specializes in that language.

The rest of this article will focus on companies who need Translation Management as a Service.

2. What problems are you trying to solve?

Is your company going to enter international markets for the first time? Are you unhappy with your current translation provider?

Are your marketing or product management teams spending too much time on translation activities rather than their core responsibilities?

Is it taking too long to have your translated content ready? Are translation costs out of control?

Is your translated content inconsistent across different functions? Do you need to get your support content translated but you are unsure whether you can use machine translation to do this?

Are you entering a new market and you are unsure if you need to translate all content or just high-impact content?

3. What supplier interaction do you want to have?

Are you looking for a partner that can operate across the business as a trusted advisor?

Do you need a partner that can help you optimize a translation strategy across different content types and languages?

Do you have all that solved and you want a technically competent partner that can build API integrations to your internal systems to automate content handoff/hand back?

Do you want a portal that authorized users across the company can upload content for translation? Where you can track spend by language, by content type, by time?

Do you need someone to hold your hand and make sense of it all?

4. How many people will send content for translation?

Most companies have content that needs translation across different groups in the business: marketing and web content, legal material, product/service content, support FAQs, HR policies. Are you only responsible for content for your group or across the business? Does the company need better coordination of content across all the business? Are you looking to reduce overall cost, improve consistency and translation quality and reduce time to market?

5. How do you want to authorize spend?

If you are like most business today, content creation never stops. What are the internal approval channels for translation spend? Is anyone tracking translation spend across the company? Would it be helpful to track spend and show savings?

6. What kind of reporting do you need?

What are the key metrics that would be helpful for you to track? Time to market for new content in different languages? Translation spend, savings? Spend by language? By quarter or month? Spend by product group? By business function?

Do you need real-time status reporting of translation progress?

7. How frequent will you have content for translation and how fast do you need it back?

Business today is always on; if you are engaging your customers online then you operate 24/7/365. Do you need a translation supplier that also operates 24/7/365? Is your content changing regularly but incremental changes are small? Do you need a supplier that can manage frequent (hourly, daily, weekly) updates but doesn’t impose minimum charge fees?

8. What is your content publishing workflow?

Do you use a content management system? What authoring tools do you use? Do you need App translation support? Are your developing mobile apps?

What kind of content do you have for translation? Do you need App translation support? Do you need a supplier that can integrate with Github? Integrate into your Drupal/Adobe Experience Management/Sitecore/SDL Tridion/Wordpress content management system? Do you have content authored in InDesign or Framemaker? Or is it all in Word or Excel? Do you need a partner that can advise on best content strategy for optimising multilingual strategy? Need input on selecting a CMS solution to optimise for your multilingual content? Or how to optimise a localization workflow for your existing technology stack?

9. What languages do you need?

Is your business exploring opportunities in new markets and you need help proposing a language strategy for these new markets? Do you need help to build an ROI case for entering a new market? Do you need a competitor analysis on what languages/markets your competitors are targeting? Do you expect to be adding new languages in the future and need to build a repeatable/extendable process so that onboarding new languages is already part of your language strategy? The average number of languages supported by the world’s leading brands today is 33.

10. Do you need desktop publishing services? Subtitling or Dubbing?

Do you need to create publishable layouts in different languages for online or print? Do you have graphics/infographics that have to be converted into other languages? Do you have audio/video content that will need dubbing or subtitling? 85% of people watch videos with the sound off when looking at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn. We strongly recommend subtitles on all marketing videos.

11. Do I need to buy technology? Is the supplier tech savvy?

If you are looking for a managed translation solution then you do not need translation technology. You should expect your supplier to have an in-depth technical knowledge of available solutions and how these solutions can automate, increase productivity and turnaround time, improve quality and consistency. Your supplier should be able to propose what technical solutions can optimise achieving your business goals. Your translation partner should be capable of implementing these as a managed solution. Ideally, it should be part of a managed service fee.

12. Should we/can we use machine translation?

Machine translation is a controversial subject: many companies have a strict policy against using machine translation. This is mistaken. Machine translation is useful for some types of content. It can reduce cost and increase time to market. Combined with a human editing service, the quality can be as good as a human translation for some languages. A translation partner should be able to advise on best practise, which tools are best for which language, which of your content could be suitable. But the decision should be with you on whether to use machine translation or not.

13. Should I qualify translation vendors using a translation test

Ideally, no. Here are our reasons for this:

  • Most companies doing a test will have a test translation process which will be different from your standard translation process. They will invest to ensure you get a perfect translation. It will have little bearing on the quality of the translation you get on an ongoing basis.
  • Translation is subjective. Who will be doing the review? What are their expectations from the translation e.g. many marketers have a particular style they expect. Without discussion, it is hard for a translator to achieve this from the beginning; it will come from engagement on the first couple of translation projects.

If you do plan to do a translation test, then you should have clear criteria that is objective and measurable.

An industry secret: most translation agencies buy translation from the same pool of translators. Quality comes from having all the factors we are discussing here aligned.

14. Should the supplier have in-house translators?

It may seem counter-intuitive, but our view is that this is unimportant. The best translators are independent contractors, freelance translators. Freelance translators specialize. They are native speakers of the language they are translating into. Good ones specialize in a particular subject so they become subject matter experts. This is why best practise is not to have in-house translators. In-house translators are generalists, it is better to work with translators who are experts in the domain being translated. A good translation management company will have a database of translators by subject by language.

15. How do I define service level? Ensure you have a Service Level Agreement.

Setting clear goals and measures is the key to a successful service relationship. Your translation supplier should be able to propose a standard service level agreement customized based on discussion. This document is more important than any master services agreement. Be sure you have this and be sure that it meets your business goals.

16. How important is experience?

Experience is probably the most important criteria. But the experience that matters is the experience of the people you work with. How many years’ experience does your project manager have? Many companies have been around for decades but if the project manager you are working with has only a few months or a couple of years’ experience, that is the level of experience you are getting. The critical question you need to ask is the experience of your account management team not of the business itself.

17. How important is information security for you?

Information security is critical for most companies. Best practise in the translation industry today is to use cloud-based translation environments. Files are not handed off directly to translators. Translators log into a secure cloud environment and translate there. Content is secure in the cloud and cannot be downloaded. Our view is that this should be standard translation policy. It should be offered as a basic part of the translation solution.

18. How is communication managed – working hours covered, response time?

For any company that has customers in multiple languages, your translation supplier is offering a business critical function. If your translation supplier is part of your customer support solution, you should expect a 24/7 capability: at least matching the SLA you have with your customers. If you are an online business with content that changes frequently, you should expect a translation supplier to be able to meet this demand. 24/7/365 1-hour response is the gold standard.

19. Do you need a supplier that can add strategic value to your global plans? Are you looking for a trusted advisor?

Translation is essential for any global company to be successful. It touches almost all business functions. But it is not a core part of any business. If you a part of a growing business that expects to expand into new markets, a strategic translation partner should be able to assist with new market entry planning.

20. Do you have access to the operational team?

During the sales process are you engaging with the operational team or only the sales team? After sales pass your relationship management to the operational contact will the experience be similar?

Are you dealing with someone who will be responsible for the success of the business relationship or someone who will disappear once the contract is signed? Be sure that you have access to your operational team before making a decision.

21. How transparent is pricing?

Be wary of the hidden extras. Translation is usually priced per word. Be careful of word prices pitched low with hidden costs. Be clear what is included in a per word rate and what is not. Best practice: send a sample project and ask for a quote. Will you be charged minimum fees – our view, don’t agree to minimum pricing. Is project management charged extra or included? Do they charge for translation memory management?

22. Do they guarantee their translation? How long does it last?

I haven’t talked about process or quality here. Most translation suppliers will have a similar process and will commit to quality. Most will deliver good quality – the differentiators are technical competence, turnaround time, service level and consultancy capability. But you should look for a quality commitment with a guarantee. If you discover problems with a translation six months later, will it be fixed free of charge?

23. Do I need a translation supplier or a Translation Management as a Service (TMaaS)?

You need TMaaS. The vast majority of companies should look at translation like a company looks at their internet connection or their electricity supplier. You need a partner who takes care of it all so it happens seamlessly. The translation industry today is too transactional, too relationship driven. This will change. We want to drive this change forward.

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Going Global: An Essential Guide to Localization and Translation

An Essential Guide to Localization and Translation

It has never been easier to launch in new markets.  The internet has no borders; your reach could be anywhere.  If you are an online business, your customers are not bound by borders.  With solutions like Stripe, you can accept payments online from almost anywhere in the world.  Etsy.com is a great example of an online business that has embraced being global, they epitomize the “being global, while appearing local” approach, as a result, one third of their sales come from international markets.    

This is also the age of hyper-personalization.  You can reach almost anyone.  However, to gain their attention, you need to reach them with engaging, relevant content.   Within that simple statement lies two challenges. How do you reach your target audience?  What is engaging, relevant content?

At the core of both these challenges is language.  If you want to extend your addressable market by having a global reach, you need to think about translation and localization.

Everyone knows what translation is.

Translation is taking content from one language and putting it into another language.  That process is the core of the translation and localization industry. You will read many definitions online about the difference between translation and localization.  Most will say that the difference is between a direct translation and adapting the translation, so it is targeted for a particular market.  But wouldn’t you expect that to happen in translation anyway?

So, what is localization?

Localization is the entire process involved in making content market-ready in other languages.  Localizing is:

  • Putting multi-language subtitles on your marketing videos.
  • Producing a translated PDF with layout and graphics in the target language.
  • A website will all its content translated, graphics in the right language, SEO for the target language.  
  • Using MT to translate your FAQ with native editors improving the translation quality.

A brief history of localization

Companies have been going global for a long time. Coca Cola signed its first international bottling agreement with San Miguel in the Philippines in 1927.  Sony Corporation of America opened in 1960. McDonalds opened in Tokyo, Amsterdam, Munich and Sydney in 1971.  Translation happened locally, on paper, sometimes inhouse or often with local translation agencies.

The advent of the PC is what gave birth to the modern localization industry.  This was when the concept of localization came about. It was also when internationalization came about, but we will get to this later. Creating a translated software version, for example, a Japanese or a French Microsoft Office, required a lot of work before the translation could even begin.  Then once the translation was finished, you had more steps to have a final Japanese or French product. This entire process is localization.

In the early days, this meant extracting strings from the code, translating them and then rebuilding the software.  Creating a translated help system for the product meant building a ‘compiled’ help system after translating and checking that each and every link worked ok!  

Companies quickly realized that they could not manage all this in-house.  Software launches were big events; new releases were yearly cycles. To service this new demand, localization companies started to emerge.  They clustered around the big software companies that were outsourcing this work, mostly in Dublin and San Francisco initially. The localization companies built in-house project management teams to manage customer interactions but also worked with translation agencies around the world to deliver the translation.  The localization companies built in-house software engineering teams to rebuild the localized software, and desktop publishing teams to recreate the localized manuals.

The in-country agencies that used to do the translation work for the local subsidiaries of international companies started to work with the new localization companies.  Some of them later being acquired to become a translation office for the localization company.

The structure of the localization today has not changed much from this formation that emerged in those early days.  What has changed is that a lot of the manual tasks have been automated by technology.

Key Point: Translation has been around for centuries.  Localization is the full range of activities needed to have a product or service market-ready in another language. Translation is part of the localization process.  In recent years, technology has automated much of the localization process.

Internationalization: simplifying localization

I mentioned Internationalization earlier.  Internationalization is best understood as localization enablement.  Internationalization is a set of tools, processes and standards to make the localization process smoother.  The core concept of internationalization is separating what is localizable from the core code. Best practices that emerged over time include:

  • Moving any translatable content to separate ‘resource’ files.
  • Using system functions to display date formats, currencies, number formats, etc.
  • UX/UI design plans for the different handling of personal names and addresses around the world.
  • UX/UII design that allows for text expansion in other languages.
  • Using layers in graphics for text so it can easily be translated
  • Using Unicode to allow display of languages like Chinese, Arabic and Japanese.

Key Point: Internationalization should be a core element in product design and development strategy.

The Development of Translation Technology

Translation technology automates many of the technical activities in localization.  Technology brings cost savings, faster time to market and greater control over quality and consistency.  We highlight some of the key technologies used below. We will delve into the importance of these in future posts.  

Translation Memory (TM)

A translation memory is a database of content already translated, divided into segments.  Its value is that you only need to translate a piece of content once. All subsequent occurrences will come from the TM.  It emerged as a commercial product in the early 80s when Trados was launched in Germany. It was widely adopted in the industry when Microsoft took Trados as its standard in 1997, also acquiring a 20% stake in Trados.  Translation Memory is ubiquitous in the localization industry today. TMX (Translation Memory eXchange) is an industry standard that allows the exchange of translation memories between different platforms. The major platforms today are SDL Studio, MemoQ, Memsource, XTM, Wordbee, Smartcat, Smartling, Lilt, Transifex, PhraseApp.   

Cost saving, Productivity and consistency

Most technical, legal, catalogs, labels and e-commerce content have repetitive content.  Translation Memory can greatly reduce the cost of translating this content as you will only need to translate repetitive content the first time.  According to GALA, translation memory can reduce costs by 15-90%.  

Translation Workflow Technology

Automation first entered the localization industry in the early 2000s.  By the early 2000s, business process automation was the hot business topic and the localization industry was no exception.  Translation Management Systems (TMS) automate the localization process. They integrate Computer Aided Translation tools, Translation Memory.  Most also give access to Machine Translation engines.

Machine Translation and Post Editing (MTPE)

Machine Translation has been around a long time now.  The first machine translation was a rules-based machine translation. This was superseded by statistical machine translation, most famously, by Google when they launched Google Translate in 2006.  Machine Translation has been used in the translation industry for the last two decades mostly for European languages. Statistical machine translation did not have great results with Asian languages.  

Neural machine translation (NMT) replaces statistical machine translation.  NMT is a deep-learning system that reduces translation errors by up to 60%, according to Slator.  

Post Editing is a 2-step process.  Content is first translated using machine translation.  It is then fully edited by a translator to bring the translation quality to human level.  Neural machine translation with post-editing is perfect for any non-marketing content.

Conclusion

According to Gartner, brands risk losing 38% of their customers because of poor marketing personalization efforts.  Personalization does not end with marketing messaging; all customer interactions need to be personalized from pre-sale to post-sale.  Talking to your customers in their native language is a fundamental part of engaging with your customers. Customer engagement today occurs across multiple different channels, when you add language to this, it increases the complexity.

A good localization partner will help you manage this complexity.  A good localization partner will optimize available translation technology to help you reach you target customer where ever they are in the world.   

We provide Top-Notch Multimedia Localization Service to our clients. Contact Into23 to learn more about how we can help.

Our guide to acronyms used in Translation & Localization

TM: Translation Memory

MT: Machine Translation

TEP: Translation, Editing, Proofreading

TMS: Translation Management System

CAT: Computer Aided Translation

MTPE: Machine Translation with Post Editing

L10N: Localization

G11N: Globalization

I18N: Internationalization

DTP: Desktop Publishing

LSP: Language Service Provider

MLV: Multilingual Vendor

SLV: Single Language Vendor

Why brands need a Southeast Asian strategy

Southeast Asia is a fast-growing eCommerce market, this is driving a greater need for eCommerce translation services.

This is a guest post by Ana Paul Picasso.

A recent Google-Temasek e-Conomy SEA 2018 report highlights the explosive growth happening in e-commerce in Southeast Asia. SE Asia has long been seen as a challenging market for international brands to enter. Recent investments in infrastructure, improved regulatory conditions alongside rapid growth in internet and smartphone penetration open up the markets for foreign brands. With the growing acceptance of e-commerce, foreign brands no longer need to establish a local presence to target the Southeast Asian consumer.

According to the e-Conomy SEA 2018 report, the SE Asia internet economy reached an inflexion point, headed by e-commerce growth, or more accurately mobile e-commerce growth. In common with other emerging markets, SE Asia internet users leap-frogged all other non-mobile internet devices directly into smartphones.

Hurdles

Despite the rosy future for the e-commerce market in SE Asia, a few factors are hindering its growth.

One of them is the low adoption of cashless payments, like other developing economies, a large percentage of the population is unbanked, consumers don’t have bank accounts and don’t own debit or credit cards to pay for goods and services.

The preferred, and sometimes the only option, is to pay by cash. Most online retailers offer COD (Cash On Delivery). However, some countries like Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand are slowly shifting to cashless options.

Indonesia
The Indonesia e-commerce sector is the largest in SE Asia, reaching USD$12 billion in 2018 and accounting for more than USD$1 in every USD$2 spent in the region. Chinese e-tailers invested big in Indonesia’s e-commerce companies. China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba invested an additional USD$2 billion in Indonesia’s biggest e-commerce site Lazada earlier this year, to take a controlling stake, putting one of the original Alibaba founders in place to lead its growth.

Despite also being the leader in financial inclusion, Indonesians still prefer the COD payment method.

COD presents challenges to e-tailers: there is uncertainty over whether they will receive payment, there is a greater risk of goods being returned on delivery. With the ubiquitous use of smartphones, it is more likely that Indonesians will embrace digital payment services on their smartphones than getting credit or debit cards. Indonesians have readily adopted ride-hailing services, as these ride-hailing services develop their own digital payment methods, it will be a natural progression for Indonesians to adopt digital payment for e-commerce purchases.

Tokopedia, vying with Lazada as the leading Indonesian e-commerce platform, decided not to offer a cash on delivery option. To maximise their competitiveness, they focused on other areas. With 2 million merchants on the platform and over 35M monthly visitors, Tokopedia partnered with 15 third-party logistics providers, serving different regions of Indonesia. They also teamed up with local shops and post offices, helping Tokopedia work around the challenge of collecting payments from the largely unbanked population. March 2017, eyeing the explosion of mobile internet users in the country, Tokopedia launched its digital wallet Tokocash. It was an instant success, by the end of 2017 with over 4 million users.

Indonesians seem eager to move from cash to mobile payment options.  Indonesia’s ride-hailing juggernaut, Go-Jek, became the first “unicorn”, valued at over one billion dollars, has achieved significant success with its mobile wallet Go-Pay. You can use the wallet to pay for internet goods, services and even utility bills. Other notable players are GrabPay, OVO and T-Cash. Even the state-owned bank Mandiri launched Mandiri e-money to get a slice of the increasingly competitive cashless digital wallet market. Unlike a mobile wallet Mandiri e-money works as a prepaid card.

The same trend across the region

The trend of online shoppers going cashless with mobile payment wallets doesn’t stop in Indonesia.

Thailand, the second largest e-commerce market in SE Asia, reached USD$ 3 billion in 2018, doubling its size since 2015, and it’s set to reach USD$ 13 billion by 2025, according to the Google-Temasek report.

Thailand’s mobile internet users spend the most time of any Southeast Asian country on the mobile internet (4.2 hours/day).

Like in Indonesia, the Thai population is largely unbanked, only 8 million people have credit cards, and the preferred payment method for online shopping is COD.

However, in 2017, the Thai government created a plan called Thailand 4.0, a sector-specific industrial policy aiming to attract more investment and unleash the potential of a cashless society. One of the first initiatives was the introduction of PromptPay, a mobile payment service that allows registered customers to transfer funds using only mobile phone numbers or citizen ID. The scheme had already received 14 million registrations by the start of 2018.

Vietnam, the third largest e-commerce market in SE Asia, just behind Thailand, is paving the way for mobile payments options. In a true mobile-first fashion, between January 2017 and January 2018, Vietnam added 14 million Internet users, according to a report by Hootsuite and We Are Social.

This might be the reason behind the boom in e-commerce reaching nearly USD$2.8 billion in 2018, an astonishing 87% growth since 2015.

Eyeing Vietnam’s massive mobile payments potential, non-Vietnamese players have invested in the country. Take Silicon Valley’s investment fund Fenox Venture Capital, for instance; it made an undisclosed investment in digital wallet application OnOnPay, its first investment in Vietnam.
MoMo, the leading player in the Vietnamese e-wallet market, already has 8 million users and has offered preferences to clients who pay for railway tickets, insurance policies and shopping.

Brand Strategy

With all this growth and potential, it is important that brands selling globally have a Southeast Asia strategy. It is important to remember that it is not one market. You will need a language strategy, a platform strategy and a social media marketing strategy. These are young, mobile-first, internet-savvy, social-media friendly markets.

First Year Anniversary of Into23

What we learnt during our first year of business as a translation company

Into23 will be one-year-old at the end of June! It was a crazy, tumultuous, difficult, journey but it has also been exciting, humbling, exhilarating and life-changing. Often at the same time.

We went through the gamut of emotional experiences: good, bad, sad, stressful, joyful, angry, happy!

We are starting our second year with a renewed vigour and focus, we have a strong customer base we build in year 1. We have new prospects in the good pipeline.

We have some exciting news coming that we hope to share in June.

We will be sharing some blogs about the experience of building a localization business in 2018. Our views on the future of the industry, of the business and, in particular, the impact Asian will have more of.

I would like to answer any questions anyone has: whether a suggestion for a topic, a question on running a startup, the industry…

Please add them here on the blog, on the LinkedIn share or email me on rdelanty@into23.com. I promise to answer each and everyone! Ask us anything! We have lots of opinions.

If anyone is interested in having a business discussion please get in touch! We are always open to discussions, partnerships, referral agreements or anything else you may want to talk about…Into23 provides Best Translation Services in Singapore and across Southeast Asia.

Translating Crypto: the key to a successful global ICO

Translating crypto documents will greatly expand the potential investor pool for your cryptocurrency launch.

These days as I see more and more ICO’s getting launched, and so is an need to market the product. Branding, PR and Marketing, community building are some of the key elements which make an #ICO launch successfully. Building and engaging a strong community is a prerequisite for the success of your ICO. In addition to that to build a viable and sustainable token economy, it is essential to present that by writing a well-defined white paper and business plan. The white paper is a professional document usually issued by a company which showcases objective and current data on a subject, such as its economic activities.

As companies become more and more internationalised, white paper translation services are increasingly in demand. Translation is a difficult task, mainly due to the length and technical complexity of such documents. Each white paper has its specificities, and any professional translation company must employ subject-matter experts to produce a quality translation. This institutional document is a reflection of the company as a whole, and thus it is vital to be on the ball when translating as even a small mistake can spell disaster for the company’s strategic decisions. Any company seeking to have its whitepaper translated should therefore carefully choose its translation company, as its image is on the line!

Bounty campaigns are a great way to promote your ICO but take care when using these campaigns to get content translated. Bounties are rewards for completed tasks: with the free availability of online translation services like Google Translate, you have no way of knowing if your bounty hunters have done a professional job or just used a service like Google Translate. Poorly translated content will make your ICO look unprofessional to native speakers of that language. You are probably better off not translating than translating badly.

Our recommendation: appoint a translation agency to manage all translation needed for your ICO: website, white paper, marketing content, social media posts. If you choose a good one, they can also act as your translation advisor.

Why you should translate ICO documents!

Expand your investor potential: translate your cryptocurrency documents

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain has the potential to change how we do business. Blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions.  A transaction can involve the exchange of money, data or anything of value.  It is a digital spreadsheet distributed across multiple computers.  It combines the openness and decentralization of the internet with the security of cryptography.  A Blockchain collects and orders data in blocks securely using cryptography, these blocks are then distributed, stored and regularly updated across the network.

Initial Coin Offering (ICO)

An ICO is a lot like an IPO except Investors get tokens instead of shares.  It is the new way of crowdfunding projects related to Blockchain or cryptocurrency.  A business doing an ICO will issue a set number of its own cryptocurrency tokens.  Investors buy these tokens, either by using other cryptocurrency or old-fashioned fiat-money.   The main difference between an ICO and an IPO is that tokens to do not represent shares in the company, they are tokens which may go up or down in value.

Investor due diligence

ICO is an emerging investment field that is still largely unregulated.  ICOs have received a lot of negative press, much of it due to a large number of scams.  However, there are hundreds of projects raising funds through ICO that are genuinely innovative and exciting.

ICO investors are putting more effort into due diligence.  Investors today expect to see a white paper, but a white paper alone is probably not enough.  Investors want a yellow paper as well as a business plan.  A roadmap is also a good idea; if you have already started coding, it is good to give access to your code.  Highlight your leadership team, advisors and partnerships to show why investors should trust you.  You need to get across why you are raising funds via an ICO.  Why your token will be in demand, why it will increase in value?  Do investors get a service/product benefit by holding the token?  List your ICO on the major listing sites for ratings.

The Importance of Translation

Investors are being more cautious than earlier.  Investments in ICO dropped to $200M in Dec 2017 from $800M in September.   Translate your ICO documents into multiple languages will expand your pool of possible investors.  Use a qualified translation supplier with strong ICO/Blockchain experience: a poorly translated document is more likely to raise red flags than not having it translated.  If you are planning to use Google Translate to translate your documents, think again!

Your blog posts, your social media messages, announcements, newsfeeds should all be translated to keep your global investors interested and engaged.

Our recommendation is to translate into German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Russian, Indonesian, Arabic.  I would also consider adding Polish, Czech, Romanian, Turkish, Thai, Vietnamese.  The cost to do this will be minimal compared to your overall ICO cost but nothing will increase your investor exposure than a well-translated ICO offering!

Into23 has a successful track record translating ICO documents for a number of customers.  Please contact us at info@into23.com to learn more.