Often when thinking of exporting overseas, our minds become clouded with images of corporate giants employing freighter ships that move vast tons of cargo from location to location; however, the truth is that exporting products from the US is much more varied than this. Of all the companies that export from the United States, only 7,085 (2.5%) have more than 500 employees, while there are almost 150,000 companies (52.1%) with less than 100 employees (not including those whose number of employees is unknown). With 95% of the global market outside of the United States and global trade expected to continue to grow at 4% or above for 2018 and 2019 (and having grown at a steady 4.8% since 1990), the opportunity for growth is obvious. Of course, there’s more to it than just having a good ecommerce provider and a website that translates into Spanish, for example. Below are 4 aspects that small or start-up exporters need to consider.
Finding the right partners is essential to trade, but to find the right partners to complement your business, you literally have to speak their language. From simply finding contacts, making the initial pitch to work together, and through to negotiations and final contracts, using the right language in the correct way can easily make or break a deal. Additionally, it can also show your respect and seriousness towards working with a reputable partner. Think of it this way: if an unknown foreign business contacted your company using broken, miswritten English, would you consider that company a reliable and considerate business partner?
Whether you are exporting beauty products, textiles, building equipment, or medicine, knowing the restrictions and regulations of where you are exporting your products is vital. Some countries require specific documentation for products and others prohibit the shipping or importation of specific products; as the exporter, the responsibility is on you to know, understand, and comply with all shipping regulations. For example, specifically looking at importing medicinal products into the EU, the applicant has to first be authorized by providing information about the use/manufacturing of the product, the premises, technical equipment, control and storage of the product, and finally, prove that certified experts are involved to assure quality. Furthermore, with the translations of all Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC), Patient Information Leaflet (PIL), label annex, etc. requiring the approval of Member States that use a total of 24 official languages (as well as Norwegian and Icelandic), this can seem a daunting obstacle for all exporters. The ability to comprehend and follow processes regardless of language differences will greatly aid your ability to seamlessly export your products.
Legal and Marketing
Licensing could be viewed as an easy strategy to penetrate a new foreign market, coming along with less risk and costs than a direct investment, but in order to protect the interests and assets of both parties, international attorneys step in, and often agree on a language clause indicating which version of the document will prevail in case of inconsistencies, where naturally the language of your business better come with priority. In Canada, for example, the Official Languages Act requires that both English and French are given equal weight, meaning that all legal agreements should be provided in both languages.
Marketing your products is an absolute necessity; however, the proverbial road is paved with epic translation-based marketing failures. From Ford’s “Every car has a high-quality corpse” (“Every car has a high-quality body” in Dutch) to Coors’ “Suffer from diarrhea” (“Turn It Loose” in Spanish), making sure that your marketing conveys the right message cannot be overstated.
With the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), companies specifically looking to export to the EU must take a firmer, pro-active stance towards data security. As the new regulations affect not only EU-based companies, but also companies that do business in the EU, potential exporters will need to adjust their data security standards and data availability to meet these new regulations. Overall, companies will need to be: more open regarding the role of data protection in building systems; more forward with issues of security breach notifications; more accountable regarding the use and portability of personal data, and more willing to enact the right to be forgotten. As with the other areas, the information regarding this will also need to be localized to consumers regardless of language.
All things considered, with technology, ecommerce, and the continued growth of the global marketplace, the potential for US exporters is tremendous; however, like many other aspects of business, it depends on having and utilizing the correct tools to take advantage of the situation. In this case, working with a reliable and experienced LSP can go definitely a long way towards making any overseas venture successful.
At EVS Translations, human expertise combines with technical innovation to deliver intelligent ISO-certified and GDPR-compliant language solutions that help businesses implement a road map for internationalization. Through more than 25 years of partnering with global businesses, we have developed a comprehensive approach to translation that covers essential criteria for robust service delivery. Unique in-house teams across all project critical areas make complex and diverse content accessible to all of your global stakeholders, whichever languages they speak.