Letting them know who you are in their language

by Philip Pittsford, International Sales Manager at NOW Foods

The benefits of translating text into different markets are many. There is a saying (and a bumper sticker too) which says; “Think global, act local” and for those that work in international markets, it should resonate. Part of acting local is offering product information in the language of the market you are selling into. NOW Foods is a full line manufacturer of dietary supplements; we offer vitamins, herbal products, sports nutrition and personal care items, totaling over 1000 different products. Today we are actively engaged in some 70 different countries where we are selling a variety of the products we manufacture.

Offering product information in the local language

We currently sell NOW® product under foreign language labels, the brand says NOW® but the label text may be in Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin, or some other language. Not all countries require that a label be in the local language, but a growing number are.  We also offer product information in over 15 different languages which has proven to be very effective. While many of the people I interact with may speak English, that is not the case for the thousands of consumers that buy and use our products around the world on a daily basis. Therefore, offering product information of any type in the local language is an important part of the sales process. We have partnered with Interpro to handle our translation work.

Because our products can be complex, or formulated for specific purposes, in order for the consumer to understand what the product is for and how to use it, we have to offer the information in a format that the local consumer understands. We have been able to penetrate into markets and build our presence because we can offer information in the local language and Interpro is able to offer translations using a local syntax in many cases, which is an added benefit of working with a professional translation company.  As the brand holder, it is important for us to control the message that is being sent about our products. Rather than have our local distributors translate our materials, we prefer to handle this ourselves and the positive feedback we have gotten from the material we have sent tells me that Interpro takes the time to get it right.

Success in several markets with translations

When we say we can do labels in your language, or that we can send POP (point of purchase) material in your language, this tells my customer that we are interested in their market and we are willing to engage in translation services to help them grow their business. The benefits of translation can be measured which is an important point when speaking with the Finance Department. When you offer translated materials and see growth in sales, there is a correlation. We have had great success in several markets with translations of our quality catalog and other company material. Why? Because we can tell our story to the consumer, in their language. They learn more about us and what we do, which in turn can (and hopefully does) make them more predisposed to choose my product over someone else’s.

Think global and act local, let your customers get to know you by telling them who you are in their language.
 

Philip Pittsford has over 25 years of international business experience in several industries.  He is on the National Steering Committee of the District Export Councils, where he serves as Chair of the Legislative Committee and he is the Vice Chair of the Illinois District Export Council He has traveled the world for business, he has an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management [Thunderbird]. Philip is an E and E-Star Award winner (’07,’10).