Overtaking Your Market Share in Another Language

Expanding into new markets is always exciting and a bit intimidating. Getting a foot hold and becoming profitable in a new area amongst new competition is no small feat. When there’s a language barrier, that adds an entirely new layer of complexity. You must be able to communicate effectively with new customers, local employees, government officials, and business partners. This is a big undertaking. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make this process go as smoothly as possible.

Dig Deeper into The Local Languages

Keep in mind that within any country or regions, you may encounter multiple languages and then various dialects within those languages. Digging even deeper, you may even find idiomatic speech that is even more unique to a smaller geographical area. For example, the people of Switzerland may speak one of four languages. There are two languages spoken in Canada. In China, a very popular location for business expansion, there are hundreds of different dialects.

Do you really need to familiarize yourself with every language variation that may be spoken in a particular area? That depends. Communicating with people in the specific language they speak absolutely shows respect for their culture. It’s also a great way to become familiar with local customs as learning local dialects and understanding culture often go hand in hand. Even if you and your team members don’t become fully fluent, knowing important words and phrases in the local dialect is very helpful.

Invest in an On-site Interpreter

Negotiating with local vendors, dealing with government officials, even the process of hiring new employees can be challenging and sensitive. Miscommunications can really create roadblocks. The last thing you want to do is unintentionally offend anyone. Consider finding someone that you trust who speaks your language as well as the language of the region into which you are expanding. They should also be familiar with any pertinent customs and traditions. Ideally they will be someone who is trusted and respected by the local community. This person can act as interpreter and a bit of a diplomat throughout the process of expanding your business.

Be Aware of Potentially Confusing Speech

You have two challenges. The first is doing everything you can to understand the language and culture of the area in which you are expanding. The second is to ensure that you aren’t creating any confusion through your own use of language as well. Keep in mind that even when people you work with or serve in new areas speak and read your language, they may not be familiar with all of the nuances. Slang, colloquialisms, cultural references, etc. may be confusing. A professional translation agency, such as The Word Point, can help you to identify such words and phrases, and help you find suitable substitutes to use.

Focus on Both Translation and Localization

Your efforts to bridge any language gap should contain two separate but related efforts. The first is to translate all documents, advertising copy, product descriptions, packaging, manuals, landing pages, and other materials the appropriate target language(s). However, that is only part of what needs to be done.

The second action item will be to localize any content that will be seen by potential customers, employees, and other associates. This is the process where your content is modified to ensure that it makes sense and is relatable to your target audience. For example, if you are marketing to a teenage and young adult audience, you might make reference to popular sports teams and pop stars who are a hit in that particular region. The idea is to make your content as relevant as possible to the people consuming it.

Conduct a Competitive Analysis

One of the most sure ways to understand what it takes to bridge any language gap and overtake your market share in another country or region is to learn from your competitors. Is there anyone in your niche that has managed to gain traction in that area? What about businesses that are in a relate space, or that simply target the same demographic as you?

If there are, check them out. How are they reaching out to this new audience? Are they relying on social media alone or also using paid advertising? Have they done anything to turn local consumers into brand ambassadors? Take a look at their website and landing pages as well. The more you can learn about how they engage with different audiences at differents stages of the sales funnel the better.

Understand The Business Culture

Remember that people conduct business in different ways all over the world. In some places, it is traditional to simply jump right into shop talk and negotiations. In others, that would be considered rude and much too direct. Conducting business often bring up other cultural matters. In some areas, it is very traditional to do business over a meal. In others, any business would wait until after the meal. The simple act of saying no can be complex in foreign business dealings.

Seek Out Local Partnerships

When foreign companies expand into local economies, the people who live there are often suspicious and ill at ease. They may wonder if there way of life will be disrupted, or if people in their community will be taken advantage of. They may also wonder what, if anything, a new business will contribute to the local economy. Will there be new jobs?

Consider fostering good will by seeking out local partnerships and hiring from the local community. Look into working with local vendors, for example. Ask a local designer to help with ongoing projects.


There are several things to consider if you want to be competitive in new markets. If you are moving into a place where a different language is spoken, there are even more things for you to deal with. By following the advice here, you can better position your business for success.


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