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How to Use Localization Services to Improve Your Global Trading Prospects


How to Use Localization Services to Improve Your Global Trading Prospects

One of the most difficult aspects of global trading is the language barrier that businesses face. The famous cultural faux pas of brands trying to operate overseas never reflect well on the companies concerned, unless you subscribe to the theory that all PR is good PR.

Cultural missteps are a major reason global brands can’t simply stop at translation. They also need localization services. Localization is the process of preparing all parts of a product or message for a certain region. Below, we’ll look in more detail at what localization is, why it’s important, and how it can help your business.

What Is Localization?

Localization covers far more than translating a message from one language into another, although that is part of what it entails. Localization is about making sure a product or a piece of content fits into another market or location.

Localization must take many factors into account while converting a message or product. First and foremost, it makes sure that the item in question stays consistent across cultural barriers while also fitting into the new culture.

What is the localization process? Well, it adapts a message in several ways. It also addresses graphics. The content itself might be modified to suit the habits or expectations of the new market.

The layout of the text could be altered to fit a new language. Some cultures read right to left instead of left to right, so localization takes this into account. Formats such as phone numbers, measurement units, currency symbols, and addresses might be updated as part of the process as well.

Another large and integral part of localization is making sure the message or product conforms to new market regulations and consumer habits. For instance, different jurisdictions have different privacy laws, seller licenses, or censorship rules that a company must adhere to. On the business side, what works in one market for a product might not work in another market.

Why Is Localization from a Translation Company Important?

Given how much localization handles, it’s a necessary service if you wish to do business in a foreign market.

Why is localization important? Business ventures are notoriously risky as it is. Business dynamism records the number of firms that are born and fail. A positive business dynamism means that more firms are born than fail. However, in the US, 12 new firms per business establishment were created in 1978; this had fallen to 6.2 by 2011.

If you plan to do business globally, it’s important to use a translation company for your localization efforts. No business can afford to fail in a new region simply because it didn’t take local cultural nuances into account!

How Can Localization Help a Brand?

Professional localization services can make the difference between a company succeeding and struggling in a new overseas market.

Groupon has become a major case study in how not to expand into overseas markets since it began trying to do so back in 2011. The company rushed its service into the Chinese market without understanding Chinese consumer habits or culture. It accumulated $46.4 million in net losses and $2.1 million in revenue.

One issue Groupon failed to realize was that it pushed margins on deals too much for the Chinese market. In the US, Groupon makes 40% margins on deals. In China, no competitor makes more than 14%.

One of the largest factors localization takes into account is consumer and business habits within the new market. Without a strong localization team, it’s hard to understand certain details about a new culture, its purchasing habits, and its business trends, as Groupon showed.

Products and messages cannot simply be copied and pasted all around the world; localization is necessary for successful expansion in global markets.

How to Find the Best Localization Services

Many translation agencies also specialize in localization, especially larger agencies. You may want to start by checking with prospective translation agencies to see how they handle localization

When searching for services online, make sure the company has a professional website and proof of past work. A professional agency will have testimonials or a portfolio showing past work. Some smaller agencies or individuals may also have references that you can call.

You can also check around your professional network to see if anyone in your industry has worked with, and can recommend particular localization services.

When looking for localization agencies, be sure to check to make sure they have a background in business localization. Ideally, they should have worked with marketing messages and global business expansion in the past.

Finding a top-notch localization service is important; it can mean the difference between a strong entry into a certain market and a dismal flop.


What Every Business Should Know About Selling in China

Not only is China the most populous country on earth (1.3 billion people), it also has the second-biggest economy in the world by Nominal GDP (14.242 trillion dollars).

As the country has pursued ever more progressive policies to trade (and despite the current trade war between China and the United States) more and more opportunities to sell in the country have arisen to businesses across sectors. If you see China as a potential growth market, here are some of the most important considerations when selling in China.

Seek advice

When looking to enter a foreign market, it is always advisable to seek sage advice, and even look to local businesses who you can partner with. Although you may not wish to go down the partnership route, it is definitely advisable to seek the counsel of businesses who are already operating within the sphere, or groups such as the Global Innovation Forum who often provide free advice regarding penetrating new markets. 

This is a smart strategy because selling in China will be totally unlike selling domestically, or in European markets, for example. Any insights that you can garner will be potentially critical to the success of your sales strategy and approach in China, because as is abundantly clear, you will be operating within a totally different market, both literally and culturally.

“The cultural considerations when accessing new markets should never be overlooked. From the way that you brand and market your products to the way that you negotiate with local businesses and retailers, everything you do will be influenced by different rules: rules to which you are unfamiliar. Get the help you need to pass through this difficult phase,” advises Grant Tarrant, a business writer at and

Understand Chinese governmental practices and rules

Although the Chinese Government has grown increasingly receptive to foreign businesses working and partnering in China, rules will still be a little conservative in comparison to the Western approach. Make sure you totally familiarize yourself with what you are expected to adhere too, especially when visiting the country and seeking to operate a sales operation from within China.

For example, you will need to understand the levels of bureaucracy that exist to set up a business entity that operates within China. For example, you may need to set up as a Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise (WFOE) to operate, and this can be a costly and timely exercise that may delay you implementing your sales strategy. Forming a business plan which pays close attention to all the requirements (and timeframes) of the Chinese state is essential.

Understand your customer

This piece of advice holds for whoever you are selling too, but obviously your Chinese customer base will be different from your US customer base and will have different expectations. For example, haggling is a standard cultural procedure, and Chinese customers demand to know a product impeccably before they buy, so ensure that your eCommerce operation includes high numbers of images and product reviews: this will be expected.

“If you study Chinese eCommerce sites such as Taobao you will see that it facilitates the Chinese custom of haggling down prices. In the West we are totally unfamiliar with this practice as we are satisfied that the price is the price, Be prepared to change your approach accordingly,” says Rachel Walliston, a marketer at and

Provide impeccable customer support

Chinese customers have come to expect an extremely high level of customer support from their retailers and will demand this from any new business operating within their sphere. Knowing this, make sure you ramp up support efforts, and that, of course, raises questions regarding how you will do this in a new language and culture. Seeking advice from established entities is again the recommended route, and establishing support centers in the country is also best practice. 

Understand the marketing and communication channels

If you go in with a Facebook-based marketing strategy, be prepared to be disappointed. In China the social media platforms are different, for example, WeChat is one of China’s most popular platforms, but barely exists outside of the country. It has been dubbed a ‘super-app’ because it can be used for a multitude of actions, so utilizing such platforms is an absolute must if you wish to successfully penetrate the Chinese market. 


Ashley Halsey is a writer, editor and international business expert who can be found at both and She has been involved in many projects in Asia, and enjoys traveling, reading and cultural exchanges.


Why Brazil Could Be the U.S.’s Next Great Trade Partner

The U.S. and Brazil are the largest economies in the Americas, and all signs point to an even more active relationship between the two powerhouses in the future. Just this year it was confirmed that U.S. citizens would no longer need a visa to travel to Brazil and can remain in the country for at least 90 days, allowing for more frequent interactions at a very basic level. Since that announcement, Brazil has seen increased travel interest from American tourists, with searches for flights from the U.S. to Brazil up more than 30 percent in March alone, compared to the previous year. 

While tourism is a great way to build strong country relationships, what’s even more significant is a recent report that shows investment interactions between the U.S. and Brazil increased – and improved – between 2008 and 2017. More specifically, the report highlighted growth and opportunity across three of the most powerful indicators of economic health between 2008 and 2017: direct investments, exportation and employment. 

Consider that by the end of 2017, U.S. investments into the Brazilian economy reached a whopping $68 billion, comprising nearly 3.3 percent of Brazil’s overall gross domestic product (GDP) – according to the report. For its part, Brazil’s foreign direct investments into the U.S. surged dramatically (356.5 percent) over the last decade, reaching over $42 billion in 2017. What’s more, from an exportation standpoint, the U.S. is a key destination for Brazilian exports. In fact, in 2017 alone, Brazil exported goods worth over $27 billion to the U.S. Similarly, the U.S. was the second main source of imports to Brazil in 2017. 

Naturally, prolific trade and investment between the two countries is already leading to job creation in both countries. U.S.-controlled multinational companies employed nearly 655,000 Brazilians in 2015 and generated 131,900 new jobs in Brazil between 2009 and 2015. On the other hand, Brazilian companies in the U.S. employed over 74,000 Americans in 2015. Further, for Brazil, increasing trade with the U.S. also eases the country’s access to other international markets, boosting Brazil’s clout internationally while also broadening the job market and improving the Brazilian economy. In turn, increased trade with Brazil offers the U.S. access to resources that are critical to the American economy, such as oil and gas, mining, and chemicals. 

As these initial results suggest, the opportunities on the horizon for a mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries are seemingly limitless. Currently, the U.S. is investing heavily in sectors across the Brazilian economy, focusing especially on mining, finance and insurance – and the U.S. is also especially well positioned to take advantage of unprecedented access and opportunity in one particular sector: oil. In light of that fact that the global demand for oil is rising, potentially reaching 102.3 million barrels per day by 2022, the Brazilian oil and gas industry presents the next great investment opportunity for foreign investors, especially those from the U.S. 

Indeed, Brazil’s oil reserves are enormous – the 15th largest in the world, with over 15 billion barrels – and are located mostly offshore in deep waters. Brazilian oil companies are already pushing the boundaries of innovation when it comes to deep water exploration. Petrobras, for example, discovered pre-salt oil reserves – which are entirely unique to Brazil – off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in the Santos Basin in 2006. This initial discovery led the company to find a series of even larger oil reserves containing potentially billions of barrels of light oil. As oil experts will know, pre-salt extraction is more painstaking and complicated than other forms of oil and gas removal. However, investing in exploration and production in the pre-salt regions is becoming absolutely critical as the world’s post-salt reserves dwindle. Since discovering these reserves, Petrobras has actually developed many of the technologies needed to overcome harsh oceanographic conditions and create production infrastructure. 

Of course, breaking into a new foreign market is always daunting. To entice foreign investors who are best equipped to efficiently and responsibly drill at these pre-salt reserves, Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency is organizing seven auctions (also known as “bidding rounds”) between 2019 and 2021, during which they’ll auction off areas containing billions of barrels of oil. These bidding rounds are designed to formally and transparently assign blocks from the pre-salt reserves that Petrobras currently has ownership over. During an upcoming bidding round on November 6, for instance, the Brazilian government will auction off the rights to extract the excess of 15 barrels of oil from across four fields called Atapu, Buzios and Itapu e Sépia. The winners will be able to utilize Petrobras’ technical data for pre-salt exploration and extraction in return for reimbursing Petrobras for a portion of its investment costs.

Encouraging bilateral trade and investment between Brazil and the United States is already leading to economic growth for both countries, and – as the data from recent years shows – the opportunities for future mutual prosperity are endless. By continuing to create unique investment opportunities, such as those offered to foreign investors during the upcoming oil auctions, Brazil will be able to court U.S. investors and further solidify its standing as America’s next great international trade partner. 

To consult the schedule of bids and more information, please, refer to:


Sergio Ricardo Segovia Barbosa, 55, is a retired Rear Admiral in Brazilian Navy. With recognized professional experience in military, managerial and governmental areas, he has worked in Intelligence Analysis, Military Operations, and Logistics. He also worked in Emergency and Risk Management, Maritime Safety, Strategic Planning, Navigation and Maritime Operations. In addition, in the foreign trade area, he was responsible for logistics and international acquisition processes, when he was in charge of the group for ship receiving abroad.

Mr. Segovia has a postgraduate degree in Politics and Strategy from the War College. He is fluent in English and Spanish.