Going global by staying local: A guide to localisation for SMEs.

A couple of weeks ago, we were pitching our services to a potential client (a SME). As always, we tried to get familiar with their brand and ethos before meeting them. We were not impressed with the quality of their existing translation which converted in low sales.  Their question was: “what can we do to improve the quality of the translation?”.

We will never tire to stress that translation is a critical and fundamental step that your company must undertake in today’s competitive and global market.  Translation, marketing and sales go hand in hand in today’s market.

Your brand is your biggest asset in your native country hence it should become your silver bullet in your international market.

In the UK, many clients have the perception that everybody can speak English hence localising their marketing material in another language is just a preferential choice.

Firstly, let me prove that this might not be true.


Only 6% of the world’s population speaks English as a first language;

75% of the world’s population doesn't speak ANY English


Each client has and will always have a different approach to translation, we would like to emphasise that our team always customise the translation strategy for each client. We recommend planning your strategy with an experienced language service provider and make sure that your localised material reflects your company’s ethos and brand.

Step 1: determine the country you want to target and not the language e.g. the United Kingdom rather than English as there are specific linguistic and cultural differences to consider between the different variants of English. The same applies to other languages spoken in more than one country (Spanish, French, etc.…).

Step 2:  Identify the weaknesses and strengths of your market, who are my current competitors in that country, what style do they use, is my product or service competitive enough in the local market, is there a product with a similar name and so on?

Is my company’s name understood and perceived well?

Please mention any of these points to your translation provider as they will help you to assess this and consider this when localising your files.

Step 3: Identify the terminology used in your industry in that particular language. This will not  only help with the translation phase but also with the sales and marketing process (and localised SEO).

We would like to emphasise the importance of specific terminology in certain industries such as healthcare: in order to be accepted by local authorities products need to conform with the terminology standards.

Step 4: Last but not least, consistency is crucial in your translation. We always use the same team for a specific client. Translation memories, glossaries and style guides compiled for each account are sent to each member of the translation team. These are updated on an ongoing basis throughout any translation tasks.


TranslationsInLondon Ltd
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Coles Green Road
NW2 7HA London
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Company number 7320896
VAT number GB 130052182

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