Enter New Markets

Today, becoming an international business is only a few clicks away. The online world has made entering new markets effortless. On the other hand, the ease of serving foreign customers can trick us into thinking that being international might be easy too. Although there’s nothing to prevent you from selling to people abroad, international success requires hard work. Localization enables your company to enter new and growing markets and to compete effectively.

It might seem that “everyone” can speak English. To some extent, this is true, because English is an extremely widely spoken language. Worldwide, 359 million people speak English as their native language and 900 million to 1.5 billion people speak it as a second language. (Source: Wikipedia)


Countries where English has an official status (Wikipedia)

Distribution of languages in the world (Wikipedia)

Distribution of languages in the world (Wikipedia)

However, there’s a clear difference between what people can do and what they want to do. Even if someone can speak English (or any other language besides his or her mother tongue), it doesn’t mean that he or she would be comfortable to do so. The chart below illustrates the situation quite well.


Source: Flash Eurobarometer by European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/flash/fl_313_en.pdf

This study shows that in Europe, 42% of people never use a language different from their own language when they search or buy things on the Internet.

People truly prefer using their own language. We at Multilizer have seen this ourselves with our product called PDF Translator. When we asked our users why they want to translate PDF files, the most common reason is to understand a user manual of a product they have just purchased. They need to rely on automatic translation, because there is not a localized version of the manual available in their language and they need the manual to be able to use the product.

For companies trying to expand their markets, localization is essential to the success of a product in international markets. Most global end-users prefer to use a product in their own language rather than English, which to them is a second (or third) language.

Localization is the way to ensure the highest-quality customer service. If your company invests in providing product materials in the local language, people will appreciate it. Language is personal. Research shows that people think differently when they use different languages. The native language is the language that is closest to our emotions.

Localization ensures that the product will not only be translated into the appropriate language, but it will also be tailored to fit the local culture. New products are often a mental or economic risk in a sense that people cannot be completely sure what they will get. A clever marketer minimizes the risk of misunderstanding and insecurity proactively.

Besides the native language, people tend to valuate if the product is local. For an international company, it is impossible to be truly local everywhere. Nonetheless, they can feel local. A product that is localized very well will appear as though it was originally produced in that country. The country of origin becomes less relevant when the user can feel an emotional connection to the brand.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.

If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

– Nelson Mandela

Global competition is a reality in most industries these days. Potential customers can find a handful of options with just a few clicks. It is not an easy thing to stand out from the crowd. A sure way to be ignored is to speak a language that the people cannot understand. If there is an easier option, we often do not give any attention to the more difficult ones.

From all the available solutions, a customer will choose not only the one that fits his or her budget but also the one that feels right. Localization is the key to building a relationship with people around the world. When you look at some of the most successful brands, you’ll see that they all have put a lot of effort on localization. All the advanced brand-building strategies won’t work if the potential customers don’t understand the language.

Checklist for New Market Entry

Explore the new market.

Get to know the people.

Use local help.

Benchmark competition.


Top 10 Languages by Native Speakers

  • Mandarin (955 million)
  • Spanish (445 million)
  • English (359 million)
  • Hindi (310 million)

  • Arabic (295 million)
  • Portuguese (215 million)
  • Bengali (205 million)
  • Russian (155 million)

  • Japanese (125 million)
  • Punjabi (102 million)
  • Other languages (4135 million = 57% of all)