Product management covers the entirety of the life cycle of a product. As such, product managers are faced with a lot of tasks based on what I’ve seen so far. In this post, we discuss the role of translation to overcome language barriers in the product management process.
Overcoming language barriers in a Global Economy
China has just surpassed the United States as the richest country in the world. That just shows how the world economy is becoming more diversified. But a more diverse world also means that there are communication hurdles that must be overcome. Translation can be an effective instrument for overcoming the language barriers faced in various industries. If your company is having a product made in another country, for example, that’s a barrier that can be overcome by translation.
I have seen first-hand how far language expertise can go and the following sections outline what I know so far on how translation can help in overcoming language barriers.
What product managers must do
The first thing they need to do is conduct research. They must learn about the market of the company and if there is a demand for the product once it gets launched. The research also includes checking the user personas and creating a customer avatar. These would allow the company to develop a product that is better targeted for the people who will actually be using it. I’ve seen companies struggling right after they entered a new market because they didn’t do proper research for the product.
Based on my experience, another key piece of research that a product manager must perform is competitive research or analysis. This is vital because no business today should get started without checking what is being offered by other organizations in the same niche. Many use this form of research to check out the strategies used by other players.
The research should also help when it comes to determining the strategies used by leading companies in the same niche. What are strategies that work for your competitors? You can always learn from what they are doing correctly and implement it for your own project.
Competitive analysis can also help your business decisions regarding your product. Will you pursue a specific market? Should you try marketing your product in another language? The answers to those questions can be influenced in some way by the findings of your competitive analysis.
Once done with research, a product manager’s next step would be to develop a strategy for the product.
Once the strategy has been developed then it has to be communicated to the various stakeholders. A company that provides translations can still play a pivotal role here, especially if some of the stakeholders are based in other countries.
Product management Strategy: How do you overcome language barriers?
As mentioned earlier, product management encompasses a lot of things. A company that provides translations need not be involved with all of those aspects of product management, especially in overcoming language barriers. Here are some of the aspects of product management where translation can be very handy.
Product and packaging design
When the product is supposed to be launched and sold in various markets, the packaging and the product itself should go through the checking of a translator. This is especially crucial if the market where the product is going to be launched has a different language. Based on the projects that we have worked on in the past, some products also require very specific instructions when it comes to the information on the packaging.
For vape products in the province of Quebec of Canada for example, there are very specific instructions on how the content in the packaging should be written. For that sort of content, a translator should work on it.
Listen to this podcast Designing beyond devices – Cheryl Platz on The Product Experience
Negotiations and management
Once your product moves from the planning stage to the actual production, you can also benefit from having the support of a good translator. There is a good chance that you will be dealing with a foreign supplier or manufacturer and the communications and the documents must go through translation. We have seen numerous cases in which translators have helped companies save large amounts of money because they cleared up things during negotiations.
Customer service and marketing
Once your product has been launched into the different markets, it will reach the stage where it has to be marketed and that’s the same time during which customer service must be provided. If you are in a non-English market then you will need help from a company that provides translations. A huge plus of working with a big company is that the output is already localized. Localization means the content is actually matched with the culture and the practices of the area. Phrases and ideas which should be avoided when marketing in an area can also be avoided. This is also important when providing customer support.
Picking the right company for product management
It’s not difficult to look for a company that provides translations these days. The problem is picking the right one from all the choices that are available online. The best rule to follow is to check the experience of the company. Make sure that they have worked on projects that are related to product development.
For example, a company that has translated packaging is a good candidate. If you’re going to do marketing in a non-English speaking country, you need to look for a company that has done that before, especially with the same target language. I would say that translating for customer service can be a bit tricky but it can be done with chatbots and companies can translate the existing English content.
Those are the aspects of product management in which a company that provides translations can help. If you’re currently developing a product and even if you have the product on the marketing stage already, working with a company that provides translations can still be very helpful. Remember, 21% of products do not meet the needs of customers. Avoid being part of that statistic with proper product management.