There is a large and growing global demand for UK manufactured produce. Exports of food and drink grew to a record £22 billion in 2017, up 9.7% from 2016. With Brexit fast approaching, the weaker pound and a high demand for quality British exports, there has never been a better time to take your food and drink business global.

But is your food or drink brand ready for international markets? There are a few considerations when preparing your packaging, content and marketing collateral. We’ve put together these 5 language tips that could be the difference between taking a big slice or picking up the crumbs. 

1. Get experienced translators on board  

Research shows that consumers are considerably more likely to buy a product when it’s in their own language, so it’s no surprise that the most successful food and drink brands translate their packaging, labels and content into the language of their customers.

Employing the services of a reputable translation provider will make all the difference to the way your product is received. High-quality translation will be tailored to your target market, with the correct tone of voice, style and register. Cutting costs by using an inexperienced translator, or worse, using free online translation tools, could mean a brand message that’s as flat as a pancake.

2. Localise content to avoid a blooper

Localisation is the process of adapting content so that is it’s appropriate for different audiences. In-country translators appreciate local customs and cultures, and understand idioms that cannot be literally translated from one language to another. Let’s face it, if you get this even slightly wrong, you could leave a bad taste in your customers’ mouths.

For example, as delicious as ‘Child Shredded Meat’ or ‘Cream Collon’ might sound to some, mistranslations such as these will be seriously damaging to their chances of success.

3. Prepare your website and marketing materials  

Translating your website and marketing content from one language to another is not the only thing you need to think about. There are other important things to consider, such as the differences between the source and target languages, spacing, fonts, complex scripts, text within images, and so on.

To help mitigate any issues, make sure that your web developer and graphic designer are on board with the translation process. Layout issues are one of the most common issues, but these can be easily avoided with a little foresight and planning.

4. Don’t forget your packaging

Your promotional material might be looking pretty awesome, but what about your packaging? Fitting your content neatly in place might not be as easy as you think, especially when you realise that it can take up to 30% more space to say the same thing in some languages as it does in English.

5. Make it digital

Now your packaging, website and marketing collateral are ready, it’s time to start raising your profile online to let the world know that your fantastic food and drink products are available. Have you got a digital communications strategy?

Did you know that some countries censor or block popular sites like Facebook and YouTube? There are other alternatives that you should be aware of. For example, Xing is a popular video sharing site in Germany, and Tudou is important when reaching Chinese consumers.

Social media – Different social media sites have varying influence in different markets. Be sure to research the most relevant social media sites for your business in your target market.

Search – Google may be the most popular search engine in the UK, but make sure to research alternatives in the target country. If you’re not showing on Baidu in China or Yandex in Russia, you could well be missing out on huge revenue potential.


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