Challenges in Reaching an International Audience

Reaching an international audience is now an achievable goal for every business, but engaging overseas customers, and ensuring long-term success and growth of your brand, comes with a unique set of challenges.

Most of these challenges are linked to communication – connecting with foreign customers, establishing brand trust, offering effective customer services and successfully marketing products, all require communication with an audience that, most likely, don’t speak the same language or share the same culture.

To help your business reach its full potential with its international audience, we’ve complied a list of common challenges linked to communication within international trading and offer effective, viable solutions.




The primary challenge most companies face when looking to engage an international audience is the language barrier.

For effective marketing, training new staff, or making your website multilingual, automated machine translation tools such as, Google Translate, don’t give a professional, accurate translation and can damage your brand before you have made any progress in an overseas territory.

However, by using a professional Language Services Provider (LSP) you can achieve effective communication with potential foreign-language speaking customers.

There are two main services offered by LSPs which assist with language changes for international audiences, they are, Translation and Localization.

The following points will help you decide which service best suits your requirements:


• Translation

Translation offers a word-for-word adaption of language from the original (source) to the target language.

It is best used for the following:

• Websites

Technical Translations (instructions for use, manuals and so on)

• Literary Translations

• Legal Translations

• Medical Translations

• Religious Translations

• Packaging Translations

• Formal communications (letters, emails and so on)

• Contracts

Each of the above translation types can be utilised by any industry, however, finding a LSP that specializes in translations for your industry will give the best results.


• Localization

Localization is a more location specific translation which accounts for regional changes in culture, language, and customer expectation.

Localization is more in-depth than translation, giving the best opportunity to engage with local audiences, no matter where they are.

Localization is best used for:

• Website Localization (culturally adapted for local audiences ensuring more appropriate content)

• Copywriting (colloquial speech and dialects are adapted by region and language so that language is more fitting and as expected)

• Software Localization

• App Localization

• Video Localization


• Training videos

Voiceover and Subtitles

Localization adapts every aspect for a particular audience, meaning that factors such as, colour, currency, font, layout, design, images, content, dialect, logos, and more, may need to be localized and adapted so they are the best cultural fit.



From the above explanations of translation and localization, it is easy to see that adapting only language for an international audience, is not enough.

Culture is another major challenge for firms looking to appeal to an international audience, and in some ways, can be more difficult to navigate than language. It requires a native, fully immersed in the culture, to give an accurate interpretation which covers all elements of society, culture and language.

And, while language is intimately linked to culture, this changes remarkably from one region to another.

For instance, the Arabic language is spoken by over 400 million people worldwide and is the official language of 26 different countries, with multiple spoken dialects.

Simply, translating a website from English to Arabic isn’t enough to appeal to a specific, local audience, but localization will adapt the content so that it fits with each region’s expectations linked to tone of voice, dialect, colour and image use, currency and design aspects.


Whatever challenges you face with an international audience, be it linked to language or culture, the Creative Word team are here to help. Contact us here for more information.

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