The opportunities for companies planning to target an Arabic audience are huge – over 420million Arabic speakers around the world, 22 Arab countries, and a region full of “economic promise” according to the World Economic Forum competitiveness report in 2018.
However, venturing into a new market can take huge amounts of work and effort; new business regulations, laws and standards must be learnt and adhered to, while marketing materials, products and customer support systems all require translation and localization.
Add the element of competitors to this mixture, and we can begin to see that in order to be successful in an Arabic market, you’ve got to stand out from the crowd.
One way to do this, while ensuring a smooth transition, successful sales, and optimal brand recognition, is through the use of professional Arabic translation and localization of your website.
It has been shown in numerous research surveys that customers overwhelmingly prefer to browse, and purchase, from websites available in their native language. They will also steer away from sites which offer predominantly ‘English-only’ versions (if English isn’t their first language) as they find them less trustworthy, difficult to navigate and uncertain of potential customer support issues.
It becomes clear then, that the way to win customers, endorse your brand and be successful in an Arabic market, is by ensuring you offer an Arabic language alternative which utilises professional translation and localization for your website, products, marketing and so on.
The following points will help you optimize your Arabic translation and localization, ensuring you get the most of the service.
1. Translation, Localization and Transcreation
Before we go into how to optimize Arabic translation, there are a few key words which need clarification:
• Translation – is the process of altering words from one language (source) to another language (target). It is the most basic of the three with an emphasis on offering the best match for the words used. The words should still convey the overall message but translation doesn’t take account of cultural nuance.
• Localization – is a far more advanced version of translation. In this case the whole message is ‘localized’ to fit with a particular regional language and culture. For instance, idioms, or common phrases would be altered to fit with the new target language as opposed to the original source. The content conveys the same feeling, emotion, emphasis and message as the original but is directed to target a specific regional audience. Localization moves beyond translation to add cultural depth and expectation.
• Transcreation – is a marketing version of localization. It can be used to ‘translate’, or alter, a slogan, marketing campaign, brand image and logo or company name. For instance, Nike recalled trainers which used a symbol to resemble fire but also looked like the Arabic word for Allah. Had they checked with a professional localization and translation service provider, before production, they would have been aware of any cultural or religious links to the symbol.
2. Localized Search Engine Optimization
An essential element of offering a professionally translated and localized Arabic website is the improvement this makes to your ratings on local search engines.
If you use an English-only website for Arabic nations, you’re unlikely to score well in search engine ratings as meta-descriptions, keywords, page titles, and so on, won’t be relevant or recognized by search engine ‘crawlers’.
Knowing and understanding your target audience plays a vital role in selecting the most accurate SEO information for your site. Professional translation companies can advise with this process, saving you much time, effort, and costly mistakes!
It is far easier to do the research first than try to correct mistranslations or tactless cultural blunders.
It is also worth noting that keyword research should be performed for each region, even though Arabic people all speak one language, Arabic, there are many regional dialects such as, Egyptian Arabic, Levantine Arabic, Iraqi Arabic and Gulf Arabic.
3. Language, Location and Living
There are many countries in the world that are considered to be multicultural due to the large expat communities and diverse populations who dwell there.
A prime example of this within the Middle East is the United Arab Emirates.
Here you will find that almost 28% of the population are Indian, 12% Pakistani, and 2% Chinese. Therefore, assuming all those that live in this region will be native Arabic speakers would be inadvisable.
Likewise, there are some countries which are officially multi-lingual such as, Belgium, Switzerland and India.
Understanding the demographics, culture, society, history and language of the region is vital to understanding your market, and offering a successful website for potential customers.
It may be necessary to adapt language on your website to suit multi-lingual users, while also taking account of country specific items such as, currency.
4. Localized Customer Service
Customer service is an often overlooked, but totally vital element of a good localization strategy.
To ensure good communication channels with customers, brand loyalty, and customer satisfaction, a localized customer service is essential.
We’ve all needed to return an item, request additional information about a product, or ask advice from a sales rep before purchasing, but if we can’t understand the customer service operator we are talking to, we are unlikely to proceed with the sale, or do business with them again.
Ensuring your website has local phone numbers and addresses displayed, with native-speaking employees, will reassure potential customers that you are prepared to do business with them on their terms, and that you have made a commitment to their ease of purchasing.
Similarly, live chats and social media pages should be localized by using employees who are native Arabic speakers to manage these accounts.
If you require assistance with any element of Arabic translation, localization or transcreation, please contact us at Creative Word where our native Arabic and English-speaking translators will be happy to advise you.
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