Missing Out on Potential Customers Due to Language Barriers

For the past couple of decades, countries have opened their borders increasingly to foreigners, and in doing so, have strengthened business and travel relations. This trend has opened doors to a completely new public, including many potential new customers!

These open borders may be either virtual or physical. For example, Europeans may be buying products online through Amazon or eBay, or Chinese tourists travelling to Australia to shop in the malls and enjoy a vacation. Given these sales opportunities, new business prospects are now considerable, but many opportunities may be lost due to language barriers.

Is your business losing out financial opportunities due to communication gaps?

Definitely! Here’s how…


Tourists walking in malls, traveling on public transport or eating at restaurants can also read advertisements. However, if these ads are not in their language or don’t address them as potential customers, they are likely to be ignored. For example, if banks don’t translate and adapt their brochures, potential customers may not invest their money. If a restaurant menu isn’t translated or the food isn’t adapted to cultural needs (e.g., vegetarian for Indians or less spicy for Europeans), they’ll order less or maybe not even take a look inside.

The Toister Ranch – a good example of how to adapt to tourists

This is a family-owned boutique business, established in 1890, that produces exclusive Israeli olive oil. “The number of Chinese tourists visiting Israel is growing all the time. During their visit they hope to get a sense of the land, culture, and food. We understood that and decided to adapt our materials in Hebrew and English to Chinese in order to make them feel at home, just like we welcome our local visitors. Speaking in their language and providing them Chinese materials is sure to make them feel more comfortable. Lichi Translation helped us do that, thanks to their professional translation services.”

What steps can your business take to avoid losing out on business due to language barriers?

Change the sales pitch – present the product/service’s advantages in a manner adapted to your potential customers. Don’t sell products/services that these customers don’t need (e.g., a watermelon cutter to tourists who don’t eat watermelons); find out what they do need and what you can sell them.
Personal assistance – it’s always advisable to have a live person to service potential customers. So, make sure you have dedicated multilingual personnel on board, ready to understand and accommodate the traveler’s needs.
Train your staff – send your staff to regular training sessions on the culture and language of your potential market.
Adapt marketing material – translate your advertisements, adapt your website, and create brochures suited to the relevant languages.
Provide easy payment options – minimize payment difficulties and ease money transfer. You may have to be willing to accept payment in foreign currencies or partner with other banking services.

If you are in the tourist industry and would like to attract more tourists to your site, contact us today and we will assist you with your website, marketing collateral, brochures, and translate your advertising material.

Lichi Translation has wide experience with international organizations. We provide interpretation services, written translations, video subtitles, etc. Contact us today for help in overcoming the language barrier.

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