Showcasing at an exhibition, especially one abroad, takes months of planning and a variety of resources, depending on how involved you are going to be (i.e. exhibiting or just visiting, booth size, how many of your team are travelling, meeting setups etc.). Many of the organization’s departments are involved too, including finance, marketing, sales, and even senior management.
During an exhibition, one of the most vital elements in getting your message across to your foreign audience is translation. It makes a substantial impact on the booth’s traffic, interest in your product or service, and ultimately – sales.
So, how do companies make the right decision – to translate or not, and if so, what exactly?
Marketing assets and translations
There is no need to translate all of the company’s literature for an event or exhibition. The exhibition manager, normally responsible for putting the event together, selects the relevant material, after assessing the marketing and sales assets available, such as: company brochures or short pamphlets, website content or maybe just a landing page, social media, presentations, etc…
What to translate – how to decide?
The decision regarding which materials and marketing assets should be translated depends on some basic parameters:
- Exhibition country – Where are you showcasing your products or services, what language is spoken there, and what is your country of origin?
- If you are traveling to an English speaking country from an English speaking country you probably don’t need any translations, unless foreign visitors are expected. For example, for a conference in the USA with Latin American attendees, it would be worthwhile to have material translated into Spanish.
- If the exhibition is taking place in a non-English speaking country, you should prepare material translated into the language of the target audience. Needless to say, if you travel to China or Japan you must have translated material; it would be a shame to miss out on a large audience simply because they can’t understand you.
- It’s important to realize that not all content is relevant in all countries. Select only what is most relevant for your target audience.
- Budget – considerable financial resources are required: booth design and setup, flights, hotels & accommodation, etc. True, translation is an additional cost, but it is very important on the one hand, and relatively low cost, on the other. Cut costs elsewhere…
- Print – Some material can be stored online and you can direct your audience to the online presence, such as website content or maybe a PDF brochure. However, there is no replacement for a handout brochure, not to mention a dual language name card. Plenty of these should be printed and be easily available to hand out.
- Time table: Getting organized for an exhibition requires time! There are numerous tasks to complete, and translation takes time too.
- Give yourself time to organize and select the material most suitable for your audience, along with editing possibilities to suit the specific event.
- Allow for time to finalize details with your language service provider, including price negotiations. Make sure they’ve received all of the materials, and check a sample translation, if this is the first time you’ve worked with them on this language pair.
- Allow for a review period for comments and back-and-forth communication.
- Graphic design and layout of the translated text – all these take time too.
- And finally, time for printing. Consider print quantities: decide what is to be left on digital platforms (website, social media, and blog) and what you want in hard copy. Take into consideration the shipping time of the material to the venue. Air-mail is faster, but it is also substantially more expensive than shipping by sea. Some companies actually find a local printer, close to the venue.
Time is money and planning ahead will save on rush fees for last minute assignments.
We at Lichi Translations have a team of experts ready to help you with your exhibition and event translation requirements. Our project managers will be available for you 24/7, and with almost 20 years of experience in the field, we provide a range of solutions that are a perfect fit for your organization’s requirements.