The Business Case for Translation: 5 Resources to Get Management on Board

November 3, 2014 by Acclaro
Category: Localization Tips, International Business, Translation Agency

If you’re running into hurdles trying to secure that increase in your 2015 localization budget, you’re not alone. Upper management often undervalues the effort, resources and budget required to successfully adapt products to international markets. So how can you capture their attention and convince them of the phenomenal impact that translation can have on your company’s profit margins?

For starters, sit down with your manager(s) this month and share the following five resources. Building a business case for translation involves not only drawing their attention to the shifts in today’s global business landscape, but also to what’s at stake when a company opts for low-cost translation solutions, or defers an international rollout only to be outpaced by a competitor. Armed with this actionable data, you’ll be able to speak the language of C-suite members and win them over to your cause.

1. Common Sense Advisory’s Report: “Translation at Fortune 500 Companies”
The Common Sense Advisory is your go-to source for concrete and reliable data on how translation equates to increased profits for American businesses. Several of their recent reports and surveys will come in handy as you build your case. This one in particular provides some compelling stats that your managers won't be able to ignore, including:

  • Businesses that increased their translation budgets were 1.5 times more likely to report increases in total revenue (2012).
  • Around 75% of Fortune 500 companies added new markets to their international efforts in one year’s time (2012).
  • Companies that invested in translation to outpace their competitors were 2.04 times more likely to increase their profits.

2. McKinsey’s Report: Urban world: “The Shifting Global Business Landscape”

Your company is probably already present in emerging economies but this report is a wake-up call to CEOs to scale up investment — and fast. The authors caution that CEOs can no longer remain complacent with regard to these high-growth markets. If you take McKinsey’s claims seriously, you’ll definitely want to capitalize on this trend by increasing translation spend for emerging countries. Here are just a few of the facts in favor of this approach:

  • Emerging economies’ share of Fortune Global 500 companies will likely jump to more than 45 percent by 2025.
  • In 2025, around 230 Fortune Global 500 companies will be based in the emerging world’s cities, up from 24 in 2000.
  • New industry hotspots will be sources of both competition and demand, so companies need to start tracking up-and-coming hubs in emerging regions. They’ll also need to consider opening headquarters overseas to share decision-making, R&D, product development, production and service leadership. 

3. eMarketer Article: “Global B2C Ecommerce Sales to Hit $1.5 Trillion This Year Driven by Growth in Emerging Markets”

By now, just about everyone in your company knows that emerging markets are the promised land of growth and profit margins. But this article sheds some light on how and where eCommerce companies can focus their expansion efforts to ride the lucrative wave in the upcoming years. Here are a few quick stats you can share with management if you are impacted by this sector:

  • Asia-Pacific surpassed North America this year to become the world’s largest regional eCommerce market.
  • China is expected to take around 75% of the region’s eCommerce spending by 2017, and to overtake the U.S. by 2016.
  • Major brands are the drivers behind this boom in emerging markets as they invest internationally.

4. Business News Daily’s “Lost in Translation: 8 International Marketing Fails”
This article is a valuable reminder of how due diligence and quality assurance are crucial elements to making a good impression in new international markets. Translation blunders and international marketing missteps are costly on multiple levels, from the harm caused to a brand’s budding reputation to the sizeable budget required for retranslation and rebranding.

5. Acclaro Whitepaper: An Introduction to Translation and Localization for the Busy Executive

This overview of translation and localization decodes translation terminology, technology and processes in one succinct article, making it easy for your management team to get up-to-speed with the day-to-day of a US translation Company. The more your company’s decision makers understand what’s involved and what’s at stake in translation, the more swiftly they’ll get behind your goals and approve your budget.  

Interested in more resources to convince your management of translation's value in the context of your global expansion? Review our top ten tips, follow our translation blog and peruse our article database for hundreds of reasons to make translation a priority in 2015. 


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Smart, fun and useful. Acclaro shares news and tips on translation, localization, language, global business and culture.


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