Merrill Brink News Reviews and Opinion on Aug 31, 2012: Targeting a diverse marketplace with Chinese language variations

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http://www.merrillbrink.com --Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. It is the first language spoken in 31 countries, with 1.213 billion speakers worldwide. China’s national language is Mandarin Chinese with approximately 70 per cent or 845 million of all Chinese language speakers. According to Ethnologue, the Chinese language has 14 large language groups and about 296 living languages.

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Targeting a diverse marketplace with Chinese language variations

Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. It is the first language spoken in 31 countries, with 1.213 billion speakers worldwide. China’s national language is Mandarin Chinese with approximately 70 per cent or 845 million of all Chinese language speakers. According to Ethnologue, the Chinese language has 14 large language groups and about 296 living languages.

The written Chinese is divided into two canonical forms: Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. The Simplified Chinese writing system is officially used in mainland China, Singapore and Malaysia. Whilst Traditional Chinese is commonly used in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, and Chinese communities in Australia, United States and Canada.

With these figures and the increasingly global nature of business, corporations looking to expand and increase market share, cannot afford to ignore the influence of the Chinese consumers. Depending on the country and region, organisations and marketers need to distinguish the written and spoken language, dialect and culture.

Branding and Intellectual Property (IP) for Chinese Consumers

Branding and marketing is more than translating your content and website in Chinese. The trademark process for a brand that you already own requires careful consideration and strategies to enter China. Ollier of Managing Intellectual Property magazine recommends, “when developing a Chinese language trade mark, companies have three choices: transliterate to make sure the pronunciation closely echoes the western brand, translate so that the meaning is conveyed, or develop a new, distinctive brand for the Chinese market.”

With more than 50,000 characters in the Chinese language, recognising the language variations and picking a brand in China can be a daunting task. It will also benefit your organisation to enquire with an IP lawyer for advice and services for patent prosecution and litigation.

Ollier asserts, “do not assume that the law in that country is the same as the law in your home country; do not underestimate potential linguistic and cultural problems; and make sure communication within your company is good.”

Trends and Growing Influence of Chinese consumers

Using the Web and social media platforms with translated and localised content and messages will play a significant role to target Chinese consumers effectively. According Common Sense Advisory, the Chinese e-GDP will total $2,704 billion this year with an overall economy worth of $11.6 trillion. There is really no doubt on China’s growing spending power online.

According to Euromonitor, the Chinese consumers have overtaken US consumers in terms of Web 2.0 adoption behavior. Almost half of the Chinese broadband users regularly post comments in forums, blogs and chat rooms, compared with just 28% of American users. In addition, a study by OgilvyOne in China found that 55 per cent of Chinese Internet users (netizens) initiated an online discussion about a company.

Furthermore, Netpop found that the Chinese rely much more heavily on social media for guidance on purchasing decisions compared to US web users. Their report also determined that user-generated content, such as consumer reviews, rating sites, forums, discussion board and blogs, influence 58 per cent of all purchasing decisions in China, compared with just 19 per cent in the US.

“In China, as elsewhere in Asia, local variations of Internet usage are driven by language, culture, levels of economic development, and the underlying digital ecosystem. Digital ecosystems—the platforms around which populations focus online communications—can vary wildly between countries and within a single country,” says Crampton for the China Business Review.

Marketers need to research and determine the appropriate social networking sites to reach their Chinese target audience. For example, YouTube’s equivalent in China are home-grown and state-approved ecosystems Youku and Tudou. Since Youku and Tudou are filled with longer form content, users regularly stay on the sites for an hour or more, whilst the US YouTube users are only on the site for an average of 15 minutes.

A qualified language service provider (LSP) can help and guide your organisation’s efforts as you move into the lucrative Chinese market. In order to capture more audience in Youku or Tudou, videos require translation and localisation using native-speakers for voiceover, dubbing and/or subtitles. With the help of an expert Chinese translation provider, marketers can successfully launch brands and implement online marketing campaigns for Chinese consumers. It pays to work with a LSP such as Merrill Brink, which offers more than 35 years of translation and localisation experience in a variety Chinese languages and dialects whether it is videos, websites, product information and many more.

References:
Common Sense Advisory, Inc. ROI Lifts the Long Tail of Languages in 2012. July 17, 2012.
Crampton, Thomas. “Social Media in China: The Same, but Different.” China Business Review. January-February 2011.
Ethnologue. Summary by language size. Web. Retrieved from: http://www.ethnologue.com/ethno_docs/distribution.asp?by=size
Ethnologue. Languages of China. Web. Retrieved from: http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=cn
Euromonitor International. Power to the Consumer: How Web Technology Is Influencing Behaviour. February 2009.
Ollier, Peter. “The eight mistakes brand owners make in China.” Managing Intellectual Property. March 2010.

About Merrill Brink International
Merrill Brink International (http://www.merrillbrink.com) is a leading provider of complete translation and language solutions for global companies and law firms, with special expertise in serving the legal, financial, life sciences, software, heavy machinery and corporate markets. A proven leader with more than 30 years of experience, Merrill Brink offers a wide range of language solutions including translation, localisation, desktop publishing and globalisation services.

Merrill Brink is recognised in the industry for its commitment to quality and its pioneering approach of leveraging technology to reduce costs, eliminate redundant processes and accelerate translation life cycles. Merrill Brink is certified to ISO 9001:2008; ISO 27001:2005 and ISO 13485:2003, and registered to EN 15038:2006 and ISO 14971:2007. Together, these standards provide assurance that the most stringent process and quality standards for translation are followed. Merrill Brink International is a wholly owned subsidiary of Merrill Corporation.
For more information, please contact Merrill Brink at eurosales(at)merrillbrink(dot)com or in Europe, call 353-(0)91-393000 or in the U.S., call 800-688-4400; Web: http://www.merrillbrink.com
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