Home Hardware Localization Tips and Tricks
Whether you’re a DIY home enthusiast, a hardware supplier looking to go international, or a home hardware product manager, being able to share your hardware instructions in new markets is vital!
Operational manuals, user guides, and product descriptions require special attention and careful proofreading to ensure you’re communicating your message correctly. At best, poorly translated text causes confusion or some awkward (but funny) phrasing, and at worst, it results in severe misuse of products.
For example, consider Honda’s Japanese to English translation of their 1962 document: How to Ride Motorcycles. It states, “Beware of the wandering horse that he shall not take fright as you pass him. Do not explode the exhaust box at him. Go smoothly by. ” Now, not exploding your exhaust box at random might be solid life advice, but we can be pretty confident this isn’t the message Honda was trying to convey. And more importantly, this document almost definitely had no value in helping people ride motorbikes, so it failed at its sole purpose.
With this in mind, let’s dive into how you can localize your home hardware content.
Step 1: Translating and Localizing Core Product Information
The first thing you’re going to want to do is localize and translate the product name, descriptions, and user guides to the desired language. This step is about honing in on the crucial information users need to know to safely and effectively use the products.
For example, drills, lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, circular saws, impact wrenches, and so on, all need clear and concise (plain speak) product descriptions and user manuals.
Using an automated online translation service isn’t going to cut it here. Instead, you should seek the help of professional translators and native speakers to ensure you haven’t accidentally miscommunicated something.
Step 2: Localize Measurements and Numerical Formats
When it comes to product measurements or volume, it’s important to remember that different countries or regions use different numerical formats.
For example, while the imperial system reigns supreme in the US, it’s much less popular elsewhere, with Liberia and Myanmar being the only other countries that prefer it. So, for most countries, you will want to list product information in grams, liters, centimeters, etc.
Localizing numerical information is vital for a few reasons. First, it saves users from converting the information themselves, which adds unnecessary friction to their experience. Secondly, it can be distracting – nothing says “this product wasn’t made for me” more than a company not bothering to adapt their information for a local audience. And lastly, it avoids all confusion. For example, while a country might use a 10-digit phone number like the US, the area code might only be two numbers followed by an 8-digit number. Similarly, you should ensure your website doesn’t force a user to input a 5-digit postal code if their county only uses 4-digit postal codes like in Australia.
Step 3: Localizing Marketing Content
Once your product information is ready to go, you need to start marketing your product in the new target country or region. This step involves adapting your brand beyond the text and looking at images and colors.
Of course, colors play a huge role in grabbing your consumers’ attention, but they can also have different meanings depending on where you are. For example, in western countries, the color green often represents money, jealousy, or nature, but in South America, it means death, and in many Asian countries, health, fertility, and youth. Similarly, images must be culturally appropriate (avoid causing offense or confusion) and should ideally depict local people using the product where possible. It’s easier to gain the respect of your audience if you deliver your message with a local touch. A good chunk of this step requires some pretty intensive market research. You need to know the cultural make-up of a place (who your audience are, how they relate to products, their preferences, and so on).
Step 4: Optimize SEO for the New Region
Following the thread of marketing – you want to ensure that consumers in the target market can actually find your product. This means creating localized landing pages that contain region-specific keywords. This is important even for countries that speak the same language.
So, for example, consumers in the US might prefer the search term “power drill,” while in the UK, people might opt for “electric drill,” and so on.
Step 5: Check Your Product Information Complies With Labeling and Marketing Clearance Requirements
Different countries have different requirements when it comes to product labeling, marking, and warranties. For example, the EU requires that products in specific categories have a CE marking.
This marking means that a product meets all essential requirements (typically related to safety, health, energy efficiency, or environmental concerns) of EU regulations. For example, specific machinery, like drills, requires a CE marking, as do measuring equipment, construction products, and personal protective equipment like helmets and gloves.
Step 6: Localization Testing
Assuming you’ve done everything correctly isn’t a good idea; this is where testing comes in. Localization testing is about ensuring everything works as intended.
For example, your hardware (plugs, etc.) meet local guidelines, your images are culturally appropriate, your linguistic correctness and fluency are up to scratch, currency and date formats are understood, and your website load times and responsiveness are strong.
The Ad Astra Touch
Why go at it alone? Becoming an expert in a different culture takes years of dedicated hard work, and the possibility of failure along the way is high. At Ad Astra, our team of experts…
To avoid confused faces and lackluster sales, you need to drill down on your localization efforts. Localization doesn’t just bring products to new markets; it gives them life. It’s a way of connecting with new audiences in a way that resonates and drives action.
Why go at it alone? Becoming an expert in a different culture takes years of dedicated hard work, and the possibility of failure along the way is high. Let Ad Astra be your partner in your Home Hardware Localization needs!