Technology is Booming in Africa; Here’s How International Businesses Can Capitalize

One hot recent theme in technology news is how rapidly Africa’s tech industry is growing. If you’re up to speed with the latest global information technology news, then you’ve likely heard about it. But how can businesses capitalize on this boom, even from overseas? Below we’ll go into how to analyze what will be successful in foreign markets and how to break into those new markets with the help of a translation agency providing business translation services suited to your specific needs

Using Data to See if You Should Work with a Translation Agency

Before you look into using a translation agency, it’s important to assess whether you have a product that would succeed in the African market. This means undertaking local market research. If this means connecting with people in different languages, you’ll need a translation agency with a network of expert translators on board to assist. Any global business translation agency worth its salt should also be able to help you account for cultural considerations, as well as linguistic ones.

The African tech industry is booming, with African internet users up more than 20% year-on-year as of 2018. But just because the tech industry is booming in Africa does not mean careful planning isn’t essential.  One way to make sure expanding into the African market and using business translation would be beneficial is to look at data sources to determine if the product you make or service you sell would succeed in the market. Many companies pull from ever-expanding big data sources to analyze what is going on in foreign markets and if it would make sense to expand into them.

Some examples of where this big data comes from include data on social media trends, demographic surveys, store inventory checks, POS data and credit card use monitoring. All these data sources can provide real-time insights into what is trending in the market, whether locally or globally. Social media monitoring and sales data are especially useful to see which types of tech are trending and likely to take off.

An example might be if a clothing retailer thought about expanding into the African market. People working at the company see that African internet use just keeps expanding, with 643 innovation hubs on the continent, showing over 50% growth over the last several years. The owner of the business thinks that maybe there might be a market for people looking to buy clothing online.

The company then might look at sales data to see which types of clothing sells in the region and even shipment data to see which regions are equipped for shopping online. Then the company would tailor certain clothing for that market and plan which areas to target with online ads.

Use Localization

Once initial research into the market is complete and you’re up-to-date on the latest global information technology news and trends that are likely to impact your business, another key component of making the most of the booming tech scene in Africa is localization.

Localization is the process of making sure a product meets the local customs of the new market. It handles a wide variety of details, from the layout of ads to changing currency symbols to even making sure a product meets local regulations. It’s also a very important service for making sure messages stay culturally sensitive in new markets. Often, a top translation agency will handle localization services right along with translation.

As it applies to expanding into the African market, here’s an example of what the localization process could look like for an ad:

  • If the ad needs to be translated into a new language, the localization process will update the ad so that the layout still works.
  • If models were used in the ad and the ad ran in Western markets first, the photos might be re-shot to include models that fit with local demographics better.
  • Currency symbols, address formats and the like might be updated.
  • The localization team would make sure the ad keeps in line with any local regulations or customs, like when an ad must state that certain elements in the ad are dramatic representations or that the toys don’t move on their own, for example.
  • Finally, localization would make sure no language or images were offensive in the new culture.

How to Find a Translation Agency

How do I choose a translation business? Many people start by looking online to find a translation agency, searching terms like translation agency near me. You might also ask around your contacts to see if anyone has had a recent positive experience with a translation company.

Once you have a shortlist of translation services, it’s important to check their background. They should have experience with business translation for the African market specifically. You might ask to see examples of past work they have completed or they might have client testimonials.

Also, keep an eye on how the translation agency is to communicate with, as well as how much they charge, as all of this will feed into your decision-making process. How much does it cost to translate 1,000 words? It’s common to see the rate around £0.10 to £0.16 per word. A translation agency should be detailed, professional and forthcoming in discussing these terms.

By taking the time to vet the background of your preferred translation agency, you should be able to better assure a good translation/localization experience for capitalizing on the growth of the African market.

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