alibaba marketing translations

Singles’ Day 2019, behind Alibaba’s success

China 1, United States 0, and it’s kick-off time. The rivalry between E-commerce giants Alibaba and Amazon will in all probability be won by China again this year.


Cina ecommerce

Just a few short hours after the end of the eleventh edition of Singles’ Day, China’s equivalent of Black Friday in the US, Alibaba closed at 268.44 billion yuan, which is equal to 38.37 billion dollars, in 24 hours. The first billion was earned just one minute and eight seconds into the event. These mind-boggling figures are certainly the result of a mix of demographic, media and economic factors.

Here, we are going to look into the dynamics that influenced the purchasing choices of Chinese consumers during the day rather than sales and profit figures.

In one study conducted by AlixPartners a month before the event, 2,000 Chinese consumers were interviewed. The goal was to get a better idea of how consumers were feeling during a period of economic uncertainty and to identify new trends in purchasing decisions during Singles’ Day.

The results of the study reveal an average expenditure forecast of RMB 6,265 this year ($893.99), an increase of 54% compared to the previous year.

Of the consumers interviewed, 57% estimated that they would spend over RMB 5,000 ($713.48) this year and 18% predicted that they would spend more than RMB 10,000 ($1,426.96). This expected increase shows that the slowdown in Chinese economic growth and the current trade war has not affected the general propensity to shop on Singles’ Day.

Marketing trends for Singles’ Day 2019


Electronic coupons and targeted banners still work, but the launch of new products and live streaming have strongly influenced traffic and sales. Conversely, engagement channels through text messaging, offline announcements and e-mail seem to have lost their appeal. Even social media channels have strongly impacted online sales, with only 16% of those interviewed stating that they do not pay attention to social commerce channels.

Generally speaking, Chinese consumers are rather open to marketing innovations, even if the data show that methods such as live streaming work only for impulse purchases or for products that consumers are very familiar with. However, new products require more research and careful price comparisons.

Companies that performed best were probably those that were able to understand the nuances of promoting different products. Blindly investing in new trends without understanding the needs of consumers can result in low returns and weak sales, especially on such an important media occasion like Singles’ Day, which represents a showcase with a strong impact for global brands.

The effects of American trade tariffs on Singles’ Day


Speaking of large showcases, over the next few days, we will most certainly have more in-depth data on the results of the eleventh edition of Singles’ Day, but it is not difficult to forecast a decrease in sales for American companies.

One of the main trends in consumer purchasing decisions was probably the ongoing trade war between the US and China. The survey shows that 78% of respondents believe that buying American brands will be affected by tensions between China and the United States, and 70% said that the trade war will have an impact on their overall purchases.

More than half of respondents (51%) indicated national loyalty as the main reason for not buying American brands, followed by quality (27%), the price (16%) and speed of delivery or customs (6%). As a general rule, the majority of Chinese consumers seem to prefer local brands (61%).

Alibaba and Amazon, better sales thanks to professional translations


It sounds like a cliché, but the title of this last paragraph does nothing more than illustrate the success stories of brands that have been able to conquer foreign markets.

Remember the controversy that arose after the Dolce and Gabbana advertising campaign? That was probably the most glaring case due to the fame of the brand involved, but it is certainly not the only case of sloppy localisation.

A country like China, with extreme internal inconsistencies and a cultural identity as strong as it is heterogeneous, looks at foreign products with two perspectives. On the one hand, for many Chinese people, foreign products are synonymous with high quality and, for that reason, they are in high demand. The events of the last few years, however, have begun to create a feeling of disinterest towards international brands due to the poor ability of the latter to adapt their communication to the cultural identity of the local population.

In this context, a professional translation agency like ours is able to provide more than just quality translations into Chinese. Our job, in these cases, is to work alongside our customers as language consultants, with the support of Chinese mother tongue linguists, to study the communication formulas suitable to provide a terminology register that fits the reference market.

Specifically, Intrawelt is available to step in and help:

  • Identify the cultural characteristics of the target audience;
  • Pinpoint the specific language of the target audience;
  • Avoid using language that is too complex or, on the contrary, too simple;
  • Identify the right target by meeting the needs of the real audience.

For further details or to send us a request for information on our services, feel free to contact us at any time.

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Translation services in Food Industry

Why the food industry needs professional translation services

Two main industrial sectors are involved in the health and welfare of society: the pharmaceutical industry and the food industry.

Along with the pharmaceutical industry, the food industry plays an essential role in social development and well-being. Therefore, it’s no coincidence that in recent decades the Food & Beverage sector has experienced profound transformation in both production technologies and food communication.

New sensitivity in the food industry

It’s a well-known fact that global food habits are undergoing substantial change. Air pollution, the use of pesticides, hectic and more sedentary lifestyles, these are only a few of the factors behind this shift. The appearance of new diseases, the proliferation of food intolerances and documentation of psychosomatic food-related disorders have not only been a wake-up call for public health, but have also contributed to the development of a new-found food awareness.

The food industry’s assertive effort to steer production towards more natural, less processed foods with fewer chemical agents and additives is no coincidence.

The development of production technologies and the growing awareness of consumers who are becoming more and more fastidious about the quality of ingredients has forced the Food and Beverage market to transform its communication processes and embrace a new kind of food marketing.

technical translationsThe new Food and Beverage narrative

Food storytelling has historically been based on the sensorial experience of the product, but nowadays is much more focused on its history and life cycle. Now, advertisements often take the viewer through the product’s entire time line, demonstrating the careful choosing of the flour, the ingredients, showcasing the lack of additives or fats, farming methods and culture. Current marketing is no longer advertising alone, but advertising and food education, advertising and sustainability. The focus has shifted from the basic celebration of taste and flavour towards the consumer’s well-being.

The linguistic registers in food communication

The notion of communication in the food sector is closely tied to a need to utilise linguistic formulas able to attract consumer attention, ensuring the use of correct information about the ingredients and the composition of the products with regards to additives and allergens.

The proliferation of food disorders and intolerances, such as coeliac disease and lactose intolerance, has led national and international health institutions to regulate product marketing methods. In Europe, food labelling is governed through European Regulation 1169/2011.

The provisions wich came into force require sanctions for violating the provisions of Regulation (EU) no. 1169/2011 establishing the obligation to indicate all allergens in order to safeguard the consumer. The normative provisions require sanctions for violating the provisions of Regulation (EU) no. 1169/2011 establishing the obligation to indicate all allergens in order to safeguard the consumer. They have become essential in order to protect the health of consumers and, at the same time, establish guidelines for the marketing of food products.

Translation agency services in food marketing

Professional translations for food industry

The food industry has a considerable impact on public health and, as we have seen, implies a need to use certain linguistic registers and communication rules. When a product is placed on different national markets, it is essential to use the right terminological glossaries to describe the ingredients, the allergens and all associated intolerances.

For this reason, companies in the food industry need professional translation agencies, like Intrawelt, which are able to navigate the linguistic and terminological variables that arise in the different target markets.

With support from terminology management technologies, we can build dedicated customised glossaries for each customer. In this way, the commercial communication of products is managed harmoniously in various target languages, avoiding terminological errors that could be harmful to the consumer’s health.

Reliance on specialised translation agencies is the best method to ensure that the product is compliant with international regulations on the use of the correct linguistic registers, while also maintaining a high quality standard of commercial communication effectiveness.

Continuing on the topic of commercial strategies, you can rely on a translation agency, such as Intrawelt, which has the advantage of being able to make use of the support offered in the localisation of food products. For example, in some cases, we have managed strategic consultation projects for choosing the name of products to be launched on different foreign markets. With the support of mother-tongue linguists, we are able to provide strategic information on the social and cultural dynamics that influence the purchasing choices of the target populations and therefore define the best linguistic and communications strategies for the choice of product names or the translation of recipes.

Intrawelt’s linguists, as well as being mother-tongue professionals selected in compliance with standard ISO 17100, are sector experts able to combine their linguistic skills with those of the relevant industry.

In the food and beverage sector, we manage translation projects that range from website localisation to translating product packaging, as well as sector-specific blog articles and technical translations of product labels. No matter what, our customers have the support of our specialised project managers, who are there to ensure a service that guarantees both efficiency and high quality, always within delivery deadlines.

Because the importance of food communication cannot be overstated, we invite you to contact us for a quote and further information about our professional translation processes.

What is Localisation? Conquer foreign markets with the right words

For a company intending to open its own line abroad, one of the simplest things to do is to develop a complete communications strategy for the destination country. From the creation of a website or e-commerce space to online and offline marketing activities. In fact, today, internationalising a business involves, first and foremost, brand exporting through differentiated strategic communications strategies.

Opening localised social channels in the destination country, advertising campaigns, web sites and e-commerce portals, press releases, public events. These are all important initiatives in communicating the values of your brand and building a relationship with the target market. Sharing your identity, the ability to communicate your values and convey emotion are key objectives in forging lasting connections with different national markets.

These goals can only be attained with the right messages using the right linguistic registers.

What is Localisation?

LocalizationLocalisation is the process of adapting the content from an existing communication channel to be published in an external market. If, for example, an Italian company wants to sell its products in Germany, it will need to create a website with content adapted in the local language, open social channels in German or regularly publish German language content for the German market. The same goes for advertising, public events and all online or offline marketing activities.

While the term may seem to refer to the translation of content from a source language to a target language, the truth is that localisation is more than that. In fact, translation and localisation are often thought of as synonyms. However, localisation is a much more complex process than simply translating a text. Localisation also involves the general adaptation of the text, which in some cases is is limited to converting currency, time, units of measure and data formats. But very often, it requires a deep understanding of the culture of the target audience.

How important is localisation for a company that wants to sell on the global market?

According to Internet World Stats, of the more than 4 billion daily internet users, only 25% speak English, and more than half of all Google searches are performed in a language other than English. When we look deeper into user behaviour, we discover that, in every aspect, language affiliation is essential to the value of the product sold.

According to a European Commission survey (click here to download), 90% of Europeans never search in a language other than their own. Additionally, 42% won’t buy a product if the description is not in their own language.

Common Sense Advisory found that, at the global level, 72% of customers are more likely to buy a product or service if the information is in their own language, while 56% say that finding brand information in their own language is even more important than price.

Localisation is serious business

Let’s start with an example which is both funny and tragic (for the company).
A few months ago, the global brand Coca Cola launched a new marketing campaign in New Zealand. Wanting to use the Māori language to create a trademark channel to attract users in the local language, the company posted a slogan at the top of all its beverage vending machines.

coca colaIn an attempt to combine Māori and English slang, the slogan was “KIA ORA, MATE!”. In the Māori language, kia ora is like saying “hello” in English, and everything is fine to that point. The problem was the choice to add “mate” (English slang for friend), in an attempt to create a friendly and colloquial connection with consumers. With this bit of communications artistry, the local meaning of “mate”, which is not quite the same as in English, clearly escaped them. Actually…

In Māori, mate means death. So, essentially, the greeting at the top of Coca Cola’s vending machines in New Zealand was, “Hello, Death!”

Why use a translation agency for localisation?

The example serves to clarify an important point. Using a language or register different from your own requires more than just the company’s marketing department. The use of a specific term or phrase, the meaning a word can have in one context versus another are issues that require a high level of professionalism to get right.

Localization services

Only professional linguists capable of adapting the source language not only to the vocabulary, but also to the culture, the usage and the customs of the target country can offer this type of professionalism.

Therefore, it is good policy to use a professional translation agency for all your localisation needs. Established and organised language service providers, like Intrawelt, who deal with localisation do not use general translators to provide this service.

Translation and localisation agencies hire professional linguists, specialised in marketing an communications, who know the language, usage and customs of the target market perfectly and who can even work from an SEO perspective. With highly specialised employees, translation agencies like Intrawelt are able to provide a true strategic consulting service for marketing and communications, even before translation. From choosing product names to which slogan to use, from linguistic formulations to typical local expressions, through to identifying content which would be awkward or even unsuitable in the

target country, professional, native speaker linguists are a valuable resource in the pursuit of your sales goals.

To receive further information about our localisation services, contact us for a quote.
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