Localization Partner for Japan: How to Enter and Win the Japanese Market?
Speaking of figures, Japan has always maintained a steady QoQ economic growth. Of course, COVID-19 has had its impact on the Japanese business activities and economy, as it has on every other country in the world. But the long-running business prospects of Japan across various industries, including automobile, logistics, electronics, online businesses, technology, etc. exhibit promise.
The world looks at Japan as a land of opportunities for businesses that prepare to gel well with the Japanese people and the Japanese culture. Hence, if you plan to venture into the Japanese business space, speaking Japanese and localization must constitute your first step. Why? Here’s the answer.
Three reasons make localization a must in Japan. The first is the complexities involved in the target language, and the second one is the polite and soft nature of the Japanese people. But besides these, the third reason is the penetration of the internet in Japan, the growing number of Japanese internet users, and the increasing prominence of Japanese content.
We will look at the above reasons for some time. But we will also cover a few more topics, including the benefits of localization in Japan, how to choose the best Japanese localization company for your Japanese business endeavor, and how to enter and win the Japanese market.
3 Reasons why Localization is Necessary to Operate in the Japanese Business Market
So, here’s why you must localize your content for smooth, and fruitful business operations in Japan.
1. The Complications of the Japanese Language
Japanese is another language, isn’t it? So, the way we’ve mastered other languages, can’t we develop fluency in Japanese, and also, isn’t localizing the content in Japanese all we need?
Not adequately! Japanese is a complex language with a plethora of regional variations, linguistic and demographic variations. Hence a lot of English-speakers tag Japanese as a difficult language to learn.
One of the most significant factors that constitute the complexities is the scripts prevalent in the Japanese language. Japan uses three scripts, katakana, hiragana, and kanji.
Kanji involves thousands of Chinese characters to remember to call yourself someone well-versed with the language. Besides, the fact that Japanese spell words with a different character set, despite a set spelling for words, makes it even more challenging for the non-native Japanese. You can see many such examples across social media, ads, and on the internet otherwise.
Apart from that, another intriguing yet concerning fact is that Japanese change their writing styles depending on the age of the target audience. For instance, while advertisements for the elderly will have kanji, the ones with children as the target audience will have hiragana and some katakana!
So, what does your business have to do with all these complexities? Remember, we are discussing localization. Localization refers to localizing your content to give it a native appearance that is competent with and similar to that of the native players.
Understanding these complexities, and overcoming them through the appropriate application of Japanese scripts, words, spelling, phrases, etc. according to the target audience is necessary for local penetration. Hence, you must ensure you’ve got resources to deal with it.
2. The Politeness of Japanese Society
Another reason localization is a must in the Japanese market is the polite nature of Japanese society and strict adherence to social norms. But what makes the Japanese politeness so unique? It is the multi-dimensional nature of Japanese politeness, which reflects in the Japanese language that categorizes politeness in three different levels.
It includes the informal one that they use while with friends and family, the polite one coworkers, strangers, and classmates, and keigo – the super polite one, which further breaks into two sub-categories – sonkeigo (to place the individual you are talking to on a higher level than yours), and kenjougo (humble speech emphasizing that you are below the individual you are talking to).
So, it is quite evident that you cannot go with a simple or plain form of Japanese while penetrating the local market. You must stay careful while choosing the form of speech to appear native, and avoid sounding offensive, or inappropriate among the Japanese people, consumers, and associates.
For instance, sounding excessively formal may make your brand appear obsolete. On the other hand, using keigo in your website content, or advertisements goes well with your prospects!
The idea is to sound native Japanese, and while localizing, you must know the various forms of politeness to ensure that you connect with your Japanese target audience.
3. Number of Japanese Internet Users and the Growing Prominence of Japanese Content
One of the most compelling reasons why web localization is imperative in Japan is the growing number of internet users in Japan and the increase in Japanese web content.
According to Statista.com, Japan has 117.9 million internet users, and the percentage, compared with Japan’s population, is approximately 92%.
Apart from this, Japanese, since the beginning of this decade, has turned into one of the most popular languages on the internet. It is because Japanese speakers continue to create a considerable amount of content on the internet. Also, as there’s a lot of scope for growth in the future, Japanese web content localization holds significant promise in the years to come.
All these factors indicate the power of localization, and the amount of business potential that it holds from the viewpoint of Japanese market penetration, and RoI.
Benefits of Japanese Localization
Japanese localization is unique from localization for other languages from the viewpoint of the linguistic variations that the Japanese people use across various routine, commercial, and social fronts. So, getting everything right and evolving with the market benefits you in several ways.
1. Tap the Ever-Growing Japanese Internet User Market
You’ve already seen how massive the Japanese internet user base is. The fact that it is on continual rise, along with Japanese internet content, proves promising to leverage Japanese localization in the Japanese market.
When you have the right partners to work on it, Japanese localization opens access to a massive market size of around 127 million Japanese people, out of which about 118 million are internet users.
2. Japanese Language Internet and Product Content that Connects!
Japanese localization involves a range of factors, including translating and localizing websites into Japanese, localizing mobile and web applications in Japanese, localizing a broad set of business documents, including training manuals, user instructions, videos, catalogs, brochures, social media content, etc. into local Japanese to connect with the target audience quickly.
Localizing all these documents, and content types in the localized form of Japanese help you bond well with the Japanese consumers and increase the likelihood of success in the Japanese market.
3. Letting Japanese People know you Care for them!
Localizing your content into Japanese is one way you let your Japanese prospects know that you care for them. Rest, from there, let your localized products and services speak!
People connect with brands that care for them and show a certain level of concern about their understanding of the products, services and helping them make informed buying decisions.
Japanese translation and localization help you do all of it, as your website, and your brand in entirety, speak in the localized form of Japanese with your prospects. This is where you win the battle.
The connections you build through localization prove long-lasting. They are more fruitful than the ones you develop through offers, and which may weaken over a while after the offers disappear.
4. Your brand becomes a part of Japanese Culture.
When something becomes a part of the particular culture, it stays for long and transforms into a habit. Japanese localization enables your brand to become a part of the Japanese business culture. Over a while, your brand, although not native Japanese, enjoys widespread acceptance and a better chance of transforming into a household name.
5. Increased Regional Sales
Addressing user needs and connecting with them through appropriate localization results in an increase in your regional sales. It serves to invest in localization and results in a comparatively higher RoI than the one you may have achieved through a unilingual, non-localized approach. Higher regional sales further translate into increased bottom lines for your brand.
How to choose the Right Japanese Localization Service Partner for your Company?
Choosing the right Japanese localization partner proves critical, as it is the localization company that helps you earn the native cultural and commercial edge in regards to local language content. Hence, you must make a prudent choice and sign the company only after evaluating it on multiple fronts. Here are five factors you must consider while choosing the right Japanese localization company.
1. Understanding of the Japanese Culture and Linguistic Variations
The foremost factor to check is the provider’s understanding of the Japanese culture and the linguistic variations of the language. A company with thorough knowledge of Japanese, Japanese consumer psychology, cultural factors, the Japanese business market, and the technical terms of your industry, along with Japanese scripts, and their effect on the website layout, etc. must qualify your choice.
An understanding of all these elements collectively contributes to appropriate localization and strengthens the foundation of your business in the Japanese business space.
2. The Knowledge and Application of katakana English
Now, this may seem technical to you, but it is a critical factor to consider. The Japanese use the katakana alphabet for foreign words that the language has adopted from English . Your prospective vendor must have the capability to apply katakana English very well.
For instance, the word bike in English refers to a motorcycle, and a bicycle as well. However, that’s not the case with Japanese. The work bike in English is baiku in Japanese, and which exclusively refers to a motorcycle. There are many such examples. Your service provider must know these differences.
Alongside the knowledge of Japanese dialects, variations, hyperlocal phrases, terms, etc. also plays a crucial role in localizing the experience for your prospects.
3. Team of Translators and Localization Experts
Those days are gone when translation alone used to suffice, and translators were the only resources companies used to require. But now, as localization continues to evolve, you cannot restrict it to translations, and do away with the job. You need a team of localization experts that understand every aspect of the local market, the local form of the language, and also the target consumers.
Besides, the capabilities to create engaging social media content, copies, and website content can further prove advantageous from the viewpoint of marketing, and promotion of the brand. So, make sure that your service provider has a team of translators as well as local experts to help you compete better, and seek value for the money you have invested.
4. Range of Localization Expertise
Does your prospective vendor restrict to website localization, or can you also expect localizing other business documents, and content forms such as social media content, videos, along with routine administrative, and operational documents? Ask these questions before you sign up the vendor.
Partnering with a company that limits itself to localizing a particular document type, or a specific industry may indicate hiring another localization partner for the remaining content forms. So, why get into such hassles when you can ask the right questions, and get the right localization service provider?
5. Quality, Turnaround Time, and Past Success in the Japanese Market
Besides technical elements, factors such as the quality, and accuracy of translations, along with the turnaround time across various phases of the project, coupled with the past success in Japanese localization and the Japanese market also matter while making a choice.
So, make sure that you inspect the quality check processes of the localization service provider on parameters such as relevance, effectiveness, and pace. Besides, talking to a few existing as well as past clients about their experience with the localization service provider is another essential factor.
How to Enter and Win the Japanese Market – Filose is the Answer!
By now, you must have got an idea that Japanese localization is among the first steps to facilitate yourself an entry in the Japanese market, and further, win it by getting it right.
But how do you go about it? Of course, doing it all alone is not possible, as you already have a lot of strategic and administrative tasks on your plate. So, how do you leverage localization to create a position in the Japanese market? The answer is Filose!
Venturing into the Japanese market is challenging. But Filose relieves your challenges to a considerable extent through its comprehensive localization support. So, with Filose, you stay relieved on the linguistic front. How?
Filose employs a team of localization experts with a comprehensive understanding of the Japanese market, Japanese culture, language, scripts, and dialects.
Alongside, the company’s experience of working with various industries, and businesses put it in a better position to support the linguistic-strategic element of your business growth.
FIilose employs the best, and the most efficient localization workflows and quality check processes to ensure absolute accuracy and timely deliveries.
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