In theory, the “global marketplace” sounds like an inviting source of untapped markets and unlimited sales. But for those medical device and pharmaceutical companies that mismanage language, support, and IT aspects, the global marketplace can be a very inhospitable place.
Horror stories are commonplace, running the gamut from huge budget overruns, to global product recalls due to production or translation errors, to lost market share for products that did not make it to market in time, and to products translated so poorly they embarrassed in-country sales staff.
Many organizations suffer from a lack of preparation, experience and know-how regarding translation. Any help is appreciated, and a recent piece in The New York Times is really helpful.
Avoiding I.T. Slip-Ups When Going Global does a nice job looking at some of the gotchas involved with overseas expansion. The article looks at how much customization is needed, dealing with international support issues, logistics, and privacy.
Throughout the article highlights language issues. Talking about international support issues, one of the quoted folks mentions that their overseas customers know just enough English to be "dangerously misunderstood".
Head on over to the Times' site - it's a quick read that contains real-world information.
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