Why translate or create materials directly in Japanese?
The crucial aspect is respect for Japanese culture. Many European companies
wish to export their products to Japan, but very few are interested in translating
information materials such as websites, technical data sheets, brochures or pamphlets
into Japanese. In fact, they mistakenly conclude that the English version of their
material is all they need to approach foreign markets.
I instead suggest you create a Japanese version of these materials. Why?
It mainly depends on the cultural differences that are inherent in the word "customer"
and also present in commercial communications. Generally speaking, in Western
countries, the word "customers" means "commercial operators", such as importers,
buyers, distributors. Communication is often limited to those with whom you do business.
Since the producers or their representatives only talk to importers, who speak English,
they rarely find themselves having to face a language barrier. The negotiation focuses
on the prices and characteristics of the product and, if the operators are satisfied,
a contract will be signed.
In Japanese, however, the word "customers" refer to "consumers", those who buy or
use the products. Japanese consumers, by their nature, want to learn more about
the companies they are buying from: they want to know when and how they came into
being, how they conduct their business, what their philosophy is. They prefer
discovering this information using graphic materials in Japanese and to savor
the product with the power of their imagination.
Furthermore, as it is explained here in greater detail, Japanese importing companies
entrust the negotiations and the management of communication with foreign customers
to their employees who speak English, but who do not have decision-making power.
Any proposal, condition or information material received from the potential foreign
customer is forwarded to the other employees involved, department managers and/or
distributors or operators in the sector of interest, who do not know foreign languages.
For this reason, a detailed company presentation fully translated into Japanese is
essential to attract the interest of the final consumers.
The presence of translated materials is viewed extremely positively, as it shows respect
for the Japanese people and a serious desire to enter the Japanese market.