For many U.S.-based manufacturers, doing business overseas is essential for long-term growth and success. Whether your company is just starting to sell internationally or planning to do so in the future, your need for manufacturing content translation services will likely grow as your business expands.

In today’s global market, content translation into other languages is no longer just a nice thing to offer. Increasingly, translating documents into the languages of the markets into which you sell is becoming a condition for doing business in many parts of the world. This may become evident during your initial market development when you first seek acceptance for your product or later on, when it is time to start filling orders. Either way, content translation is becoming critical to success in competitive global markets.

Regulations are always changing and new amendments and classifications are continually being implemented. It’s not easy to keep on top of these changes, but it’s a critical requirement to selling globally. When the time comes to promote or export your products overseas, or if you are new to working for a manufacturer that sells globally, there are some basic things you should know about content translation in the current regulatory environment that can save time and money:

Always seek expert advice.

Manufacturers typically rely on experienced regulatory and compliance experts to monitor and advise them on emerging requirements abroad that impact exports. These can be either in-house compliance professionals or outside consultants. International or other local regulations touch on many areas of business and can include specific requirements for content translation. You should always rely on these experts for guidance on what you need to translate. And you will want to work with an international translation services provider that has experience in your industry, providing content translation for companies similar to yours, seeking to comply with international regulations.

Requirements can be limited or extensive.

Language and content translation requirements will vary widely depending on product type, product class, industry, and which countries or areas of the world your product will be sold. It’s critical that companies regularly consult with their professional advisors so they know exactly which specific documents, labels and other communications will need translation.

In the European Union (EU), for example, if your product bears the CE mark, you are required to translate all safety-related information into the official language of each country where the product will be sold or distributed. This includes labeling, instructions for use, packaging and user manuals. These content translation requirements have enormous implications for medical device and other manufacturers.

Penalties can be serious and disruptive to your business.

Not knowing which content translation is required and failure to comply can carry serious downside business risks. For example, you wouldn’t want to have your company’s products denied entry at the border because the labels didn’t bear the required safety information in the local language. If you ship products to Canada, you may be required to provide content translation for certain documents or labels into French, as well as English. “Know before you go” is the mantra.

Regulations are a moving target.

In some parts of the world, including the EU, regulations are being tightened, especially around medical and related devices. In addition, new regulations and requirements related to content translation are likely to emerge in the wake of Britain’s recent decision to leave the EU. So don’t assume anything. Your documents that pass regulatory muster today, with respect to content translation, may not pass two years from now. Again, seek professional updates and guidance regularly, and plan ahead.

Partner with a reputable translation services firm.

Content translation services companies usually do not specifically interpret or advise on regulations. But they can provide needed support and advice on the best ways to implement content translation for your documents and labels that require it. And they should also have extensive experience handling other content translation requirements unique to manufacturers seeking compliance. This can include making sure that any required product or country codes and disclaimer language appear in the right places alongside or within your translated text. An experienced language translation project manager will use the right quality controls to make sure this happens. That’s expertise you just can’t get if you tap a bilingual person from your local community college to help with your content translation needs.

Having accurate translations is important in a regulatory context, especially when dealing with important product safety or medical and health information. Partnering with the right regulatory compliance experts and a professional translation services firm that understands the your industry is key to ensuring your business success.


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