Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lost in Translation, Gone to Market

As a company working with many suppliers around the world, we've had our fair share of communication/language issues.  This is most evident when we work with people whose natural language is not English.  (Of course, they probably feel the same way, except that now, we do not know Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, Spanish, etc.)  Initial site visits to suppliers (especially in China) is a common prerequisite, not just to improve communication, but also to assuage fears and ascertain quality and capability.  The most practical means of communication with global contacts is through emails and chat.  But because of that, body language is lost in translation.  And when we deal with state-of-the-art or very technical products, even computerized translations are hard-pressed to deal with all the myriad jargon in the water product industry.

As we adapt ourselves to the ever-changing market landscape in the Philippines, we have to do market analyses and feasibility studies for new products we wish to bring to the country.  We have to answer the following questions:  1)  Do we understand the product we're selling; 2)  Do we have a market to sell here; 3) Is the market worth it?  4)  What is the time to market?  5)  What about support and warranty, if needed?