“Your first 50 right steps to enter the Russian food market”.
Step № 6 – “The most critical MUST-DO: localize and translate your food business into the Russian language”
Not accidentally, in the step №2, I briefly told you about the need to translate your website into the Russian language. Localization of your food business, and especially good localization of your food business is about 80% of success in the Russian food market.Are you surprised that the language matters as much as 80%? Yes, it does matter so much. If your food products are really good and interesting for the Russian market, sooner or later they will start selling themselves. There is such a thing in Russia as a “word of mouth”. This is when people tell each other about this food product and recommend it for purchase. This is the most effective sales channel in Russia, no other marketing tool can compare with it. I will share more about it in the next steps.
Why is the Russian language so important?
In the meantime, let us explore why localization into the Russian language is so important for the success of your business. There are several reasons, but the main one is a very poor knowledge of English in Russia. Not to mention other languages. English is taught in Russia at school, then at college or university, but you will be surprised to know that in the end almost no one can speak English. This is not a joke, it is a real problem in Russia.
Only in 2020 school students will have to take English as one of mandatory final exams. By now there has never been a need to study English really well. Therefore, younger Russians have much better English skills than adults, but we still need time before they graduate and become your potential customers.
The situation with other languages in Russia is even worse than with English. Therefore, if you send a commercial offer in English to your potential partner in Russia, he/she might understand a little and get interested to visit your website and learn more about your company and your products. But if he/she sees that your website does not have a translation into the Russian language, in 99% of cases he/she will simply close it and will never return.
I have to be honest and say that your potential clients are too lazy to understand and translate your website via online translation services. What for? They already have suppliers with excellent websites in Russian.
What to translate?
A website is a face of your company in Russia, the first thing your potential clients in Russia do is looking at your website. If your website has a Russian translation, it immediately evokes respect. You potential clients can see how much you are interested in entering the Russian food market.
By the way, with a translation of your website into the Russian language you will be able to promote your products in 15 more countries where Russian is one of the state languages. The Russian language is also spoken in Romania, Israel and many other countries. Even in the USA, where at the age of 21 you can take a driving license exam in Russian.
You should not forget that localization of your business for Russia is not only translation of your website, it also includes presentation of your products, price lists, texts of letters with commercial offers that you will send to your potential customers in Russia. These are also articles about your company and your products in Russian media, texts of advertisements for industry-specific Russian websites.
Good localization of your food business for Russian is not just a simple translation of all your information. Good localization is more about adaptation, both language and business adaptation, for the market segment in which you work.
I often read presentations and websites of foreign companies that are translated into Russian which looks like a language of a very young school child. Reading such materials brings a big smile, but does not cause any other emotions or interest. You read through the information and think whether it is worth working with these people or not, if they “talk” to me like school children.
Interestingly enough, Russians, who do not speak any foreign languages, are very respectful of foreigners who can say at least a few of words in the Russian language. This is neither an irony or a joke, it is a fact.
It does not matter whether you are from Italy, Greece or Philippines, if you can only say one word in Russian, it will already be one word more than your Russian partner knows in your language. The respect you will get in the eyes of your Russian potential partners or future buyers will help you greatly in your further negotiations. Be sure to use this advice, you will not regret it.
Some essential phrases.
Any communication always begins with the words of politeness and etiquette. Remember the following simplest words:
Hello – zdravstvuyte
Thank you – spasibo
Please – pozhaluysta
Excuse me – izvinite
Goodbye – do svidaniye
My name is Alexander – menya zovut Alexander
Most importantly, do not be afraid to make mistakes in Russian words. The respect to a foreigner trying to speak Russian will always be stronger than any word that is not correctly pronounced.
Even if you make any mistakes, your interlocutor will be happy to help you out and correct any words or say how to properly pronounce something.
If you are determined to conduct business in Russia for a long time, it is better to hire a tutor to learn modern spoken Russian. You should not only learn the rules of the language, but you should practice in conversations a lot. Do you think it is hard? You have already learned your own language, so you can learn any other!
By the way, I even have a textbook in English for those who wants to learn Russian. I found it on the Internet a long time ago and I liked it for its simplicity. If you are interested, just contact me and I will send you an electronic version of this book for free.
Localization of your food business for Russia is a foundation of your successful entry into the food market of Russia. No other step in this book of mine can compete with this one in importance and relevance.
“Spasibo, chto dochitali do kontsa,” it means “Thank you for reading till the end”.
Business Adviser in the Russian Food Industry
Please read the same my other steps:Backward