Before launching headlong into the Japanese market, it’s important for food and drink companies to realise one incontrovertible fact: the Japanese consumer is unique.

Looking at its sizeable middle class with plenty of disposable income, exporters see Japan as one of the most exciting markets in the world. But if businesses with an international mindset are to make their mark on this 128-million-strong consumer base, they must first seek to gain its confidence.

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer (2017), a measure designed to calculate how much trust consumers place in their national institutions, Japan was among the least trusting countries on earth. Unwilling to take anything at face value, Japanese consumers are likely to conduct online research on a company before buying anything from them.

As a result of this phenomenon, the emphasis is on food and drink companies to translate their online marketing material and website(s). Provided with translated testimonials, potential customers are more likely to feel confident in a brand.

Food and drink companies: how to taste success in Japan

Food for thought

Like the iconic Japanese shopkeeper’s greeting “Irasshaimase!” (Come on in!”), company advertisements must speak, quite literally, to the Japanese consumer. While being an open and culturally diverse nation, Japan’s population remains predominantly monolingual. With this in mind, it’s clear that food and drink companies will need to prioritise the translation of online materials and social media if they’re to spark engagement online as well as off.

“But how can they maximise reach?” Simple: the best approach exporters can take is to invest in a professional localisation service. Cutting corners and costs with low-quality localisation will make it tremendously difficult to build consumer trust, establish a positive brand image and will, therefore, damage medium to long term prospects.

As well as appropriate investment, enough time must be allocated for translators to work their magic in a language which is forever evolving. Japanese is a highly subjective language, with language styles often generation-specific.

What’s more, with there being no central control for language standards related to spelling and transliteration, it’s hugely important to have native translators on the ground, operating in the region where you wish to sell your produce.

Making your mark in Japan

Wolfestone Group is a Swansea-based, multi-award-winning language service provider which offers everything from translation to localisation, interpreting to language training, voice overs to subtitles. Everything we do is done with one goal in mind: customer satisfaction. Whether you’re a big multinational or an SME operating in the food and drink industry, our expert team will devise a tailor-made solution to help grow your business abroad.

As well as being able to translate your labels, legal documentation and health and safety information, we also pride ourselves on being able to make an impact online. With our help, your web content and multimedia will be able to cross borders and transcend language barriers – maximising your reach for reasonable prices.

What’s more, for those of you who travel the world in search of new clients and revenue, we can also provide foreign language and cross-cultural training.

Want to learn more? Click here and get in touch.