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What Price Correctness?

Besides looking in the Yellow Pages, you can search on the Internet for localization agents under "localization" or "translation." Be sure to inquire about the agency's knowledge of your target country's culture, its familiarity with regional dialects or language variations, its understanding of your business, and its expertise in developing international marketing strategies.

Costs vary widely from agency to agency and depend on the project. Translation is generally billed at a rate of 18 cents to 25 cents per word, says Carson, and is based either on the original word count or the translation word count. More extensive services--such as Web site consultation or development--are generally billed by the hour.

The cost of localization may seem high, but you must ask whether that cost is balanced by the potential for sales in an international market. "Ignoring cultural details will keep U.S. products from competing in the international marketplace," says Squire. Overseas customers won't tolerate badly translated materials or repackaged English-language products. The key to an effective marketing strategy is the same in any language: Know your market.

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