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Last updated on June 29th, 2023 at 03:39 pm

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Translations Hidden in Plain Sight

Translation Services are starting to be present everywhere we look, everywhere we go. We see multilingual packages and instructions at home, in the supermarket and at our hardware store.

In the United States, English is the national language, but many other languages are also spoken. The influence of the other languages has changed the landscape and understanding at the government and business levels. The importance of communicating well and clearly with your audience to help them get the information they need, at government level, and at the business level grows day by day.

It is a diverse world and a small world after all. We live in a world where product and services are created or performed in a place and offer or sell physically or online at a distant place. The Language offering of a product represents many possibilities for that product. If you offer the language of its users or the language of the potential clients, chances are you will get more people to know and use your product in a multilingual connected world. If a product has multilingual instructions it can be used in the places where that language is spoken.

We don’t often think of translation services in terms of our home goods and consumables- our furniture, toiletries, cleaning products or packaged food.  But look a little deeper and you’ll find the work of language services companies all around you.  Here are a few of the ways translation services work in your home:

  • Product description. Careful translation must be made on the packaging and on the container of a product for accuracy in its components and for its use. Examples are clear in the following images
english to spanish medicine instruction english to french beauty mask
For medications in Spanish and English Bilingual description and packaging of a beauty product

More beauty products are beginning to offer instructions and packaging in the language of its potential customers.

  • Instructions: Instructions are critical for customers to know the proper usage of the product. Clear and precise instructions for clothing are the difference between ruining a piece because it was washed in the laundry machine when it needed dry cleaning. If the instructions do not speak the language of the owner it is a guessing game and damage is almost impossible to avoid. Here are some examples:


multilingual instructions clothing care english to french wrap instructions
Multilingual instructions for clothing care        Bilingual instructions for Canada about how to use a kitchen product

Both are all simple translations but critical to purchasers who need to know how to properly maintain the products.

  • User manuals. The DIYer who wants to put a bookshelf together at home should have accurately translated instructions.  The person taking a picture using a sophisticated camera requires detailed instruction in their languages as illustrated below.
spanish and english manual camera
Spanish and English Manual for a Camera
  • Warning labels. A company manufacturing goods and marketing them to a multilingual community will want to make sure that the customer knows how to use the item safely.  A surprising number of consumer goods are extremely dangerous if mishandled, from hairdryers to egg beaters to cleaning chemicals.  A business concerned with its clients’ safety will remember to use professional translation services to make sure that not only the words, but the numbers and measuring systems are translated correctly. They will also bear in mind that the instructions and the typesetting is appropriate for the final presentation.

A manufacturer that recognizes the buying power of a language should have a professional translation company create labeling in that market’s native language, localized to their culture.  That’s going to help attract more in-store and online sales

Translation for Consumer Goods Manufacturers

Translation services enable the home and consumer goods industry to function across languages and nations.  Translation enables international, multilingual trade, protects companies from liability, and improves customer service.

Here are some critical points to remember when selling your products globally-

  • The translation must be compliant. Translation services are necessary for a business to comply with local law in many cases.
  • In Canada, the CPLA (Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act), an oft-amended statute passed in 1970, provides stipulations for the labeling and packaging of goods. Canada uses the metric system and requires English and French translations.

In Canada, there are regulations for bilingual labeling for food products that are offered and have norms that dictate what needs to be bilingual, the size of the characters, and how the colors are chosen. The producers of those products can be fined if the requirements are not followed.  Below are two examples of bilingual labeling for products sold in Canada:

english and french canadian packaging english french canadian label
English and French Canadain to Guide Consumers in Canada Cleaning product description Bilingual French – English for users in Canada   
  • Mexico also uses the metric system and mandates that all labels and product materials (like allergy information and nutrition labels on packaged food) must be primarily in Spanish.

To follow local law, a business must get legal translation for its formation documents, contracts, patents, licenses, and any other documents required.

Toronto translation agencies need to be aware of the regulations in Ontario to support their clients in packaging translation.

  • Accurate translation is critical. Like legal compliance, translation accuracy is vital to selling a product across borders.  Translation errors in product labels, instructions or packaging can damage the reputation of a brand just as quickly as breaching legal regulations.  For instance, mistranslation of ingredients that people might be allergic to can place consumers at risk and the brand at risk for legal liability.

It is critical for the safety of consumers that the translation of product labels and consumer related content are flawless.  The best way to avoid translation errors is to select professional translators who specialize in translating for specific product categories.  Translation of medical device instructions should be assigned to a translator who specializes in medical translation, and technical instructions must be assigned to a technical translation specialist.

  • Don’t forget to localize to connect effectively. Some product labels have brand messages and slogans as well as images that give the brand a unique tone or personality.  It is important to preserve these elements, but it is just as important to make sure the brand’s image and message resonates well with new markets.  Localize your translation to guarantee accuracy, clarity and positive reception.   A product’s instructions could be translated perfectly, but if an image, a measurement unit or message on the packaging is not clear or offends new audiences, you have a problem.  Be sure to include the right knowledge and local expertise as part of your translation team!

Home goods companies are using translation services to great effect to serve multilingual markets.  Shoppers generally prefer to shop in their native languages, so a company that offers a professionally translated website and localized marketing material will have an advantage.  Their product will suit the needs and tastes of that market, fitting right into their lives.  Home goods are about comfort, and consumables are about convenience.  Professional translation and localization services allow you to offer both to a wider audience.


I Can’t Believe It’s Translated

Translation makes a big difference in keeping our homes safe and healthy.  Millions around the world use internationally-produced goods every day without noticing.  With home and consumer goods, the words, numbers, and measurements should be so well-translated that the customer does not notice a difference.  The manufacturer is the one that will notice a difference; their website in the target language is getting visits, the product is selling in stores, and they are making connections with suppliers, buyers, and promoters that would not have been possible with a language barrier.

In the last 13 years our Translation Company has helped clients sell products they are already selling in the US in another country and market, just by translating it. Translation services is an investment that generates a world’s worth of return and opportunities.

Whether you want to sell lampshades in Dubai or toaster ovens in Quebec, JR Language has a solution for your translation needs.

Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela and has a BS in computer engineering. As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. 20 Years of experience in marketing Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.