Technology has been present and has been affecting the sports industry for quite some time now and we are at the point where studies show that this trend is rising. The market research report published by Marketsandmarkets: "Sports Technology Market by Technology (Device, Smart Stadium, Esports, Sports Analytics), Sports (Soccer, Baseball, Basketball, Ice Hockey, American Football/ Rugby, Tennis, Cricket, Golf, Esports), and Geography - Global Forecast to 2024" gives a clear overview of what’s coming.
In 2018, the Sports Technology Market was valued at USD 8.9 billion and projections show that by 2024 it will reach USD 31.1 billion.
What does it mean for sports technology companies focused on global business growth? It means that it is crucial to realize that revenue comes from more than sports teams and venues these days. It means that to become a lead runner and hit it out of the park in a given market, a company needs to really make sure they communicate the right message to the right audience. After all, communicating a message without a deep understanding of your audience is like talking about offside to a soccer mom in Europe. They might get the gist, but is a gist what they are after?
“The sports tech industry has and continues to suffer from massive amounts of fragmentation. Whether it be by geography, industry area of focus or funding stage, sports tech startups are missing the community that it has enabled others to realize.”
One of the realizations that companies, start-ups or the well-established ones have to make is the simple fact: localization helps you win.
Watching sports competition is one of the strongest emotional accelerants among various demographics, regardless of geography. Emotions also drive the fans and tech users to switch to particular devices, streaming, content, gaming and eSports platforms and many more. Staying ahead of the trends will guarantee you’re the first to get the ball rolling. Since studies have shown that customers worldwide prefer purchasing and using products in their own languages, it is crucial for sports technology companies to understand this pattern and invest in language services.
Localization for sports technology markets is the key to open the doors to fans in any targeted market. Technology is about making peoples’ lives easier and bringing them together. So is localization.
When fans engage in gaming or eSports platforms, why assume they all speak English? No great business has ever been built on assumption, right? Making an effort with eSport platform localization shows the brand’s respect towards its players and enables them to easily navigate, use and then recommend it to others.
Make sure you research the markets that you want to enter, in the aspects of what linguistic and cultural nuances to be aware of and immediately win the audience. Doing the proper international keywords research will most definitely help. Sports terminology is quite fixed but due to technological development, languages evolve. Stay on top of the linguistic changes in the markets you aim to enter to always hit the right score.
Regardless of the industry, content is the key to constructive conversation with customers and service users. Offering full and detailed information about a service or a device/product means enabling a customer to understand your message, use the product or service to the fullest of its potential and become a fan rather than just a client.
Make sure your content, whether it’s marketing, technical or website is fully adjusted to your fans’ needs and expectations by speaking their language, with a full understanding of the sports terminology in a given region or country. To ensure all the relevant content is properly localized, it’s important to not only know the terminology but also the local culture, traditions and emotions hidden behind all that. After all, sports mean emotions.
Sports technology does not only mean any sort of platforms for the users to enjoy gaming, gambling or eSports. It also means all sorts of sports-related products and devices, whether it is analytics and biometric tools, RFID technology or any others. This is no surprise that when a device is introduced internationally, it should include a set of detailed and easy to understand information for the users. This also means the user interface. Making a device user-friendly by adding a customer-specific language means winning the game instantly. And knowing that most of the population on the planet does not actually speak English should be enough to encourage investing in translation services.
You have two options: doing it on your own, using your internal resources, translation engines and so on, or trusting a translation provider experienced in the sports technology localization field.
When you decide you want to invest in localization without spending too much money, you might be tempted to use your employees. Because they love sports and technology, because they speak the language you need and so on. Yes, seemingly you will save money. The key word being “seemingly”.
Just because your employee or product developer speaks the language you want to localize into, does not mean they are the right people for the job. Do they know the linguistic nuances, all the cultural traps you can fall into and also do they understand the market, the audience and their needs? And last but not least, do they not have their own tasks and projects to focus on and keep their productivity and profitability at the highest level? Engaging internal resources in translation and localization means taking risks that can seriously damage your brand’s plans for international expansion of sports technology markets.
You can use DeepL or Google translate, of course. But are you sure the translation output will be as you expect it to be? Machines, as developed as they are, are just machines. When localizing a sports tech device, product or a platform, you need to be sure that the language, the message, terminology, voice and tone are just right for the specific audience and users.
When you decide it’s time to get serious in the international sports technology market, then it's time to look for the right translation provider. There are many questions you need to ask.
Can any translation company localize for the sports technology industry?
If I specialized only in translations of medical equipment would you trust me, or would you ask about my experience in the sports technology localization? As in any industry, the experience and skills coming from it are crucial for the translator to deliver the best possible outcome of a translation process.
Do they use the tools that can save me money?
Localization does not have to mean you spending countless amounts of money without saving any. You can actually save substantial sums when you decide to go full localization, meaning partnering up with a localization company that has resources, tools and processes that fit your company’s needs. An experienced language translation provider will use CAT tools, which means using Translation Memory that will enable you to spend less on localization process than you thought.
Will they really play ball?
If you like to have a sense of control, you will be happy. If you don’t, you will be happy too. Because a professional translation provider has both the dedicated project management team and processes to make sure you are kept in the loop at every stage of the localization process and also that you do not have to divide your focus between your main tasks and localization. You will be well-informed, advised, as well as asked for opinions and heard by your project manager. Make sure you have a translation partner that truly plays ball and keeps you at the top of their priorities’ list.
There are some more questions that you should ask when you’re looking for a localization company to put you at the top of the podium.
Make sure the translation provider of your choice will keep their main focus on your success in the international sports technology markets. Check if they really have the experience in the sports tech industry and if they actually have the skilled people that will not be easily surprised by a curveball.
To hit a home run in the international sports technology market you need a localization company that will offer not only the tools, processes and skilled linguists. You need a translation partner that is able to provide valuable insight and advise you on what is best for your brand to win in the given market.
Sports and technology create certain communities. By localizing sports technology for international markets, you help bring the communities together and limit the fragmentation in the sports tech industry.
Your brand needs a partner that understands this from experience and is able to not only help you land customers but also make them your long-term fans.
How about making a winning bet?