The Global Construction Industry: How will Big Growth Forecasts affect Localization Strategies?

478782449The volume of construction output will grow by more than 70% to $15 trillion worldwide by 2025. A significant trend in the construction industry is the growth expected from emerging markets like China, India and Indonesia. – Source: Global Construction 2025 report, July 2013, Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics.

Financial crisis aside, investment in housing and infrastructure is increasing. As certain sectors head into recovery, construction and engineering projects that may have been put on hold during the crisis are now going out to tender. One of the key trends in the global construction market is the significant growth of construction taking place in emerging markets versus developed markets, especially in hot spots like China, India, Indonesia and Brazil. Industry experts reckon China will generate 25% of the world’s construction output by 2025.

What happens internationally over the next couple of decades in the construction industry will not only significantly affect the international business strategy of global construction and engineering companies, for example manufacturers of heavy construction equipment, it will also directly impact the localization strategy.

If construction and engineering organizations are chasing big contracts in Asia Pacific emerging markets, like China, India or Indonesia, then this will generate demand for greater volume of multilingual material in these target languages.  Examples of content that requires localization:

  • Marketing materials, tender proposals and legal materials needed to secure contracts and promote services.
  • Technical manuals, user guides and safety instructions that accompany construction equipment to be sold and used more extensively in these emerging markets

Recent opinion has indicated that the emerging market economies haven’t grown at the rate originally forecast. Recent figures have seen them under-perform compared to that of the developed market economies, like USA, Europe and UK). It would seem that there is an overall long-term trend for increased demand in the global emerging markets. For the construction industry, this has been fueled by increased demand from a rising middle class and the desire for a better quality and standard of living.

At Welocalize, we have seen a notable increase in the demand for translations into languages, typically used in the emerging market economies. In Welocalize’s recent annual report of top languages and word counts for 2013, the demand for target languages from some emerging markets is on an upward trajectory. Notably, 42% of total word count for 2013 came from translation into the top three languages: Japanese, Simplified Chinese and Latin American Spanish. Korean experienced a 20% annual increase. South East Asian languages are rising in the patent and legal world: Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese are now in Park IP’s Top 20 Languages. Park IP is a Welocalize company specializing in legal and IP translation. Park IP Indonesian represents 50% of Welocalize and Park IP total Indonesian word counts.

If construction companies are looking to open offices and recruit staff in these growth markets to capitalize on increased demand, then they need to be linguistically savvy too. To be understood in these new markets they need to partner up with a strong localization partner. Content used within the construction, engineering and manufacturing industries often contain a lot of highly specific technical terminology. This requires specialist and experienced translation and localization knowledge to ensure global construction companies get the maximum return on the investment they make translating content.

Buyers of localization services within the global construction industry would also be advised to check that any global language service provider (LSP) they partner with is accredited with the quality standard, ISO 9001:2008 and has access to subject matter experts (SMEs) to ensure accurate and consistent translations, especially for technical translations.

By Louise Law, Communications Manager, Welocalize