Don’t play around with your brand! Translating for the toy industry

Written on 30 November, 2022

“Toy Fair was a wonderful experience! There were so many people to meet and exciting new creations to play with. I gained an interesting insight into the up and coming trends within the toy industry, as well as the challenges that developers, distributors and consumers face in this global market.”

These were the words of a staff member from Surrey Translation Bureau (STB) who attended the Toy Fair in London a couple of years ago.

The event gave just a taste of how big the toy industry is in the United Kingdom (UK) and globally.

Growth in the toy industry

In 2020, revenue generated by the toys and games segment in the UK was seven billion GBP. This was a rise of almost 600 million GBP in comparison to 2019. It is estimated that by 2026, the revenue created by the toy and games market in the UK will go up to around 7.9 billion GBP.

Despite the pandemic, toy manufacturers are increasingly looking towards international markets in order to expand their revenues, and distributors in the industry are also keen to bring popular foreign toys to their countries. In 2020, UK exported $2.13 billion in toys, making it the 10th largest exporter of toys in the world.

“The toy industry faced huge challenges in 2021 including, but not limited to, supply chain concerns and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” commented Roland Earl, director general at the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA). “Despite these hurdles, the UK toy market has held relatively firm compared to pre-pandemic figures and there are reasons to be optimistic about the year ahead.”

Toy manufacturing industry

In order to keep up with the competition and successfully sell their products overseas, toy manufacturers need to ensure any content related to their toys is fully localised for their target market. From marketing materials to labels, and from packaging to legal papers, everything needs to be in line with the different sensitivities, preferences and requirements of the target country. This is where professional translation services come in.

So, why is translation essential for international toy manufacturers?

To successfully sell your products in a foreign market

There are several examples of packaging translation fails floating around on the internet. While they do provide us with some comic relief, the reality is that they have the capacity to significantly damage big brand names. Your packaging should accurately describe your product whilst remaining within the context of the target country’s local cultures, humour, beliefs and values. Similarly, to get the most out of your marketing materials, you need to make sure that they are not just literally translated into your target country’s language, but that they are properly localised.

To accurately convey safety instructions about your product

Because children are involved, it is essential that safety instructions are clear to read and understand, so that children can handle the toys in the correct manner and avoid any accidents or mishaps. Effective translation will help parents and children to properly understand safety instructions in their own language.

To meet legal requirements in the target country

To launch your product in a foreign country without any legal or bureaucratic hassles, your packaging will need to comply with the legal requirements of that country. Using professional legal translators will allow you to accurately translate warning labels and terms and conditions on your packaging into the language of the country you are exporting to.

If you are working on your export plan, make sure you speak to a professional translation company. 

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Written by Marya Jabeen