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The following article
was written by Coleman Patterson and
appeared in the Business section of the Abilene Reporter-News.
into expanding into broader markets, September 16, 2007, 2D.
ein Ogre” were the first words that the plastic Shrek toy
said after being opened from my son’s McDonald’s Happy Meal
at a restaurant in Vienna, Austria. What was funny about
that experience is that we had an identical toy back home in
Abilene that said, “I am an Ogre.”
was not the only familiar animated character that we found
to be multi-lingual. “Bob the Builder,” as it turns out, is
“Bob der Baumeister” in Germany‚ “Bob de Bouwer” in the
Netherlands, “Bob le Bricoleur” in France, “Bob y sus
Amigos” in Spain, and “Bob Aggiustatutto” in Italy.
encountered “Dora the Explorer” speaking German while
teaching viewers how to speak English. At home Dora speaks
English and teaches viewers to speak Spanish. Even Homer
Simpson and the characters of Springfield were fully
conversant in German.
favorite cartoon in Vienna was “SpongeBob Schwammkopf”—which
translates into English as “SpongeBob Spongehead.”
Personally, I think “Squarepants” is a much more interesting
and appealing name, but it would definitely lose some of its
charm in translation—“SpongeBob Quadratische Hosen.”
entertainment standpoint, it was fun to watch familiar
television shows spoken in a different language. The shows
were also interesting to watch from a marketing and
economics perspective. The cartoons that we watched had to
be produced. Stories were developed and scripts written.
Storyboards and artwork were created to properly convey the
ideas and concepts of the stories. Animators brought the
stories to life through countless frames of artwork that
tied together seamlessly to make the cartoon characters
move. Actors gave their voices to the characters to finish
giving them life. The combination of those efforts led to
the completed cartoons.
companies that create such shows invest heavily in the
writing and production of the animated shows. Producing a
show in a different language does not drastically affect
other production costs—it requires translation of the script
and finding different actors to read and record the voices.
By translating scripts, logos, and theme songs into
different languages, the companies that produce those shows
add millions of viewers to their audiences. Loyal fans of
those shows are then very likely to buy toys, apparel,
shoes, sleeping bags, notebooks, party supplies, backpacks,
and other assorted merchandise featuring the show’s
characters. The relatively easy and inexpensive act of
translating a show into different languages can expand
market size and dramatically increase revenues for the
Businesses of all types should strive to increase the size
of their potential markets and customer bases. Without
ongoing profitable exchanges with those outside of the firm,
companies will eventually go out of business. Adapting
products and services to the needs of local markets or
modifying them to appeal to potential customers in new
markets are ways to increase market size, sales, and
revenues. That might be accomplished by advertising and
promoting products and services in different languages or
moving into other countries and foreign markets.
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