Most businesses today are going global, as transportation, communication and technology continue to further develop and boost international commerce. Never before has there been such emphasis on culture and language.
According to a survey by the Common Sense Advisory, almost 90 percent of people who can’t speak English won’t buy from an English-only website. This means that translation services in the office and online have become imperative.
For international businesses to be competitive in foreign markets, their products and services must be available in the local languages spoken in their target countries.
Understanding is a priority
Target markets will vary even in countries that are close to each other. Even if the customers speak your language as their second language, they may understand you but customer loyalty and your brand image could still be at risk.
It will take them more time to understand what you are trying to say in your own language. It's possible that they will feel like second-class clients because you did not try to make it easy for them to understand your instructions, products and labels, advertising and marketing materials and the content of your website.
Understanding foreign customer sensitivities is a priority; otherwise, you'll have frustrated customers. Sean Hopwood, president of translation and localization services, Day Translations, confirms, “it’s vital that businesses put themselves in their customers’ shoes and provide perfect translations of products and services that feel native.”
Why translation matters
All big businesses know about the importance of translation. Check out the Fortune 500 companies by visiting their websites and you'll notice that they are in multiple languages and most likely employ staff who speak languages spoken by multilingual consumers. These companies are able to meet the expectations of shareholders and their consumers because of translation.
Various companies are able to manufacture products from produce that come domestically and other parts of the world. Even in your own country, it is possible that some of the farm workers and producers of raw materials speak a variety of languages.
Major companies are able to sell their products worldwide because they can communicate with workers who speak languages different from the manufacturers, with translation making it possible.
Business operation becomes more complex as it gets bigger. Put globalization in the equation and you'll be dealing with a supervision nightmare if you are unable to communicate with your global workforce.
Interconnectedness and interdependency
If your organization operates globally, you'll have several executives to skillfully take charge of the local branches, with the confidence to adapt your business to meet current demands and react positively to the ever-changing business scenarios.
One of the key areas that needs investment is translation, and this should be a long-term undertaking. Translation facilitates the interconnectedness and interdependency of business processes.
Hopwood explains, “If you have offices and teams working around the world, they need to be able to communicate. Not everyone speaks English and you’ll need your training materials, software and all business communications translated so your local workers can understand them.”
In the past, manufacturers were also limited to sourcing supplies from a handful of suppliers, many of whom speak one common language. With the help of translation, your procurement department can access more sources of raw materials and contact better suppliers that you could not reach out to before due to language differences.
Your brand becomes compliant and internationalized
By translating your brand name, product information, marketing materials and all other written documents in the local language of your target markets, your brand and company become internationalized. In the same way, with translation, you see to it that you are compliant with local laws, culture, beliefs and traditions.
You establish a local presence by localizing your information. Translation allows you to speak to your local audience in their own language, in the style, meaning and tone that are familiar to local consumers, with all your collateral materials optimized for each of your target audiences.
Effects of poor translation
Says Hopwood, “At Day Translations we offer 100 percent human powered translations, which makes for accuracy and cultural insight. In business, it’s critical to work with a professional and experienced human translation services provider. They have the proper linguistic knowledge and deeper understanding of the culture of your target audience.”
The legal ramifications of poor translation are immense. They could affect your professional brand image. You risk either losing customers or becoming the laughing stock in a country.
If you are dealing with food and medical supplies, mistranslations put your customers at risk. Without the right knowledge about your target market, there is the risk of offending cultural sensibilities or breaking some local laws, customs and regulations.
You don’t want to offend anybody or alienate consumers intentionally; that is why you need a professional language services provider to do the translation for your business.
This is a long-term corporate investment to promote stronger and better cultural understanding. Professional translation enables you to engage with different demographics successfully. You'll be seen as a company that cares for its products and consumers, by providing them the right information in a language they can fully understand.
About the Author
Bernadine Racoma is a senior content writer at Day Translations, a human translation services company. She has notable fondness for things related to technology, social media, travel, lifestyle, and current affairs. She is also an advocate and mother to seven successful children.