With the UK pound still in the doldrums, there has rarely been a better time to do business globally. Whatever you do, whatever your size, scale and type of business, right now you are more attractive than ever to international customers and partners. As with any relationship, you will make yourself even more attractive if you speak the same language as those new potential international customers.
When you are moving into new markets, good translation isn’t an optional extra, it is absolutely essential. Short of having an experienced team in each location the business operates in, the best way of ensuring you are on the same page as customers, and nothing important is lost in translation, is to use a translation service that is certified.
The translation industry isn’t always regulated
The types of translation services available, and the quality of translation services on the market differ significantly; picking the best service can be difficult.
There are ways that can help you identify a professional and reliable translation company, such as asking for examples of previous work. While the industry is relatively unregulated, there are translation quality standards you can look for, the most important being ISO 9001:2008 certification. This means that the translation business in question has shown the ability to constantly offer a translation that meets customer and regulatory requirements.
Choosing a certified translation service is another step towards guaranteeing the best quality translations. According to London Translations, for a certified translation to be attained, the agency have to legitimise the service by double-checking the qualifications, skill-set and history of the translators they hire. This information is then passed on to the client.
We all see bad translations every day on the internet. How do you feel about those businesses? How would you feel if your customers had the same view of you? With unregulated services you may never know how you’re coming across; with a certified service there is zero chance of a poor translation.
Effective communication is key to expansion
Communication is key when you are entering a new market. English may be considered the international language of business, but companies around the world generally prefer to communicate in their native tongue. In these cases, translation services are essential. Even if you are conducting business in a country with a high English literacy rate, a multilingual approach to marketing your business will help you go further, quicker. Put simply, people want to be spoken to in their own language.
This is just as much the case if you are marketing products online. A 2014 poll of non-English-speaking countries, taken by the Common Sense Advisory, found that 60% of respondents rarely or never make purchases from English-language sites, and 56% would boycott English-language URLs altogether.
Similarly, not having translated or localised documentation may slow down the process of doing business in a new country. To local buyers it just looks unprofessional.
Machine translation looks unprofessional
As tempting as it may be to cut costs by using the online translation tools that are available, they are still nowhere near entirely accurate; machine translations regularly make outrageous and hilarious errors, as shown by these Google translate mistakes.
Ironically, despite its own translation tool being responsible for much of the badly translated guff out there, Google’s algorithms have also recently began to penalise bad machine translation in its rankings.
Translation is about more than just taking words from one language into another; it gets your ideas, energy and passion across from one culture to another, giving both parties an enhanced understanding. People buy passion as much as they buy products; they buy the brand story. Communicating that cross-culturally is not easy, but for ambitious growing businesses it is an essential investment.