In business – time is money, there’s no doubt about that. Especially in today’s globalised world, where companies are able to exchange information with customers and business partners within seconds. Sometimes however, if not planned and executed correctly, what seems like a great business advantage, can create serious difficulties at the same time.
One of the principles of a globalised market is dealing with partners and customers based in different parts of the world and those who natively speak a different language to the one your company communicates in. A truly great example of a market with some multilingual communication challenges can be London, where not only international businesses trade, but also where a multicultural consumer base is very prominent. Often, businesses overlook the true importance of accurate language translation services, whether it’s in regard to materials created and addressed for customers, such as website or marketing brochures or legal documents and contracts, exchanged between international partners.
In fact, there is a number of instances when even some of the world’s largest businesses and organisations neglected the translation of their documents and ended up incurring loses, not only budget, but also reputation and image wise.
A great example of a large company that decided not to double check their translated material in order to ensure it is localised carefully was Coca-Cola. When entering the Chinese market for the first time in 1928, Coca-Cola had no official representation of its name in Mandarin. It needed to find four Chinese characters whose pronunciations approximated the sounds “ko-ka-ko-la”. Regrettably, this lead to the brand being literally translated as ‘“bite the wax tadpole’.
A study conducted by the Common sense advisory shows that 72.4% of consumers are more likely to complete a purchase if the information about the product/service is available in their native language. Remarkably, over 30% of consumers asked also declared that they only buy through websites with content available in their native language. Giving the rapid growth of online shopping within the European Union, these numbers can be extremely significant for UK based companies, even with the shadow of Brexit hanging over them.
Can any business benefit from translations?
In today’s globalising world, translated content can be a great asset for businesses of any size, especially in a thriving, multicultural city such as London and for businesses from many different sectors, from marketing to legal and medical. Translations have proven to increase sales and market share for a number of London based companies, from SMEs such as this dentist in London to some of the most innovative Fin-Tech start-up companies specialising in ground-breaking solutions and already established, international businesses.
What to translate
If you own or work on behalf of a company which wants to approach foreign markets or customers and takes internationalisation seriously, translating your content in material is not only an option, but a necessity.
There is a number of different business elements and documents which would require a professional translation in order to help your company during the international expansion. From translating marketing materials, such as brochures or business cards and allowing the potential customers to browse your website in their native language to ensuring that your terms and conditions, contracts and patents are clear to understand for your business partners.
Nonetheless, before contacting a translation agency, it’s important for a business to fully understand their chosen market and potential customers and decide what needs translating accordingly. By planning and implementing such strategy carefully, organisations will be able to eliminate unnecessary costs from their budget. This can be especially important within the SME sector.
Where to Translate
In order to guarantee that your documents will be translated accurately, it is essential to work directly with a London translation company, which specialises in business translations. Such translation agency will be able not only to accurately translate your documents or material, but also localise it reliably. Language localisation can be especially important when translating marketing material, as it covers both – language as well as social factors, such as colours or images used.
Translating your business documents isn’t as easy and straightforward as it may seem at first. Many business owners would naturally simply copy and paste their content into Google Translate, expecting an accurate translation. And although Google translate is a fantastic tool for personal use, such as communicating with friends and family, it shouldn’t be used for business purposes.
Alternatively, especially larger organisations, tend to work with in-house employees who are bilingual speakers and consequently are able to translate the company’s material. This solution however brings potential hazards. Firstly, even someone who is a bilingual speaker isn’t a professional translator and thus they won’t be able to guarantee accuracy and reliability, which are essential within business translations environment. Secondly, a person who works in-house is usually expected to perform different jobs by contract, and therefore asking them to translate material may not only lead to higher costs due to overtime, but also reduced productivity.
As you can see, translating business material isn’t easy. There are many different approaches to this business factor, from working with a translation agency to asking your employees to translate the material. Each solution varies in costs and risks involved, nonetheless if an organisation is driven and motivated to conquer international markets and work with foreign customers, translations are, quite simply, essential.