Are professional translation services crucial within international business?

In the last decade or so, we have witnessed a dramatic shift in the way in which businesses and organisations market their products within international markets. Previously, a very popular ‘one-fits-all’ method was religiously used across practically all sectors and markets. This approach was particularly popular due to its relatively low costs, as it involved simply re-using the same content in different markets, without any major adjustments, e.g. language.

Today, however, things have changed radically. A growing number of business owners began to understand, that in order to be truly successful abroad, their organisation must enter each target market with a fully tailored approach, and so the ‘one-fits-all’ strategy is now a thing of the past.

One of the most important aspects of such tailored strategy is the use of language. Nowadays, consumers in different markets are aware of their importance within the global market space, and so they expect products, services and marketing campaigns which fully reflect their identity. In fact, a recent study has found, that more than 75% of European consumers feel much more inclined to completing a purchase if they are able to find information about the product or service in their native language.

With companies and organisations now approaching international audiences with tailored campaigns, which take into account the use of language, professional translation agencies have become very significant business partners. An experienced translation agency will be able not only to accurately convert business content from one language into another, but in many cases will also be able to give an expert advice regarding the specific chosen market and localise your materials accordingly.

How can working with a translation agency benefit my business?  

For many years, translation providers were considered somewhat irrelevant in the eyes of business owners. A company would only approach such agency when absolutely necessary. Today however, with the changes in which international business is generally conducted, translation agencies have risen to be crucial partners for organisations across practically every business sector.

Majority of professional agencies primarily focus their resources on providing accurate translations into the market’s native language. This may include legal documents, marketing campaigns or digital content, depending on which particular content you wish to convert.

There are also some translation agencies, which are able to go the extra mile, and provide further language services, allowing you to approach the target market better prepared.

In order to gain more insight into the translation industry itself and to see how translation providers are able to help businesses today, we have spoken to a representative of one of the fastest growing translation agencies in the United Kingdom, a London based Translation Services 24, which provides language services for some of the world’s leading and most trusted brands.

“Our agency’s scope goes far beyond simple word-for-word translation” he said and added “Today, in order to successfully approach an overseas market, when translating content for the target audience, a company must take into account a number of different factors, not only linguistics. Socio-cultural, political, historical and even religious factors can all directly affect how suitable the translation is, and consequently, how your brand is welcomed within the foreign market. In order to tackle that, we work closely with our clients to better understand their intentions and target audience behind the translation, giving us the chance to take all of the said factors into account and ensure highest quality of service.”

As you can see, in the modern age, a translation service is no longer a simple word-for-word conversion, but a rather complex mixture of different factors, which all play an important part in how your content is perceived abroad, and so ensuring that you work closely with an expert translation agency is nothing short of essential.

What should I translate?

When it comes to deciding which particular documents and materials your company should translate when approaching a foreign market, you must take a careful look at the larger picture.

How does your company intend to trade? Are you going to have a physical presence in the target market, or you’ll focus solely on online sales? Which consumer group do you wish to target? Do you understand the country’s system and is it necessary to translate any legal documents? Answers to these questions are extremely important and will help you in deciding which particular content you should translate.

For example, if you intend to trade predominantly online, having your website and social media channels carefully translated and localised is a no brainer. Often, your online store will be the primary, and in many cases only, point of contact between your brand and a potential customer. In order to increase the chances of converting that visitor into a sale, you must create a professional, user-friendly and trustworthy image of your brand. Providing content in the visitor’s native language is one of the most important aspect of this, but not the only one.

When it comes to translating business content, such as websites, factors other than linguistic are also significant. Taking them into consideration and ensuring that the translated documents reflect them is known as localisation.

For example, when translating your company’s website, aspects such as currency, the time-zone, images or even colours might need to be adjusted in order to fully embody the target market and help the visitor in better understanding your brand. A great example of this would be images of alcohol used across your website or social media channels. When approaching the Middle Eastern markets, for instance, altering them would be strongly advised, as they would quite simply not reflect the market’s cultural or religious values, and most likely put the consumer off from working with your brand.

In addition, other marketing materials such as brochures, leaflets or business cards should also be translated, especially if you intend to have a physical presence in the target market, e.g. a shop or a help/customer centre. By providing these in the customer’s native language, similarly to translating and localising a website, you automatically create a consumer-oriented brand image, which can certainly help your business grow within a new, foreign market.

Also, consider converting any legal documents into the market’s native language. Warranties, contracts or terms of use are only some of the materials, which you may wish to allow your customers and business partners to read comfortably in a language they fully understand. Although this might slightly increase the final price for the translation project, it may prove to be beneficial and save you some trouble down the line.

Where to find a good provider?

Finding the best provider for your translations can be as difficult and problematic as deciding which particular content to translate in the first place. Majority of providers specialise in translations for a particular business sector and language pair, and so if you wish to translate a number of different documents, for example marketing and legal, into several different languages, you might not be able to do so using only one agency. Nonetheless, there are some providers, which cover translations across the board – from legal, marketing, financial to even medical materials and can do that into practically any language.

Although difficult, there are several different ways in which you can find such agency; from directly contacting one of the industry leaders such as Translation Services 24, UK Language Translations, Language Reach or London Lingo, all of which are able to work with variety of documents and languages, to visiting websites such as CIOL (Chartered Institute of Linguists), or ATC (Association of Translation Companies), which list officially accredited providers.

In the end, are translations really worth it?

Looking at the potential reasons behind translating your corporate materials, we can say without a shadow of a doubt, that professional translations, if done correctly, can be a truly great investment into your company’s future.

As mentioned previously, a vast majority of consumers strongly prefers to read information about a product or service in their native language, and so your company should do everything in its power to allow them to do just that. Not only will this create a consumer-oriented and professional brand image, but it will also directly affect your sales and revenue, helping you to grow within an overseas market.

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