In today’s context of globalisation, companies must adapt and go beyond their local markets not only to expand, but often to survive. Indeed, in order to reach their full potential, most companies, at some point, will be forced to deal with international partners, suppliers and customers, or have international competitors.

Why is language such an important factor?

Becoming a cross-border business, in an era where globalisation directly or indirectly affects majority of companies, both larger and from the SME sector, is becoming increasingly difficult, although with the potential increase in sales and market share. However, in order to expand internationally, it should be taken into consideration that not all markets function the same way. An aspect or approach which works successfully in one country, due to cultural, social, religious or even political differences might not work elsewhere. Therefore, although cheaper to prepare, a “one for all” strategy is not sufficient anymore. Nowadays, adapting your products, services and materials specifically to the new market you wish to address, is, quite simply, essential.

One of the biggest barriers companies face when approaching a new, international market is the language. It is obviously easier for customers to understand information in their native language. In fact, around 90% of customers prefer to shop online if the website is displayed in their own language, which is why communicating with your target audience in a language they fully understand will increase the conversion rate and likelihood of sales.

How to properly manage this obstacle and make it an asset

There is a number of ways in which a company or a business owner can go about translating their business material. One of such ways is by the use of free, translation programs, such as Google Translate. Although Google translate is a free tool, which can be important especially for smaller organisations, and works perfectly for private use, such as communicating with friends or family, it is not recommended within the business environment.

Such tools are not quite reliable and accurate enough, or at least not suitable for professional, business translations. Therefore, the best alternative would be to work with professional translators. Reaching out to a company which offers expert translation services is not only a guarantee of quality and accuracy, but also a way of ensuring that the message intended is reliably transcribed, which is vital for a company to look professional and emphasize its brand image.

This way, your material, documents and the overall approach method can be tailored specifically to the target audience. Today, some of the leading Translation agencies are able to offer language services by native professional translators, who also specialise in particular business areas to be more accurate and efficient, as they have a first-hand experience and knowledge. As a way of keeping private documents safe, Data-Protection for confidential documents is used, as well as Translation Memory software for a higher quality and lower costs. As the language translation sector is developing rapidly, there are a number of companies offering such services. LR or Translation Services 24, are great examples of companies specialising in business translation services.

What to take into account

Translations, especially within the business and marketing environments, are often much more than just simply literally translating words, it is about encoding and tailoring the intended message with the right expressions to suit the target audience’s culture and social norms. Due to all the changes implied by cultural factors that differ from one country to another, businesses should accommodate their strategy to grow abroad: a localised approach is much more appropriate.

Furthermore, it is important to be aware of the country’s laws and regulations, which is why working with expert translation agencies with translators and interpreters with a hands-on experience and a relevant sector expertise can only be beneficial to uphold a professional brand image in the eyes of potential customers.

Whether you are looking to translate legal documents (contracts, patents, warranties and so on), marketing documents (such as leaflets, brochures, production descriptions) or your Website, this process should be managed carefully.

When translating a website, keep in mind that your online portal usually will be the first point of contact between you and the potential customers. First impressions are often hardly changeable, as customers will only take a look at your website for a few minutes, or even seconds, before making their mind up about how they feel about your brand. Interestingly, this is often subconscious and influenced by small details.

As a result, it is essential for brands to maintain a professional and approachable image of themselves. The viewers should immediately understand the display of the website through the language used, and it should be their native language, otherwise it could be difficult to retain them and get them to look more in-depth into the products or services which you are offering as well as information about your company.

The numbers really do speak for themselves; more than half of online shoppers (around 59%) admit they never purchase products on websites which are not available in their native language. Also, more than 70% of consumers spend the majority of their time on websites in their native language. You can find the statistics here.

Again, using machine translations to translate your website or other marketing materials will not be accurate enough, as cultural aspects come into play when translating words or expressions from one language to another. This sort of subtleties can be found even within the same language because of different dialects, jargons, or slang differences (the French language differs from France to Canada for example, as well as certain words or expressions between British and American English), which makes reliable translation process even more complex.

Going international with your business is going to help you expand your brand, build an image abroad and of course grow your sales, revenue and market share. However, as great as it sounds, it can either make or break your chances of succeeding globally. To prosper internationally, it is vital to consider cultural and linguistic differences and approach markets accordingly. As mentioned previously, reaching out to professional translation providers is going to be a considerably helpful initiative to take, in order to create a long-term value to your business abroad.

1 COMMENT

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