The world is moving fast. Today, even locally based SMEs have the opportunity to approach foreign markets and target new, international customers. With the growth of technology, widely available internet and globalisation, prospects which even 15 years ago seemed impossible, are now a reality for business owners.
Nevertheless, approaching foreign markets is much easier said than done. From choosing the right market and target audience to tweaking your products and services so that they are suitable for the customers is unquestionably a long and challenging journey.
Still, there is one factor which can directly impact the success of your firm abroad. Luckily, it’s a factor over which you can have a total control, and that’s translations. Translating your material will not only allow you to approach your potential customers in their native language, but will also allow you to maintain a professional and friendly image of your brand. This can be extremely significant when starting to trade within a new, foreign environment. In fact, a recent survey discovered that over 90% of customers say they feel more inclined to buy a product or service if the information about it is provided in their native language and 60% of people never purchase goods from website available only in the English language!
However, translations can be somewhat confusing, especially if you do not have any previous experience in this area. As a business owner, you must ask yourself whether or not you know exactly which content will be beneficial for you to translate?
Very often, especially within the SME environment, business owners simply do not know which business material to translate in order to take a full advantage and increase their chances of international success. Due to limited budgets, they also tend to opt for the free online tools, rather than professional translation agencies.
Unfortunately, this strategy can do more harm than good in the long run. Professional translation agencies will not only accurately translate and localise your content, but will additionally ensure that it is error-free and suitable specifically for your target audience. A grammatical error or mistranslation can be extremely damaging for your brand, especially when you’re trying to establish your strong position within a new market.
Furthermore, another great advantage of working with translation companies is the fact that they can advise you on which content you should translate in order to fully take advantage of your internationalisation plans and answer any questions that you might have. Is translating and localising your website enough? What about your other marketing material? Is your content culturally appropriate? Should you translate your legal documents?
Kiran Adatia, who is the Managing Director of a London based translation agency, Language Reach, says the perception of translation agencies within the SME sector is drastically changing. “Although in the past majority of our clients were larger, already well established corporations, we are currently seeing a clear growth in the number of London based SMEs working with us.” He goes to add: “Majority of business owners begin to fully understand the importance of professional translations, the positive impact they can have on their business and the long term advantages over the free, online tools”.
Translating legal documents and marketing material is completely different
When working with different types of material, you must ensure that it is translated as reliably and accurately as possible. Therefore, working with an online tool which has fixed terminology can be a huge mistake. You wouldn’t trust the same doctor to help you with your eyesight, broken arm and heart problems, so how can you expect the same tool to reliably translate two completely different documents?
Marketing translations require much higher levels of creativity. Messages must not only be translated, but often localised to ensure that the message you are trying to reach your potential customers with is socially acceptable. Usually, translation agencies ensure that the person working on your marketing material is not only a native speaker of your target language, but also has a previous, first-hand experience within the marketing industry.
On the other hand, legal translations require much more specific knowledge. Legislations vary from country to country and therefore the linguist working on your documents must be fully aware of any particular differences between these two countries. For example, is ‘high court’ the same legal instance in any country, or is it referred to differently in different places?
As you can see, working with a translation agency can be extremely beneficial in the long run. Building a strong relationship with a linguist can guarantee that your material is translated consistently and accurately. Working with free online tools, although perfect for understanding friends and family, simply cannot guarantee the levels of precision human translators can.