Ever been on holiday to a foreign country and found Google Translate to be your saviour when you are lost or hungry? It can come in very handy in such instances, as it can also when you’re browsing Facebook and need some help understanding someone’s post. But we would wager that more often than not, that translation, while helpful, is never quite right, is it? You may well understand the gist of something, but you know that either the grammar is wrong, the phrasing could use a bit of tweaking, or the expressions or idioms are just a little strange.
So it is with any app that promises to accurately translate your documents, website, or emails. But beware the pitfalls of taking the cheaper way for something as important as your business communications. So why should you be translating your business-related processes professionally?
Why is language important?
If you are only doing business in English-speaking countries and markets then, as long as you have a well-written website, brochures, and/or email campaigns, you have nothing to worry about. But, if like an increasing number of businesses, you are operating in or looking to expand into other markets, then local languages are crucial. Most people prefer to read things in their own language, no matter how good their English may be. You are more likely to convert a potential customer browsing your website to a sale or an enquiry if information is in their language rather than in English. Why? Quite simply, people prefer their native tongue as it’s easier for them to read and quickly digest information.
Targeting your audience
Most people will get online when they need to find something. Given a choice between a native language site and an English one, people will gravitate towards their own language. A well-translated site will use the right words, terminology, and phrasing, so not only are you showing your customers you care enough to write well, but search engines will pick up on those terms and search engine optimisation of your site is done almost automatically.
How many times have you chortled at an incorrectly translated phrase or a funny name on packaging while on holiday? It may make perfect sense in that language, but in English it sounds strange, funny, even insulting sometimes. Idioms and well-used phrases are part of our everyday speech, so don’t shoot yourself in the foot by mistranslating them through an app that will translate things word for word rather than finding the appropriate phrase in the local language. Using local translators is crucial in making sure your site and corporate documents are suitably targeted and are not likely to cause you problems by being badly translated.
Just as in English, each language has its own way of using legal phrases and terminology. You could save yourself a lot of time and trouble by having any legal or policy documents translated accurately from the outset by making a small but targeted investment in local translators, saving yourself from potentially spending large sums of money to set things right if they go badly wrong.
If you are investing in taking your business to international markets, make the right investment by using a local and experienced translator to get your website, emails, and documents accurately and appropriately translated. You are much more likely to see a quick return on that investment and avoid landing yourself in trouble or being ridiculed by getting it wrong – all for ‘saving’ a little money. It will only end up being more costly in the long run.
Guest Author Bio
Managing Director of a translation agency who loves a challenge in both life and work! A husband, father and keen sportsman.