The role of translation is often misunderstood and undervalued. Today I will focus on the case of companies (or individuals) working across borders and internationally. If you are looking to expand your business internationally, break into new markets, sell online and enter into contracts – to name but a few examples – then a professional linguist can form an integral part of your business strategy.
How? Firstly, at the forefront, is your public image. This is a key area to growing and maintaining a business. It is absolutely essential that your marketing materials are well translated and impeccably presented. It will no doubt be obvious to you that communications in your own language should be error-free and present your business in a clear and concise manner. The same applies to your marketing materials in a second language. Errors and poorly presented text instantly downgrade your image and suggest a more amateur enterprise. This can provoke a key question: can you be trusted? Do I want to give this company my bank card details or upfront payments, particularly online?
This is why it is very important to use a professional translator – somebody who is highly experienced and knows their field inside out and can translate your website and marketing/business materials exactly how you intended them to be. As part of the process, a translator would read your original text. This gives you the additional free benefit of the translator being able to potentially identify any weaknesses in your original text. There are many potential pitfalls during the process – literal translations that read badly, misunderstanding the meaning and then, a common gaffe, failing to understand the target culture. Depending on the nature of the mistake and the culture in question, this could cause offence or a good laugh! These errors are particularly common when you are tempted to translate your own material, ask friends to help or use machine translation. Yes, we all do it: “oh a few words in Google Translate won’t hurt!”. But it will really hurt if it’s wrong and you are simply unaware of it and the potential damage being caused.
The golden rule: if your translation has a professional, financial or personal value then entrust it to a professional translator. A professional will safeguard and potentially enhance the impact of your business and marketing communications. Good translators open doors, they do not close them. Remember, a potential client who doubts your services will not usually come back to your website or call again.
Secondly, behind the scenes, yet vital are legal and contracts arrangements. It goes without saying that it is crucial for any business to protect itself by using formal agreements, where necessary. Contractual and legal text should only ever be entrusted to a translator who specialises in this sector. The average person does not always understand legal jargon and neither does a general translator. If you have a niche text, find the appropriate linguist specialising in your field.
The main takeaways are that an experienced translator should be an integral part of your foreign-language business and marketing strategy. An excellent translator should help to deliver excellent results for your campaigns and processes. A translator who specialises in contracts and legal text will help to safeguard your business and therefore, potentially, your personal assets.
Not sure if you need help or not? I provide free consultations to identify your language requirements and propose appropriate solutions. Call today on +44 (0)7954 693 561 or use the form below.
See my Translation Services page for more details on how to choose the best translator for you.