Can translations help your sales?
Nowadays, a rapidly growing number of business owners in the United Kingdom decide to explore international markets and take the full advantage of globalisation. Although still overlooked fairly often by the corporate managers, one of the most important aspects of business internationalisation are professional translation and language services.
The language translation industry is expected to be worth over £40 Billion worldwide within the next 2 years. As you can see, such growth indicates that the approach to internationalisation is changing amongst UK businesses, who are starting to fully appreciate the true importance of translations within competitive markets and the direct impact they can have on sales. The once widely preferred ‘one-fits-all’ approach to markets, where an entire marketing campaign remains unadjusted for specific markets (including language, images etc.), simply because it works well on the company’ home turf, is currently being replaced by a more modern method, which identifies each market from an individual angle and defines its characteristics separately.
As it happens, language is one of the main characteristics defining culture, which defines market. Equally important to the socio-economic aspects, language can define how a market reacts to a campaign or product, and consequently, directly affect your sales.
Regardless of which international market a company chooses to target, translating their content in order to suit that particular market’s characteristic is something any successful business must consider.
What material should a business translate?
Although this is an extremely important question, it is also a very individual one and unfortunately there isn’t a straightforward answer. Before translating, each business needs to evaluate their campaigns, products and the chosen market itself in order to specify precisely which materials will help them in increasing sales and revenue after being translated into the market’s native language.
For example, a company might wish to enter a market with a range of specific products, which they find most likely to perform well in the chosen country. If the company’s website is extensive with a number of different sections and hundreds of product descriptions, translating the entire website would not only be impractical and futile, but also costly. Being able to successfully identify the specific business content, which after translating may be in some ways capable of positively affecting consumer behaviour is a critical part of internationalisation, not only for the potential revenues, but also the existing budget.
As the company’s website is, in many instances, the first point of contact between a business and the potential customer, translating the firm’s web space is an almost essential step when approaching foreign markets. Nonetheless, website isn’t the only marketing material a company should translate in order to successfully acquire new customers abroad.
If a business has a physical presence in the target country, translating brochures, leaflets as well as something as trivial as business cards can have a direct, positive impact on consumer behaviour and your brand’s perception within a foreign market.
If your company will approach the foreign customers online, as previously mentioned, translating your website (or the chosen areas of it) is nothing short of essential. Additionally, if you run a mobile app which your customers can use to stay connected with your brand or purchase your products, translating it might also be worth considering – from both – company image and sales point of view.
Often, however, marketing materials such as websites or mobile apps require transcreation, which is a step beyond a simple word for word translation. Transcreation focuses on recreating marketing content in order to ensure that it is carefully localised for the target audience, which includes not only the language itself, but also other elements which may affect how your potential customers perceive your campaigns. Transcreation usually considers language, emotion and culture of the target market and allows the marketing materials to be specifically and carefully attuned to consumers. You can read more about transcreation here.
Is there anything else?
Often, business owners believe that translating marketing materials is all that needs to be done during internationalisation. Although essential, translating marketing content isn’t everything. While overlooked, the translation of legal documents is equally important for a business while approaching foreign markets.
Translating documents such as contracts, terms and conditions or user-manuals is key in the customer acquisition process and can additionally be an important element of gaining business partners.
While the translation of marketing content requires a lot of creativity, legal documents often require an understanding of legal system in both, the home and target countries. As a result, it is extremely important that the translation agency your business decides to work with is able to provide translations by linguists who are not only native speakers of your chosen market’s native language, but who additionally have experience within the legal sector.
Linguist or a translation agency?
In many cases, a business owner is able to successfully select the materials which need translating and allocate funds in the budget, but isn’t quite sure how to find the best provider for their particular translation needs.
For business related translations, human translators are usually a far better choice than machines. Although significantly more expensive, they guarantee creativity and expertise which even the most advanced machines aren’t able to match. Yet.
When looking for a professional translation provider, a business is typically faced with two options; working with a freelance linguist or a translation agency. Each of the two options have their pros and cons and it truly is the company’s individual approach as well as their needs and budget which will define the choice.
Working with a freelance translator is usually cheaper, nonetheless it comes at the price of turnaround times and security.
Translation agency will not only be able to provide the translations faster, but will also guarantee higher security, which can be especially significant when translating legal files.
An additional benefit of working directly with translation companies is the fact that they can provide specialist translations for a number of sectors and types of files, while a freelance translator usually specialises in the translation of particular type of files, whether marketing or legal and won’t be able to provide expertise across all materials.
A great place to find a freelance linguist can be Proz. The platform gathers professional linguists, who can be sorted by a number of different criteria, such as language or expertise, suitable for your particular materials.
There is also a large number of professional translation companies, which specialise in business and corporate translations. Some of the agencies, such as Lionbridge, Language Experts, Translations London or Translation Services 24 have a network of freelance as well as in-house translators and are able to cover not only several languages, but also a wide range of business sectors.
Is it all worth it?
Again, this is a question without a straightforward answer. Translating your material can be an expensive venture, nonetheless, many consider it an essential step when approaching foreign markets. The ‘one-fits-all’ approach might still be popular amongst the older generations of business owners, it is however an outdated tactic in the eyes of the younger generation, which is more accustomed to globalisation and the digital world.
Translation services are without a shadow of a doubt an important aspect of internationalisation. Translating your company’s materials can not only improve your company’s image abroad, but in many cases also directly affect sales; as almost 80% of consumers claim to feel more inclined to committing a purchase if the information about products/services is available in their native language.