Search Icon
Home Icon

Blog

Our latest news & views

Professional translation – the key to global business expansion

By Josian Phillips, 

A rapidly increasing number of businesses are operating on a global level. It’s not just a case of selling products and services to overseas buyers, either. It’s now normal for a company to depend on designers in one country, while its products are made in another and then sold by people based on a completely different continent.

Working in such a way is often hugely beneficial; processes can be carried out in the most cost-efficient locations, and the best talent can still be relied on to complete critical tasks. That’s not to say that getting to this point is easy, though — language barriers present significant challenges, and a reliable translation strategy will be crucial to success.

Basic technology just isn’t enough

Translation technology has come a long way in recent years. The rampant rise of social media and instant messaging has made international communication much easier and cheaper for internet users, but people still have the same language barriers to overcome. From this, a new demand for cost-efficient and user-friendly translation services arose — and was quickly met by the tech world.

It’s now possible to translate text in real-time using little more than a smartphone and an app. The capability is even built into services like Skype and Google Search these days, meaning users don’t even have to make a conscious decision to translate anymore.

The tools above really do serve a purpose for the consumer market; they bridge basic communication gaps to bring the world a little closer together. What they don’t do, however, is meet the complex translation needs of an expanding business.

Customer experience

Firstly, on the consumer side of things, companies must be ready to translate and localise products and marketing materials into various languages, without ever compromising on quality and user-experience. This simply isn’t possible with a basic word-for-word translation program.

No longer is the goal to simply make sure the person reading gets the general idea of what is being said. Now, it must come across clearly, immaculately and in a tone that will prompt the desired response. Furthermore, the speed at which the enterprise world moves these days means that such processes have to be carried out extremely quickly if businesses are to keep up with the industries around them.

Smooth operator

As mentioned previously, becoming global isn’t just about extending delivery options to include other countries. More often than not, a full-scale international expansion strategy will involve moving mission-critical operations to other parts of the world, or working with new partners based overseas — the goal usually being to improve productivity and cut logistics costs.

As soon as this happens, the supply chain becomes significantly more complex. Now, not only are there multiple points of contact to consider, all of these stages communicate using different languages. Without the right solution in place, this can be hugely problematic.

When a manufacturing flaw shows up, for instance, it must be communicated to people at the relevant points of the process as quickly as possible. The longer this part takes, the longer valuable resources are going to waste. While, again, it might be possible to get a point across with the help of a consumer-targeted translation program, it won’t offer the same guarantee of quality as a comprehensive enterprise solution would.

Ongoing evolution

Fortunately, businesses don’t need to compromise on efficiency and quality to achieve global expansion. Much in the same way that tech firms have stepped in to help web users converse with speakers of other languages, agencies specialising in high quality translation services are helping to make the world that little bit smaller for ambitious enterprises.

To appreciate the value of such services, it’s important to understand where they differ. Ultimately, these business-targeted services don’t simply translate on a word-by-word basis. Instead, much more goes into the process. Sentence structure may be adjusted to ensure a consistent tone is used, for instance. Imagery and diagrams may also require attention. These are the kinds of things that simply cannot be handled by an automated computer algorithm — they demand the attention of skilled linguists with all of the relevant experience.

With all of the above in mind, it’s really not hard to see why the outsourced translation industry is currently worth around £23 billion. While it’s often said that English is the language of business, this isn’t strictly true. With so many new markets showing huge economic potential — namely in Asia and South America — growth-minded companies can’t afford to ignore the need for a reliable translation solution.

Follow us for the latest
translation news and opinions